The 2004 NHL Entry Draft turned out to be a pretty solid draft when it came to the goalies that were selected. In all 33 goalies were taken, and a good chunk of them have gone on to have great NHL careers. However, there is one goalie that stands out in particular, when it comes to the top goalie to come out of the draft, that being current Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Rinne was the greatest steal of the draft, as he wasn’t selected by the Predators until the eighth round 258th overall. There were only three other goalies that were selected after Rinne, all three of them have long since retired. Rinne has gone onto to not only be Nashville’s most valuable player season after season, but he has gone on to become one of the few elite goaltenders in the NHL.
Pekka Rinne may have over 100 more wins than the next closest goalie to come out of the 2004 NHL Draft, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few more spectacular goalies drafted that year. While most goalies taken in 2004 ended up playing the majority of their careers in the minors, a couple of the goalies other than Rinne have become NHL superstars.
Here is every goalie that was taken after Pekka Rinne and how their career’s rank among each other.
29. Justin Mrazek (230th Overall)
Of all the goalies on this list, Justin Mrazek had the shortest career. that is because he never turned pro. After being selected by the Washington Capitals in the eighth round out of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Mrazek joined Union College. He would spend four seasons as a member of the Dutchmen. His best season came in 2006-07 when he played a career-high 34 games and posted a record of 13-18-3 with a 3.01 GAA and a .904 save percentage.
Union College has a history of players making it all the way to the National Hockey League. Their alumni includes current NHL players like New Jersey’s Keith Kincaid, Arizona’s Josh Jooris, and Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere. Unfortunately for Mrazek, his numbers were just not good enough to earn himself a crack at the NHL.
28. Jason Churchill (129th Overall)
The selection of Jason Churchill by the Sharks was a bit of a head-scratcher at the time. He was the second goalie taken by San Jose in the fourth round after they took Thomas Griess earlier in the round. While Churchill had the size at 6’4″ and the athletic ability to potentially be a good NHL player, his numbers in QMJHL were poor to say the least. During his draft year, he played on a terrible Halifax Moosehead team and his numbers reflected that. He posted a 15-28 record with an abysmal .866 save percentage and a 3.73 goals against average.
While Churchill’s numbers would improve slightly in his next couple of seasons in junior, the San Jose Sharks did not offer him an entry level contract. You would think that a goalie with the pedigree of being a fourth NHL draft pick would be able to continue his career with a pro team, Churchill was instead relegated to playing in a men’s senior league in his home province of Newfoundland.
27. Derek MacIntyre (234th Overall)
Derek MacIntyre honed his skills playing for the Soo Indians of the North American Hockey League. In 39 games during the 2003-04 season, he posted an impressive goals against average of 1.77. That was good enough to get the attention of the San Jose Sharks who took MacIntrye in the eighth round.
After being drafted, MacIntyre attended Ferris State University, which is located in his home state of Michigan. He would spend four years at the university but was relegated to mostly being a backup for the team. He turned pro in 2008 to join the EPHL’s Danbury Mad Hatters. He would spend two more seasons with the Dayton Gems before calling it a career after the 2010-11 season. While Ferris State University has had a few of their alumni like Jason Blake and Chris Kunitz make it to the NHL, Derek MacIntrye never came even close to making it.
26. Gabriel Bouthillette (203rd Overall)
Gabriel Bouthillette had an amazing rookie season with the Gatineau Olympiques in 2003-04. He had a record of 17-2-4, with a .907 save percentage, and a team record 2.20 GAA. Even though it was a relatively small sample size, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks like what the saw from Bouthillette and grabbed him in the seventh round.
Bouthillette’s tremendous rookie season ended up being just a flash in the pan. He was traded to a much weaker team in Acadie-Bathurst Titan ahead of the 2004-05 season and was given the starting role. Bouthillette struggled mightily in his first season with Acadi-Bathurst, posting a record of 15-33-5 while his GAA ballooned to 3.19. While his numbers improved the following season, the Ducks never offered Bouthillette an entry level contract. He instead joined the LNAH where he played until he hung up his skates in 2011.
25. Ian Keserich (215th Overall)
Ian Keserich spent his time developing in the North American Hockey League, which is a Tier II Junior league in the United States. Despite not playing in a well-known league, Keserich’s play caught the eyes Colorado Avalanche scouts who took a flyer on him in the seventh round.
After spending a couple solid years at Ohio State Univerity, Keserich turned pro ahead of the 2007-08 season. He began his career down in the Central Hockey League, and he would go on to spend the majority of his pro career playing in the CHL. The highest level of hockey Keserich ever got was the couple of occasions where he served as an emergency backup for the AHL’s Houston Aeros and Binghamton Senators. He retired from the game of hockey following the 2012-13 season and now works in the car sales industry.