We are in an era where goalies are rarely selected in the first-round of NHL Entry Drafts. There are multiple reasons for it and perhaps the main reason is because the bulk of them don't only fail to become number one netminders, but many don't even play in an NHL game.
That's at least what has happened historically. Of the 27 goalies drafted between 2000-2015 in the first round, only a few have become "elite," some have become consistent number ones, and others have either a) not played a second of NHL action or b) played less than 10 games.
It's clearly a risk for NHL general managers to spend a franchise-changing pick on a goaltender when it's clear most of them aren't going to be as good as a team hopes. In fact, think of the league's elite goalies and how few of them were first-round picks.
Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne, Braden Holtby, Jonathan Quick, and other great goalies were late-round gems. Plus, we all know how some of the best goalies take years to develop. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Carey Price, was taken in 2005 but didn't become the Montreal Canadiens full-time starter until 2010-11.
Cory Schneider, taken in 2004 by the Vancouver Canucks, needed six-years to land a backup job. GMs are under pressure to find players to produce right away and goalies under the age of 23 often don't make major impacts.
With the NHL Draft looming, let's take a look at how all of the goalies taken in the first-round this century stack up against one another.
30 Brent Krahn
Selected ninth-overall by the Calgary Flames in 2000, Brent Kahn never had the chance to shine, as the emergence of Miikka Kiprusoff solidified the Flames crease for nearly a decade.
Still, Kahn managed to play in just ONE NHL game, with the Dallas Stars in 2008-09. He surrendered three goals and spent plenty of time all over the AHL, last playing for the Texas Stars in 2010-11.
28 Riku Helenius
Once a prized part of Tampa Bay Lightning property, the Finnish netminder was taken 15th overall in 2006 as the team that was two years removed from a Stanley Cup looked for their proper Nikolai Khabibulin successor.
Riku Helenius played one NHL game with the Lightning in 2008-09, playing a total of just seven minutes. He's had a successful stint with Jokerit of the KHL, but his odds of becoming an NHL regular are not good.
27 Chet Pickard
After winning a gold medal in the 2009 World Juniors with Canada (though Dustin Tokarski was the main guy between the pipes), Chet Pickard's NHL career seemed promising. The Nashville Predators took him with the 18th overall pick in 2008.
But Pekka Rinne came out of nowhere to become one of the league's few elite goaltenders, and he hasn't surrendered the job ever since. Pickard still hasn't played in an NHL game and is now playing in Germany. This season with the Iserlohn Roosters, Pickard went 11-13-0 while posting a solid 2.39 goals against average.
Time will tell if he gets his shot again in the NHL again.
26 Adam Munro
Adam Munro was selected 29th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, but to say he didn't pan out would be a major understatement.
He would appear in just 17 NHL Games, posting a 4-10-3 record, with a dreadful 3.30 goals against average and .887 save percentage. Munro played in a handful of other leagues, such as the AHL, ECHL, and in leagues ranging from Austria to Italy.
As of this writing, Munro is a free agent and not on any other team. He's been a journeyman, but his NHL career wasn't a memorable one.
25 Thomas McCollum
When you're Team USA's starting goaltender at the 2009 World Junior Championships, it's easy to be ecstatic about your future. Couple that with the fact Thomas McColllum had the luxury of being in the Detroit Red Wings system and it'd be easy to believe he'd be a star.
Unfortunately for him, that wasn't the case. He was taken 30th overall in 2008 by the Stanley Cup champions, but his career hasn't panned out in the pros. He's played in three games for the Wings, going 2-1 with an awful .879 save percentage and 2.98 goals against average.
Now in the ECHL, there's always the possibility of him becoming a late bloomer like Tim Thomas, but that's a long shot at this point.
24 Marek Schwarz
It's hard to get into the St. Louis Blues system, as they've had a number of quality goalies over the years: Jaroslav Halak, Chris Mason, Jake Allen, and now Brian Elliot. So we'll try to pardon Marek Schwarz.
That being said, the 17th overall pick from the 2004 draft hasn't gotten his NHL career on track. He's played in a grand total of 6 games with the Blues, sporting a horrendous .809 save percentage and 4.32 goals against average.
He currently plays for HC Sparta Prague.
23 Dan Blackburn
The 10th overall pick by the New York Rangers in the 2001 NHL Draft has given the team a lot of regrets, as quality players like Dan Hamhuis and Ales Hemsky went a couple of picks after him.
Dan Blackburn played in 63 NHL games, accumulating a record of 20-32-4 with a 3.22 goals against average and .894 save percentage. He was primarily a backup and last played a game in 2002-03.
He was forced to retire after a nerve injury, but did participate in the 2012 Winter Classic Alumni Game in Philadelphia.
22 Jack Campbell
The man who starred at the World Juniors in 2010 and 2011 (the former resulting in a gold medal) had a high upside when the Dallas Stars took him six years ago (11th overall, 2010), but Campbell has had a very difficult time developing.
