The world of goaltending prospects is one fraught with uncertainty and lack of consensus, so we’re as likely to see Mads Sogaard – the Danish national who picked up steam in the prospect world with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers in his first year of CHL play – get picked up in the early few rounds as we are to see him get overlooked altogether.
He has the height, he has the fluidity, and he has the ability to pull himself together in tough situations – all things that teams love to see from young goaltenders, especially those who still have time to develop the technical aspect of their game. But inconsistencies with his playing style, coupled with an underwhelming performance at the World Juniors this year, mean that a high draft spot certainly isn’t a guarantee.
Sogaard is currently ranked 2nd by Central Scouting for North American goaltenders, so there’s a good chance a team looking for a promising prospect a few years down the line will be happy to use a pick on him. And if he pans out, he could help strengthen the Danish presence in the NHL in years to come.
- Age/Birthdate: 18 / December 13, 2000
- Birthplace: Aalborg, DEN
- Frame: 6-foot-7 / 196 lbs
- Position: Goaltender
- Handedness: Left
- Draft Year Team: Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
- Denmark U17 DM Best Goaltender
- Danish Champion
- Denmark U17 DM Best Goaltender (.962)
- Denmark U17 DM Champion
- U18 WJC (D1A) Bronze Medal
- U18 WJC (D1A) Bronze Medal
- WHL (East) Second All-Star Team
2018-19 Stat Rundown
Søgaard has been a fast riser in the ranks, grabbing the attention of scouts in his rookie WHL campaign with the Medicine Hat Tigers. His numbers have been stellar, and his size caught eyes when coupled with his flashy style; he’s not afraid to mix things up, and he’s got incredible agility that help him recover and make saves even when he misreads the initial shot or misplays his positioning.
The concern, of course, is that playing with that kind of flash and pizazz don’t always correlate well with a deeper understanding of depth management and positioning. And while Søgaard is still incredibly young, it’s worth pointing out that he’s developed a habit of over-committing outside of his posts when tracking the puck into the corners and up the wing.
It’s easy to forgive an 18-year-old goaltender for some bad habits in his game, and Søgaard certainly makes up for his flaws with a fantastic fluidity to his lateral movement. If his over-active tendencies are corrected, he’s got the range of motion to perform at an incredibly high level – something that he currently struggles with a bit when facing top competition behind a weaker defense.
One of the biggest knocks against goaltenders with Søgaard’s height is that they can struggle with movement, so it’s impressive to see that he moves with the speed of a goaltender nearly half his size. And if he’s able to maintain that while adding a bit of bulk to his currently-lanky frame, adding some muscle for endurance and control, he’ll have both the natural gifts and the impressive talent that very few goaltenders ever manage to possess.
Søgaard has consistently been ranked as one of the top North American goaltenders in the draft, but only this season. Prior to this year, he was a virtual unknown outside of those following the lower-tier leagues and European up-and-comers; he’s a Danish national who played two years in North America, so he’s made a move to the North American charts after spending most of his life overseas.
His sparkle seems to have a bit of a recency bias to it, with excitement over shutouts and stellar WHL numbers as a rookie pushing him to the forefront of the conversation without much talk about his play itself. And that can be a bit worrying, especially if a team needs to bring talent into their pro ranks sooner rather than later.
Søgaard also posted a bit of a concerning Goaltending statistician Giants in the Crease created a statistic called Bounce Back games, measuring how well a goaltender does in the game immediately following a poor one. He struggled in those bounce-back games, averaging an .898 save percentage during those outings; in comparison, fellow draft prospect Roddy Ross posted a .940 during those bounce-back games, Dustin Wolf posted a .920, and Trent Miner posted a .926.
It’s a minor quip to make, but worth keeping an eye on – particularly with the amount of technical development that Søgaard will need to make in order to stand up against the highest levels of competition. If he finds himself slipping into bad habits for stretches of games, his progression could take a lot longer than a team likely wants to see in a goaltender they’re willing to chance a third – or even second – round pick on.
Goaltender, coach, journalist, and runner. Raising a rambunctious two-year-old in the Phoenix area. Bylines at The Athletic NHL, InGoal Magazine, NHL.com, and more along the way. Specialist in goaltending video and analysis, but great for chats about distance running and New York style pizza in her spare time.