By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The goalie position is an interesting one in hockey.

The state of Minnesota has produced many NHL forwards and defenseman, but fewer goalies.

That trend is starting to change, in part because of year-round training opportunities.

It is an interesting study when you go beneath the mask. We were reminded of it when Jake Allen shut the door on the Minnesota Wild.

But just how do you develop a goalie? You start with the position profile, which has changed.

“It used to be the kid that was the worst skater, you know, and then they’d be like, ‘Hey, we got that kid, he’s not a good hockey player, let’s put him in net,'” said Dave Rogalski, goalie coach for Hat Trick Sports. “Now it’s becoming, ‘Who’s the best athlete, and who’s the best skater?’ And you’re seeing those kids are having more and more success.”

dave rogalski and charlie lindgren Minnesota Starts To Develop Reputation As Goalie Farm

Dave Rogalski and Charlie Lindgren (credit: CBS)

Then there is the new qualifier: size. Think Devan Dubnyk.

“Now you have to be a big guy. You have to be over 6 [feet tall], 6’2″, 6’3″, and then you have to be an athlete on top of that,” Rogalski said.

We visited Rogalski on a day when he was working with Charlie Lindgren, a local in the Montreal system who has spent some time in the NHL. His offseason is a lonely journey, dictated by the position.

“You’re kind of on your own. I mean, you can kind of compare it to a pitcher,” Lindgren said. “The most important position in hockey, no doubt about it. Goalies have to abilities to steal games on their own.”

Which brings us to a trend: Minnesota is starting to produce more high-end goalies after what seemed like an NHL drought.

“One of my clients, Jake Oettinger, is ranked first in NHL essential scouting. Dayton Rasmussen is in the top 10, Jared Moe was 26th,” Rogalski said. “And then we have Zane McIntyre, who is an American Hockey League all-star. Charlie Lindgren, [Alex] Stalock, Adam Wilcox.”

As much as it’s about mechanics, it’s about more.

“It’s a lot of confidence, that’s for sure,” Lindgren said. “Obviously, the higher you get up, mechanics become more and more key. But confidence is big time. To play at a high level you got to be confident in yourself.”

And what brings this unique position into focus is when it’s right, it’s special.

“I think watching them have success and be happy, whether it’s a C-level, B2, B1, A-college or NHL goalie,” Rogalski said. “Just watching them win and enjoy it, and making a good save and say, ‘That was a really fun game. That was a fun training session.’ Just enjoy it. Be passionate about something other than sitting inside. Like, working hard and having goals and achieving them.”

[graphiq id=”lPCA8JlYegZ” title=”Top NHL Goal Scoring Seasons in NHL History” width=”600″ height=”523″ url=”” frozen=”true”]


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