SUN Hockey Pool

Scouting goaltenders is an inexact science at best

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

The most dominant goaltender in hockey today, Miikka Kiprusoff, was drafted 116th overall and traded away for next to nothing.

The hottest goaltender in hockey today, Cristobal Huet, was drafted 214th and traded away by the team that selected him. The most consistent goalie in the NHL this season, Henrik Lundqvist, was drafted 205th by the New York Rangers.

The message in all this: Goaltending and quarterbacking are the two most mis-scouted positions in sport.

Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph weren't drafted at all. Edmonton sent a first-round pick to Minnesota for Dwayne Roloson, who was never drafted himself. Calgary traded up to draft Trevor Kidd in the first round, 10 picks ahead of Martin Brodeur.

And among the better new goalies in hockey are Ryan Miller, the 138th pick in 1999 and Martin Gerber, selected at No. 232 two years later.

So when the Maple Leafs brag about the future with prospects Tuuka Rask and Justin Pogge, consider this: The deal that brought Kiprusoff to Calgary in 2003 barely mustered any kind of headline at all.

THIS AND THAT

If I had a Hart Trophy ballot, the vote would go: 1. Jaromir Jagr; 2. Kiprusoff; 3. Daniel Alfredsson ... By the time the season ends, Alexander Ovechkin will be either the second- or third-highest scoring rookie in history. He is not catching Teemu Selanne's 132 points, but he might catch Peter Stastny at 109 ... The leading Leafs scorer, defenceman Bryan McCabe, ranks 50th in the NHL. Their leading sniper, Darcy Tucker, ranks 61st in goals ... George Mason has never won an NCAA championship. James Mason, nominated three times, never won an Oscar ... Jacques Demers can't read, but apparently he can write. His book, detailing his illiteracy, has sold a whopping 82,000 copies in French. The English version is due out in September ... The Edmonton Eskimos wouldn't have traded Danny McManus to Calgary if the quarterback had agreed to take a pay cut.

HERE AND THERE

Rather than investigate Barry Bonds, why doesn't Bud Selig just read the two books that have busted the Giants outfielder? ... Blue Jays' normally sane catcher Gregg Zaun called the steroids investigation a "witch hunt" and, in a weird way, he is right. If you've ever been around Bonds, you'll know he is spooky ... And why select George Mitchell, a Red Sox minority owner, to investigate steroids in baseball, which will include looking into Yankees players Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield? Can you say conflict of interest? ... Tough April for the Jays: Six games against the Red Sox, five against the Yankees, three against the White Sox ... Is there a better opening-day pitching matchup than Roy Halladay versus Johan Santana? Cy Young vs. Cy Young ... I don't know about you, but I can't wait for April 9. It's Russ Adams T-shirt day at the Rogers Centre ... Question without an answer: Has Eric Lindros played his last NHL game?

SCENE AND HEARD

The more Mike James scores, the less attractive he becomes to the Raptors as a future point guard. He is shooting his way out of Toronto ... Regarding the Raptors' inability to stop anyone: Do they a) have players who just aren't good enough to play defence; b) aren't being taught to play defence, or; c) don't give enough of themselves to play defence. It has to be one of those ... I wonder if Kyle Wellwood will ever be more than he is ... Wrestlemania has become a lot like day-old bread. Stale and somewhat tasteless ... Not only has the NFL done away with major touchdown celebrations, the league has scheduled a third game on Thanksgiving Thursday in the U.S. In other words, the league is now against eating and celebrating ... One man's opinion: If either Gary Roberts or Joe Nieuwendyk had remained a Leaf, this is a playoff team. Even with all its warts ... Guillermo Quiroz, meet Syl Campusano ... Pre-lockout: There were three 40-plus goal- scorers in the NHL. Post-lockout: There will be at least nine, this time around.

AND ANOTHER THING

According to the 10 experienced prognosticators at espn.com, nine picked the Jays to finish third in the American League, one picked them as high as second. Seven of the same 10 have the Yankees finishing first ... What's forgotten in the absolute dominance of Roger Federer: He is only 24 ... Selig's next challenge: Investigating steroid usage in professional wrestling ... The betting here is that Pat Quinn will get gonged as Leafs coach at the end of the season, but John Ferguson will get to fulfill the final year of his contract. Based on my regular betting acumen, though, I'm certain to be wrong ... Have to feel for Ottawa Renegades players as they await to see if someone steps up to buy their franchise. All that seems missing from this scene is Reggie Dunlop, Dickie Dunn and someone with an accent saying: "Who own the 'Gades?" ... And hey, whatever became of Bill Singer?


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