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.
24. Kyle Moir (139th Overall)
Kyle Moir played his entire four season junior career with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League. He had a solid draft year with the Broncos posting a 22-15-4 record. The Nashville Predators liked what they saw in Moir and selected him in the fifth round. Even after posting fairly solid numbers in the WHL for the following three seasons, the Predators never offered him a contract.
Moir decided to take advantage of his four free years of schooling and joined Lakehead University. He would spend four years at Lakehead where he found himself splitting time in goal. In 2011, Moir got a one game shot with ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies where he was lit up for six goals. He would play one season in Holland before retiring in 2012. Moir has continued to stay in the game of hockey by being a goaltending coach in Calgary.
23. Josh Disher (185th Overall)
In 2004, the New Jersey Devils were solid between the pipes with Martin Brodeur, but they took Josh Disher in the sixth round hoping to add some depth. Disher was coming off a solid season with the OHL’s Erie Otters. He was an absolute work horse for the team playing 63 games and picking up 26 victories to go with a solid 2.86 GAA. His numbers got even better the following season as he lowered his GAA to 2.73, albeit in 12 lesser games.
Despite showing a great deal of promise in his first two OHL seasons, Disher’s third and final season of junior was a complete disaster. His GAA ballooned to 3.75 and he had an abysmal .891 save pecentage. That same season he was given a one game shot with the Devil’s AHL affiliate, but he played poorly by allowing five goals. After not getting an NHL contract, Disher would go onto play four seasons for Dalhousie University, before calling it a career in 2011.
22. Julien Ellis (189th Overall)
The 2003-04 season was Julien Ellis’ first full one in the QMJHL, and it turned out to be a fantastic year for him. Not only was he one of the top rookie goaltenders, he was one of the best goalies in the entire league, period. Ellis suited up for 59 games for the Shawinigan Cataractes and he would win 32 of those games. Although he was considered to be one of the top goaltenders available in the 2004 draft, he slid all the way to the Vancouver Canucks in the sixth round.
Ellis would spend the next three seasons in the Canucks organization, spending most of his time with the Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL. With no NHL suitors, Ellis joined the LNAH in Quebec and remained there until after the 2012-13 season. He just wasn’t able to recapture the same success he had as a rookie in the QMJHL.
21. Jimmy Spratt (213th Overall)
Jimmy Spratt developed his skills with the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League. He showed enough promise to catch the eyes of the Calgary Flames who took him in the seventh round. After being drafted, Spratt joined Bowling Green State University where he would spend four seasons.
Spratt turned professional in the 2009 season and would go onto play for many different teams in the minors. The closest Spratt got to the NHL was his two-game stint with the Texas Stars in 2011-12. His numbers were actually pretty solid with a 2.02 GAA and .909 save percentage, but it was just too small of a sample size. Spratt retired after the 2012-13 season and rejoined Bowling Green as their President of Hockey Operations. Spratt is a great example of how the game of hockey can provide great education opportunities.
20. Loic Lacasse (181st Overall)
Loic Lacasse’s dream came true when the Montreal Canadiens selected the Quebec native in the sixth round. He was the first goalie to be drafted out of the QMJHL by Canadiens since they took Mathieu Garon in 1996. After spending four seasons in the QMJHL, Lacasse spent his final season of junior with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals.
Lacasse turned pro ahead of the 2007-08 season, but with the depth of goalies in the Canadiens system, he was forced to start his career with IHL’s Bloomington PrairieThunder. The next season Lacasse earned a call-up to the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. His numbers were actually pretty impressive as he posted a 6-1 record with two shutouts. Unfortunately, that would be as close as he would get to the NHL. He currently plies his trade in the LNAH, which is a semi-pro league in Quebec.
19. Dan Turple (186th Overall)
Dan Turple struggled early on in his junior career with the Kingston Frontenacs, sporting a terrible 5.61 GAA in his rookie season. It wasn’t until Turple joined the Oshawa Generals midway through the 2003-04 season that he started to look like a legit NHL prospect. The Atlanta Thrashers took the 6’6” goaltender in the sixth round of the draft.
Turple had another two great years in the OHL before turning pro in 2006. He found himself playing in the minors for all three of his years in the Atlanta organization. Turple spent most of his time playing down in the ECHL where his numbers were poor. In the 2008-09 season, he did get into 14 games with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, but he did nothing to show Atlanta that he was worth another contract. Turple would play of few seasons of Senior hockey in Ontario before calling it quits in 2011.
18. David Shantz (37th Overall)
David Shantz is one of the biggest busts among goalies coming out of 2004 draft. He became a highly touted prospect after having a tremendous junior career in the Ontario Hockey League. Shantz began his professional career in the 2006-07 season with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. While there is nothing wrong with spending time developing in a low-tier league like the ECHL, Shantz spent the majority of time playing in the Double-A league.
