As most people know, drafting goaltenders can be a very tricky proposition.
Many times late round picks have turned out to be elite level goaltenders, while guys taken in the first two rounds of the NHL draft have faltered as they transitioned to the pro game. Sometimes goalies simply take longer to develop and show their worth. That might just be the case for Brandon Wheat Kings goaltender Corbin Boes.
Boes was overlooked at the 2011 NHL draft and that wasn't overly surprising in the end. He only appeared in 33 games last season, winning 10 times and posting an .888 save % and a 3.44 GAA. He wasn't exactly sparkling in the games that I saw him play. But, credit it to him, he didn't let that hold him back and came into the 2011-2012 WHL season on a mission.
It started out pretty good, too. He posted a 2.32 GAA, .923 sv% and 5 wins in 8 games through September and October. That start was good enough to have him listed on Central Scouting's preliminary ranking for WHL goalies for the 2012 NHL Draft, despite the fact that he was considered an overage player.
But, the ups and downs continued for Boes. He posted subpar numbers in November and the start of December before breaking his hand. He missed some time, but that time off might have allowed him to focus and regroup for the stretch drive of the season.
Not many goalies eligible for the 2012 NHL draft experienced a late-season surge like Boes did this past year. He went 11-4-0-1 in the last two months of the year, posting a 2.48 GAA and .928 sv% in February and March.
He carried that momentum into the playoffs, leading Brandon to a first round upset over Calgary by posting a 1.95 GAA and .945 sv% in the 5 game series. The second round was a bit of a different story though, as the Wheat Kings were swept out by the eventual WHL Champion Edmonton Oil Kings.
Despite that strong surge in the second half and the playoffs, Boes found himself left off the final rankings by Central Scouting. Obviously that list isn't the be-all and end-all for the draft, but it's a nice feather in the cap for players to be listed there.
Central Scouting might not have been watching him, but clearly Hockey Canada was. As reported last week, Boes is one of the goalies invited to next month's Hockey Canada goaltending camp in Calgary, Alberta. The camp will help determine who will make that final team come next December. An invite to that camp is also a good sign that he could garner interest for the 2012 NHL Draft.
In my mind, there is no question that Boes deserves to be picked this time around. The overall goaltending class this year isn't exactly stellar, especially in the WHL. Names like Makarov, Bartosak, Driedger and Skapski are all likely to be called, but Boes deserves to be in that grouping.
He's a big kid at 6'3 and over 210 pounds. He's really refined his movements over the last calendar year and has improved his positioning, rebound control and mental toughness. He's going to be relied upon big-time in Brandon next year with a new coach taking over, not to mention the team losing 6 of their 7 top scoring forwards.
Some NHL team will recognize the amount of rubber he will see next year and realize that it's a great development opportunity for a kid who already has a good solid foundation to work with in the crease. Picking goalies in the NHL draft can be a tricky proposition, but it's time to give Corbin Boes a chance.