It's not like the Stars have had elite goaltending, either. Kari Lehtonen hasn't been good enough to carry them, so obviously Campbell hasn't panned out the way they have hoped. Then again, he's only 24.
He has appeared in one NHL game thus far, during the 2013-14 season which was a loss. There's still time, but it's definitely running short.
21 Mark Visentin
Mark Visentin grew up a Montreal Canadiens fan and idolized Carey Price, but he's not even close to following in the footsteps of the man he looked up to.
The 27th overall pick by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2010 Draft has appeared in one NHL game, two years ago. He struggled big time in the AHL for the Rockford IceHogs this season, going 4-6-2 with a 2.60 goals against average.
Can Visentin turn it around or will he be another major netminder draft bust? At 24 years old, he does have time. But like Campbell, it's very limited at this point.
20 Leland Irving
The 69th overall pick in the 2006 Draft, Steve Mason, has masked the problems of average teams like Columbus and Philadelphia throughout his career. The Calgary Flames are wondering "what if" after taking Leland Irving with the 26th overall pick instead of waiting on a more capable goalie like Mason.
Irving has played a total of 13 NHL games, going 3-4-4 with a porous 3.25 goals against average and .902 save percentage. He's spent most of his time in the AHL and is playing for Minnesota's AHL team in Iowa.
Chances are, Irving never gets another shot to be an NHL star. But at least he's played in a handful of games, unlike the guys who were listed before him on here.
19 Jason Bacashihua
The Dallas Stars made the bold decision to take Jason Bacashihua 26th overall in 2001, despite having a rising star in Marty Turco. This should ALWAYS be a lesson that when you have something good, don't change it.
Bacashihua played in 38 NHL games. The problem? All of them were with the St. Louis Blues, so the Stars took a guy who never played for them. Bacashihua went 7-17-4 with a 3.19 goals against average and .897 save percentage.
18 Ilya Samsonov
The Washington Capitals took Iilya Samsonov last year with the 22nd overall pick, even though they have the league's shoe-in Vezina Trophy winner in Braden Holtby.
There's not a whole lot to say about Samsonov, yet. Most goalies take a while to develop, but Samsonov should be able to pass the previously mentioned goalies on this list. This year in the KHL, he went 6-4-3 with a 2.04 goals against average and .925 save percentage, so the future looks very bright.
16 Malcolm Subban
Die-hard NHL fans LOVED it when the Boston Bruins nabbed Malcolm Subban with the 24th overall selection in 2012. His old brother, P.K. is of course the most hated player by far in Boston.
Subban's NHL debut, a road game in St. Louis, was one to forget as he was pulled after surrendering three goals. With Tuukka Rask nearing 30, it's possible Subban gets his chance to step in any time now.
15 Hannu Toivonen
The 29th pick of the 2002 Draft just never got his chance. The Boston Bruins were carried by Andrew Raycroft in 2003-04, and by Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask after the lockout.
As such, Hannu Toivonen did show promise, but never got the full opportunity to be a starter in Beantown. He played on a pair of awful Bruins teams (in 2005-06 and 2006-07) and later the just-as-bad St. Louis Blues in 2007-08.
With three of the worst teams in recent memory, he did manage an 18-24-10 record. If he had a better team in front of him, Toivonen could have been a star in the NHL. He played for the Iowa Wild in 2013-14 and is now playing in Finland.
14 Pascal Leclaire
Pascal Leclaire was taken eighth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2001, but with them and the Ottawa Senators, he never fully lived up to the hype.
In 173 games, he went 61-76-15, with a 2.89 goals against average and .904 save percentage. In his defense, he played on just two playoff teams, one with the Jackets and one with Ottawa. He was the backup for both teams.
Maybe a better team would have elevated his career, but he got plenty of experience and was a decent goalie, compared to most guys on our list.
13 Al Montoya
Al Montoya carried the Americans to their first-ever World Junior gold medal in 2004, pulling off a shocking upset against Sidney Crosby's Team Canada. That appeared to be the start of a phenomenal career.
Like many other goalies on this list, Montoya just hasn't been able to earn a starter's job and has been a career backup. The sixth overall pick by the Rangers in 2004 had no chance of ever surpassing Henrik Lundqvist, the NHL's top goalie since the lockout.
Montoya has gone a respectable 55-40-18 in his career, posting a 2.59 goals against average and .909 save percentage. Chances are he doesn't end up a starter, but he's been a reliable back up at least.
11 Andrei Vasilevskiy
If it weren't for the consistency and Vezina-calibre play of Ben Bishop, chances are Andrei Vasilevskiy would be a bonafide number one netminder in Tampa Bay by now. But with Bishop becoming a free agent in 2017, the Lightning may have their future goalie.
The 19th overall selection from the 2012 Draft has played in 40 regular season games, posting 18 wins against 15 losses and one overtime defeat. He has a remarkable 2.60 goals against average and .913 save percentage through his first two seasons.
Keep an eye out for the Russian goalie to be one of the league's elite in the next couple of seasons.
10 Rick DiPietro
He wasn't exactly a bust, but he wasn't as great as you'd think, considering the mega contract he signed and the fact he was the first pick in the 2000 NHL Draft.