After the Florida Panthers gave up on Shantz, he joined the Calgary Flames organization. It was in his time the Flames franchise where he came the closest to making it to the NHL. In 2009-10 he played a career-high 31 AHL games. Although his numbers were solid, he never did get a call-up to the NHL. Shantz originally retired in 2011, but he came out of retirement in 2015 to play one season for the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder.
17. Martin Houle (232nd Overall)
Martin Houle’s chances at being drafted in the NHL weren’t looking so good after his first year of junior with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the QMJHL. In thirty games that season, Houle posted a terrible 4-18-3 record with a 4.06 GAA. However, Houle was able to bounce back in a big in a bay in the following 2003-04 season. His numbers were absolutely stellar as he recording 34 wins, and a had an excellent 2.34 GAA and a sparkling .921 save percentage. Houle was named QMJHL Goalie of the Year for his efforts.
Houle’s fantastic junior season caught the attention the Philidelphia Flyers who grabbed him late in the NHL Draft. In just his first professional season in 2005-06, Houle’s was good enough to take over the starting role of the Flyers AHL affiliate. The following season he would make his NHL debut in a relief role. His time in NHL lasted a grand total of two minutes where he allowed one goal on two shots. His career NHL goals against average ended up being an embarrassing 27.27. Houle would spend the next few seasons in the minors before retiring in 2011. His brief time in NHL may not have gone the way he wanted it too, but the fact that he even made the NHL as an eight round pick is something he should be proud of.
16. Michal Valent (145th Overall)
Michal Valent played his junior hockey with the Slovak U18 National Team. He proved that he was one top young goaltenders in all of Slovakia. The Buffalo Sabres took the athletic goaltender in the fifth round. After being drafted, Valent would remain in Slovakia. He was the country’s starting goaltender at the 2006 World Junior Championships. Both Valent and Slovakia were badly outmatched throughout the tournament but it was still a valuable experience for him.
In 2006, Valent decided to make the trip over to North America as he signed with the USHL’s Omaha Lancer’s. He played in 14 games with the team where his numbers were mediocre at best. Following that season, Valent returned home and has not come back to North America since. At this point in his career, it seems like Valent is perfectly comfortable with just playing in his home country.
15. David Brown (228th Overall)
David Brown, who was an eighth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins, has been a well-travelled goaltender. Brown spent the beginning of his career with the University of Notre Dame where he established himself as arguably the greatest goalie in team history. At the end of his four years, he ranked first on the team in many categories including career shutouts, save percentage, and goals against average.
After his fantastic career at Notre Dame, Brown turned pro with the Penguins organization in 2007. His first season as a pro was solid, he played very well in 19 games with the Penguin’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre. Unfortunately, Brown couldn’t repeat the success of his rookie year. Since leaving the Pittsburgh organization, Brown has bounced around from team to team, and league to league. After spending the last few seasons playing in the United Kingdom, Brown currently plays for the Stoney Creek Generals in an Ontario Men’s Senior League.
14. Yutaka Fukufuji (238th Overall)
Yutaka Fukufuji was just the second Japanese-born player to be taken in the NHL Draft when the L.A Kings selected him in the eighth round. He spent his previous years developing in the Asia League. While getting drafted was an incredible achievement, not a whole lot of people actually expected Fukufuji to make the NHL, but that is exactly what he did. After spending two solid seasons with the Kings ECHL and AHL affiliates, he would get the call up to the NHL in late 2006.
Fukufuji would make history as the first Japanese player to dress, appear, and start an NHL game. His time in the NHL was brief as he only appeared in four games where his numbers were poor. After playing a few more seasons in the minors, Fukufuji returned to home to Japan in 2010. He continues to represent his country at many international events.
13. Magnus Akerlund (137th Overall)
Magnus Akerland was taken in the fifth round of the draft by the Carolina Hurricanes. He spent his time developing in his native home of Sweden. He represented his country at three different World Junior Hockey Championships, although he never was able to capture any medals.
With Cam Ward emerging as the Hurricanes goaltender of the future with his stellar play in the 2006 NHL playoffs, there was no rush for Akerlund to come over to North America. As the years went by, Ackerlund remained in Sweden, and he never would make the trek over to North America. He currently plays for Sundsvall IF in Sweden’s top hockey league and is in the midst of one of his best seasons of his career. However, at the age of thirty, it looks like Akerlund is more than comfortable to just stay home.
12. Marek Schwarz (17th Overall)
Marek Schwarz was the third goalie taken in 2004 draft. The St.Louis Blues were hoping that Schwarz would be their first true number one goalie since the days of Grant Fuhr in the late 1990s. Schwarz’ first professional season in North America came in 2006-07 and it was an excellent one at that. He played the majority of his games with the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL. He played so well that not only was he named to the AHL All-Star game, but he even earned a two-game stint with St.Louis.
