While Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon are the most well known goaltending prospects in the Flyers system due to playing in the AHL, and Felix Sandstrom’s performance as an 18 year old in the top Swedish league has him pegged as a future starter as well, there’s one slightly less heralded netminder in the system who has solid potential: Merrick Madsen.
Madsen was the Flyers 6th round pick in 2013, 162 overall. He took over Harvard’s crease last year and was a solid starter in the ECAC, which is the same NCAA division that produced current Flyer Shayne Gostisbehere.
With a .931 SV% in 29 games as Harvard’s starter last season, Madsen is poised to take a giant step forward if he can repeat his results as a starting goalie for another year. At 6’5″ 190lbs per HockeyDB, he’s built like Pekka Rinne or a slightly shorter Ben Bishop. He’s a big goalie, so if the NHL elects to increase net size, he’s likely to be less affected than shorter goalies.
When watching him live last season against a weak Princeton squad, Madsen showed flawless positioning as well as good flexibility and quick reflexes. His style is akin to Ben Bishop, make himself as large as possible in the net and give the shooter nowhere to put the puck. Given the weakness of the Princeton squad and only one viewing, it would be horribly unfair to christen him the next Ben Bishop or even a future NHL starter, but given his NCAA talent and the voodoo of goalies, it’s good to see he has the ability to possibly make an impact as an NHL goalie.
He has two more years of NCAA eligibility left, so if he can continue this, he could be in line to compete with the other goaltending prospects in the 2019 season for an NHL spot.
If there’s one thing that Merrick Madsen shows, it’s that it’s great to have so many prospects at one position that you need to be reminded just how many exist.