Last week Cat Silverman did an amazing break down of the Arizona Coyotes’ goaltending depth for The Athletic. There weren’t too many surprises: Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper should be a tandem next season, Adin Hill is projected to be the Tucson Roadrunners’ starter, and Ivan Prosvetov is expected to challenge for an AHL role. But it mentions another player who doesn’t get as much press, goaltender Erik Kallgren.
Team Last Season: AIK (Allsvenskan)
Games Played: 32
Goals Against Average: 2.02
Save Percentage: .920
Playoffs Games Played: 3
Playoffs Goals Against Average: 3.01
Playoffs Save Percentage: .888
Initially drafted in the seventh-round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Kallgren hasn’t gotten much attention from Coyotes fans. The biggest reason for this is likely the fact that the same draft saw the Coyotes draft Adin Hill, who has played extremely well in North America making him far more visible for North American fans.
Kallgren has quietly been solid in Sweden playing in the second highest league. Last season was definitely a stand out season for him, one which saw him set career highs in games played, goals against average, and save percentage.
Goaltenders historically are extremely difficult to predict. They often take the longest to develop and success in lower leagues isn’t always a great predictor of success in the NHL. Except for the extremely rare can’t-miss goalies, the best strategy is to draft as many as you can and hope that one works out.
Arizona hasn’t drafted and developed a starting goaltender in a long time. Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper were both acquired via trade, previous goaltender Mike Smith signed as a free agent, and Ilya Bryzgalov was claimed from waivers.
Right now the team has Hill, Kallgren, Merrick Madsen and Ivan Prosvetov all in the conversation for the future Coyotes starter. It remains to be seen if they will stay with the team or develop into a starter.
The future of Arizona’s goaltending is still very unclear. The team has two solid NHL players and Adin Hill seems like he is close to graduating to the big league. But with Arizona letting Hunter Miska go as a free agent, it appears that the team believes that Kallgren has potential to succeed at a professional level. Whether he will succeed only in the AHL or eventually end up in the NHL remains to be seen.