Unfortunately, his career in North America went all down hill from his first season. For the next two seasons combined, Schwarz only got into four more games with the Blues before heading off to Europe in 2009. He currently has been relegated to playing in the Austrian Hockey League and the chances of him getting another crack in the NHL are almost non-existent.
11. Daniel Taylor (221st Overall)
Daniel Taylor was born in the United Kingdom but he came across the pond to play his junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League. Taylor posted solid numbers during his time in juniors. In his rookie season with the Guelph Storm, he posted a solid 16-4-3 record. That was a big enough sample size for the L.A Kings to take a flyer on him in the seventh round of the draft. Taylor made his professional debut in the 2006-07 season and just a season later he made his NHL debut with the Kings. His NHL debut was fairly forgettable as he allowed two goals in just one period of action.
Taylor would spend time in the minors and overseas before finally getting another NHL shot with the Calgary Flames in 2012-13. He appeared in two games where his numbers weren’t poor but were nothing spectacular. He headed off to Europe the following season. Taylor has managed to carve out himself a decent hockey career outside of the NHL, he currently plays in the KHL.
10. Jeff Glass (89th Overall)
There was a time where it seemed like Jeff Glass was destined to have a long NHL career. After being taken by the Ottawa Senators in the third round, Glass had a very memorable 2004-05 season. His numbers with the Kootenay Ice of the WHL were simply outstanding. He finished with a record of 34-11-5, with a 1.76 GAA, and a .932 save percentage. That same season Glass was the starting goalie for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. The team is considered to be the greatest team in tournament history as it was loaded with future stars like Ryan Getzlaf, Shea Weber, and Sidney Crosby.
Despite the fact that most of his Gold Medal winning teammates have gone on to have amazing careers in the NHL, Glass has yet to appear in a single NHL game. During his time with the Senators, his play simply wasn’t good enough to earn him a call-up. After four seasons with the Senators organizations, he left to go play in the KHL where he remained for seven seasons. In 2016, Glass signed a professional tryout contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, due to Toronto’s goaltending depth, he has only managed to make two appearances with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
9. Dan LaCosta (93rd Overall)
Dan LaCosta spent five seasons playing in the Ontario Hockey League. The third round draft choice of the Columbus Blue Jackets had his best season of junior hockey in 2005-06. While playing for the Barrie Colts, he led the entire league with 36 wins. LaCosta seemed to be peaking heading into his first professional season.
After having a terrible rookie pro season, LaCosta had a bounce back year in 2007-08. His numbers were outstanding in both the ECHL and AHL. They were so good that he earned his first NHL action with the Jackets, where he was perfect in a relief appearance. He played another solid three games with Columbus the following season, which ultimately turned out be his last NHL games of his career. LaCosta decided to end his professional career in 2010 so that he could attend the University of New Brunswick. His hockey career came to end in 2013 due to concussion problems.
8. Justin Pogge (90th Overall)
The Toronto Maple Leafs took Justin Pogge in the third round of the NHL Draft, hoping he would eventually add depth to the organization. In the following seasons after being drafted, Pogge was starting to look like one of the top steals of the draft. The 2005-06 season was a particularly strong one for Pogge. While playing for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, he posted a record of 38-10-6 with an outstanding 1.72 GAA. Not only was he named the top goaltender of the league, he was also named the WHL’s Most Valuable Player.
Things were looking bright for Pogge heading into his first professional season in 2006-07, but as you will soon learn, things just didn’t work out for Pogge and his NHL career. He would spend just three seasons in the Leafs organization, spending the majority of his time in the minors. When he did get a chance to play for the Leafs, his numbers were dreadful. Pogge left for Europe in 2012, and that’s where he remains today.
7. Justin Peters (38th Overall)
Justin Peters was originally taken in the second round by the Carolina Hurricanes, an organization he would stay in for over a decade. After turning pro in 2006, Peters would bounce around for several seasons from ECHL to the AHL with a few games sprinkled in with the Hurricanes. It wasn’t until the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season that Peters earned a full-time role with Carolina. He was actually tied for team lead among goalies in games played with 19.
Peters would spend just one more season as the Hurricanes backup before signing with Washington in 2014. Peters struggled during his time with the Capitals, and thus found himself spending the next couple of seasons in the AHL. Peters made his return to the NHL in 2016 as an injury replacement for the Arizona Coyotes. Peters failed to make the most of his opportunity, which might just turn out to be the last NHL opportunity of his career.
