Edmonton might have a good one here. Tyler Bunz has been tracking very well since his draft day and might be the rarest of all things: a starting goaltender drafted by the Oilers.
I’m no goaltending expert but have been following the Oilers long enough to spot new trends. Whereas the Moog-Fuhr draft era was a matter of hitting a big fly twice in quick succession, most of Oiler history is filled with failed G prospects drafted from the back of the cupboard. The Devan Dubnyk draft–a first rounder who has progressed to the point where he is heir apparent–is highly unusual in Oilers history.
I believe Tyler Bunz represents a few “new trends” for the Oilers. Let’s begin with the goalie himself describing his style:
- “I think my size is definitely a strength for myself, I can move well for a big guy and love to battle-I never give up on the puck. I like to play the puck as well, I feel it keeps me focused on the game more. I need to improve on rebound control and being more consistent.
Next, let’s look at his year over year progress.
- Age 16: .886
- Age 17: .898
- Age 18: .919
- Age 19: .923 (so far)
Bunz’ current SP ranks him 3rd in the WHL behind the starters for powerhouse Kootenay and Tri-Cities. He finished 2nd one year ago. Oil Kings color commentator Kent Simpson talked with me this past Saturday, and discussed his quick glove, mobility and ability to handle the puck. Bunz is an athlete, very capable and added to his size and resume should be considered a very good goaltending prospect. Bruce McCurdy posted an excellent interview with the young prospect yesterday.
I’d like to take a couple of minutes and talk about Oilers goalie coach Frederic Chabot. I think his influence in the organization has been growing since the day he was hired, and it is having a dynamic impact on the organization at this position. In the interview above we can see some innovation (young Bunz told McCurdy “I’ve learned from watching video with Oilers goalie coach Fred Chabot” and the draft template (big kids with athletic ability) seems to be following a specific form.
I don’t want to overstate it, but there seems to be a (wait for it) plan in place for procurement of goaltenders. Since hiring Chabot summer 2009, Edmonton has drafted size. Bunz (6.01, 203) in 2010 and Samu Perhonen (6.05, 184) plus Frans Tuohimaa (6.02, 178) are at least average in size and clearly have some development ahead. The scouting reports mention athletic skaters with projectable frames and quick reflexes.
We’ll see, and let’s not start thinking about the Oilers being a goaltending factory, but Tyler Bunz is on track as a prospect and has certainly gone well beyond his draft number.