Rick DiPietro signed a mammoth 15-year, $67.5 million deal with the Islanders, but his career was ravaged by injuries, and he never became an elite number one goalie. He posted a 130-136-36 record with an Isles team that qualified more for a top-five pick than the playoffs.
A decent career for a goalie on a bad team, but DiPietro never became as good as the Islanders hoped.
9 Jonathan Bernier
Don't just look at the fact that he's had the misfortune of playing with consistently losing Toronto Maple Leafs teams. Most guys on this list haven't done what Jonathan Bernier has accomplished and he'd be way better on a decent team.
Bernier, the 11th overall pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2006 Draft, has gone 88-88-23 with a 2.67 goals against average and .915 save percentage. He did win a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012, but he was the backup.
If he plays elsewhere in the near future, he'll probably move higher on this list, because truth be told, no goalie in the world is good enough to mask all the problems Toronto have had for years.
8 Devan Dubnyk
Devan Dubnyk has travelled the same path as Bernier...Except the former has FINALLY had the luxury of playing with a decent team. Dubnyk never got much going with the Edmonton Oilers, but when was the last time that team won games with a great goaltender?
Oh, right. Dwayne Roloson in 2006, a decade ago.
Dubnyk, the 14th pick in the 2004 Draft, has finally gotten on track, posting consecutive 30-win seasons. He's gone a respectable 129-117-32 with a 2.61 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.
7 Kari Lehtonen
Nevermind his awful playoff outing that led to the Dallas Stars going home early, Kari Lehtonen has been all-around solid for most of his career.
Lehtonen, the second pick by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2002, has been a great goalie on fairly average teams. He won 20 games with them in 2005-06, 34 in 2006-07, and 19 in 2008-09, despite playing just 46 games that season.
Ever since joining the Stars, he's posted 30-win seasons in four of his seven seasons with them. With 273 career wins, Lehtonen's been one of the better goalies of his generation.
6 Cam Ward
Cam Ward's career hasn't been the same since winning the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy in his 2005-06 rookie campaign, but like many goalies on this list, his supporting cast has been quite awful.
The 25th pick in 2002 has five 30-win seasons despite just two playoff campaigns in his career, though they were to the Eastern Conference Final and the Stanley Cup. Ward's won 269 games and has a .910 save percentage after 11 seasons in the league.
5 Semyon Varlamov
Taken 23rd overall by the Washington Capitals in 2006, Semyon Varlamov has quietly been one of the league's top goaltenders, despite playing on the Colorado Avalanche, who are consistently in the running for the lottery pick.
Varlamov has a 41-win season under his belt and has posted 55 wins over his last two seasons. His 2.59 goals against average and .917 save percentage would be much better if he didn't play behind one of the league's worst defensive groups.
But he's kept them in just about every game with his elite level of play.
4 Tuukka Rask
Toronto Maple Leafs fans are still disgusted over the Andrew Raycroft trade in 2006, sending away a franchise goalie in Tuukka Rask, who would beat them in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Rask, the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner, has posted 30-win seasons in his last three years, though it was no easy task taking over for Tim Thomas. He did win a Stanley Cup as a backup in 2011, but led them to the Finals again in 2013.
His 2.24 goals against average and .924 save percentage are spectacular, making Rask one of the best goalies of the last five years.
3 Marc-Andre Fleury
Though Marc-Andre Fleury's playoff meltdowns have been well-documented in recent years, it's impossible to forget his incredible run in 2009 that guided the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup championship.
Truth be told, Fleury is one of the most successful goalies of this generation and he's a huge reason they went from a laughingstock to a powerhouse.
Fleury has posted a pair of 40-win seasons, plus four 30-win seasons. His 2.59 goals against average and .911 save percentage aren't spectacular, but few goalies can win like him. The top pick in the 2003 draft has lived up to expectations, without a question.
2 Cory Schneider
That sound you heard was thousands of Canucks fans still feeling bitter about former GM Mike Gillis trading away a franchise goaltender for the ninth overall pick in 2013.
Though Cory Schneider has only been a playoff starting goalie twice, his stats are ridiculous despite playing the last three seasons on an awful New Jersey Devils squad. He's won 53 games over his past two seasons.
He has a 2.16 goals against average and .925 save percentage, and would easily be a Vezina winner on an above-average team. The 26th round pick from 2004 is only getting better as well.
1 Carey Price
Carey Price has emerged as the league's best goalie over the past several seasons. Just how good is he? The Montreal Canadiens set a record for the best start in franchise history this past season.
Then, Price got hurt in November, missed the season and Montreal came nowhere close to the playoffs. The fifth overall pick from 2005 already has an Olympic gold medal, Vezina Trophy, Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, and has gone 233-155-50 on a Habs team that hasn't been consistent.
His 2.43 goals against average and .920 save percentage are incredible for a Habs team that clearly relies entirely on him for success. There's no doubt he's been the best goaltender drafted in Round One since the turn of the century.