6. Anton Khudobin (206th Overall)
Anton Khudobin spent his time honing his skills in the Russian junior league. He also represented Russia at multiple World Junior Hockey Championships, winning a Silver Medal at both the 2005 and 2006 tournaments. The original seventh-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild began his North American professional career in 2007-08, splitting time between the ECHL and AHL.
It wouldn’t be until the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season that Khudobin became a full-time NHL goalie as a member of the Boston Bruins. In 2012, he signed with the Carolina Hurricanes where he would have the most success of his career, playing in 70 games in his two combined seasons with the team. After a short stint with the Anaheim Ducks, Khudobin is once again a member of the Boston Bruins. However, the once highly underrated goalie is now barely hanging on to a backup role in the NHL and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him head back home to Russia.
5. Karri Ramo (191st Overall)
Karri Ramo had a rollercoaster ride of a career if there ever was one. The sixth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning had a great start to his North American career as he was named to the AHL All-Star game in his rookie season. That earned him a call-up to the Lightning that same season. Ramo would become Tampa Bay’s backup for the next couple of seasons, but his numbers were poor to say the least.
After spending four years in the KHL, Ramo returned to the NHL in 2013 with the Calgary Flames. He played three seasons with the Flames, where his numbers were mostly solid. However, the Flames decided not to resign him after the 2015-16 season. After dealing with injuries, Ramo is currently trying to make another comeback to the NHL. Based on his numbers in the AHL so far, it doesn’t look like we will see Ramo in an NHL jersey anytime soon.
4. Al Montoya (6th Overall)
For a long time, it was looking like Al Montoya was heading towards major bust territory. Montoya was the very first goalie taken in the 2004 draft by the New York Rangers. After playing three mediocre seasons in the AHL, and with the emergence of Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers felt Montoya was expendable and they shipped him off to Phoenix. He got into his first NHL action with the Coyotes and he showed some promise in his small sample size.
After spending another couple seasons in the AHL, Montoya got his big break when he was traded to the Islanders. He established himself as a regular NHL goalie, playing in a career-high 31 games in 2011-12. Montoya went on to have stops with Winnipeg, Florida and he currently suits up for Montreal. While he never lived up to the lofty expectations that come with being a top ten draft pick, he has established himself as one of the more dependable goalies in the league.
3. Thomas Greiss (94th Overall)
Prior to being taken in the third round by the San Jose Sharks, Thomas Greiss honed his skills in his native home of Germany. He would spend three seasons in the AHL before becoming a backup with the Sharks in 2009.
Griess wasn’t getting the opportunities that he wanted with the Sharks, so he signed with the Coyotes in 2013. He only played one season in Arizona, but he did play a career-high 25 games. Greiss had another solid year with the Penguins in 2014-15, before he joined the Islanders, a team that he still plays for today. During his time on Long Island, Griess has proven he is more than capable of being a starting goalie in the NHL. He has badly outplayed fellow Islander netminder Jaroslav Halak. While most goalies on this list have probably seen their best days pass by them, Griess’ best years might just be still ahead of him.
2. Devan Dubnyk (14th Overall)
It’s hard to believe that it wasn’t too long ago that Devan Dubnyk’s NHL career looked like it might be over. After spending five mediocre seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, he was shipped off to the Nashville Predators in 2014. His stint in the Music City lasted just two games where he played absolutely terrible. That same season he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens, but they immediately sent him down to the AHL. Dubnyk once again struggled even in a lesser skilled league.
Despite his career hitting rock bottom, Dubnyk was able to get a one-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes. It was in his time in the desert where he was able to regain his confidence. With the Coyotes being near the bottom of league standings and their eyes on the top pick of the NHL draft, Dubnyk’s and his winning ways was shipped off to Minnesota. Dubynk caught fire immediately after joining the Wild and his play has been absolutely stellar ever since. It’s incredible that in just a few years Dubynk has gone from barely hanging on to his NHL career to becoming of the top goaltenders in the league.
1. Cory Schneider (26th Overall)
When it comes to goalies coming out of the 2004 NHL Draft, the only goalie that rivals Pekka Rinne’s long term success is Corey Schneider. After being taken late in the first round by the Vancouver Canucks, Schneider took a long road to get to the NHL. He spent three years at Boston College where his stellar play only raised his stock. He turned pro in 2007 and would spend the next three season mainly as a member of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. His stock once again kept rising as he was one of the top goalies in the AHL.
It wasn’t until the 2010-11 season that Schneider became a full-time goaltender for the Canucks. Along with fellow goaltender Roberto Luongo, the two men formed arguably the best goaltending tandem in the entire league. The Canucks knew they couldn’t keep both goalies forever so they decided to trade Schneider to New Jersey at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Although this current NHL season has been a bit of a rough one for Schneider, he has been by far the Devil’s most valuable player for the past few seasons.
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