Monday, August 2, 2010

Boston Bruins Prospects Series: #26 Zane Gothberg

Zane Gothberg, G
6-1, 177
August 20, 1992
Catches: Left
Boston's 6th choice, 165th overall in 2010 Draft
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Physical: Although lean, Gothberg has a sizeable frame and is long-limbed, which is ideal for NHL goalies these days. Highly athletic, with excellent quickness, reflexes and flexibility. His style is best described as a hybrid between butterfly and standup; he keeps his feet more than the average butterfly netminder, but will scramble and employ older save techniques such as the two-pad stack and the half-butterfly. Quick glove and blocker hands; could stand on working to catch the puck cleanly more, but usually gets a piece of the shot to make the stop. Very good puckhandler; makes crisp passes to start the breakout and can clear it off the glass on his own. Patient; he will outwait the shooter rather than commit first. Decent rebound control, but that is a skill he, like most young goalies, must continue to work on. Fundamentals will need some refining; he's more of an athletic and instinctive player than he is a technician at the position at this stage of his development.

Intangibles: Relaxed, even quirky Gothberg personality masks a fierce competitor and highly successful Minnesota H.S. product. Seems to display exceptional mental toughness and an ability to shake off bad goals with subsequent big stops/tough saves. One-of-a-kind personality and extrovert who keeps everyone loose with his love of Miley Cyrus and Lil' Wayne music and a willingness to admit it on the record. Hard worker who leads by example and is a quick study.

Boston Bruins 2010 Development Camp assessment
After Mike Hutchinson, Gothberg was probably the best of the four goalies in camp. Despite not yet being 18 and having faced high school-level shooters as recently as four months prior to his stint in Wilmington, he looked the part of an NHL prospect, flashing the natural, raw ability that could very well see a big payoff for the Bruins down the road. You could see a marked improvement in Gothberg's performance from beginning of the D-Camp to the end, and he seemed to maintain his composure throughout. He made some highlight reel stops against several of the better players there, including Tyler Seguin and Joe Colborne. He also gave up a memorable bomb to Jared Knight that an NHL goalie would not have been able to stop. All in all, he did not look at all out of place. As noted above, his technique has some holes that good coaching can address, but all of the things you can't teach a goalie: size, reflexes and the natural ability to see the play developing and anticipate where to be to make the save-- Gothberg has in spades. As a bonus, he's a character: his midwestern accent could have seen him cast in the mid-90's classic film "Fargo" and he was one of the more popular guys in the dressing room according to an informal poll I took of the B's prospects. It's going to take some time, but this guy could be a very good one.

Gothberg is a long-term project, but he has NHL starter upside with his natural talent and intangibles. The fact that Minnesota has not been a good producer of NHL goaltending talent probably made teams wary of taking Gothberg too high, but the B's were thrilled to get him in the sixth round. He just put up an impressive performance over the weekend at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, forming a tandem with Dallas first-rounder Jack Campbell to lead Team White to a 3-0 record in the intrasquad scrimmages. Splitting the duties, Gothberg allowed just one goal on 26 shots over the three contests. As one of 42 players competing for a spot on the 2010 World Jr. squad which will convene in Buffalo, N.Y. in December to defend the gold medal Team USA won last January, Gothberg is getting a great opportunity to develop his confidence against the best of his peers from the U.S. and will go up against the Swedes and Finns this week in some international exhibition play. Should he beat out Andy Iles and Michael Houser, Gothberg would be Campbell's backup in Buffalo, but Iles likely has the inside track because he's a U.S. NTDP product. Gothberg will have to shine this week and with the USHL's Fargo Force in the early going this year to have a shot. A University of North Dakota recruit, Gothberg will either play one or two seasons in the USHL depending on the goalie situation in Grand Forks a year from now.

“I have been privileged to coach Zane for the last three years. He has been a coaches dream to have on my team. The best things about Zane do not even involve his on ice performance, without being asked he put in the time to help out our youth programs and he just plan gets it. He is a very mature and confident young man. He makes our team better because of this. He has great leadership and his work ethic is where it needs to be to get to the next level. He has size and also quickness. If he continues to progress and I am sure he will, I see good things for Zane.”- Thief River Falls H.S. head coach Tim Bergland to, 2010

“This kid is very good. He impressed me the first time I saw him. He's very controlled. He is a lot like Michael Lee (selected by the Phoenix Coyotes in Round 3, No. 91, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft) from the previous year, only quicker. I like his quickness and net coverage. I like his strength. He's smart and reads the play well. There's not a lot that I don't like about his game. As the years go by, he's going to be a very good NHL goaltender."- NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen to, 2010

“We were really excited about Gothberg. He’s a bankable kid for us. We have some goaltending depth right now that we’re very comfortable with. He has excellent quickness. We really like the kid’s character; we had him higher than where he went.”- Bruins amateur scouting director Wayne Smith to New England Hockey Journal, Los Angeles; July 26, 2010

“It just shows you that every ounce of energy you have left, you have to put it forward otherwise these guys are going to beat you clean. Got snipped a couple of times out there but that was just cause mentally and physically I need to get to the next level. From here, it’s a good building block towards the future. Just hanging with the guys and soaking it all in.”- Zane Gothberg to, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

"Yeah, it's exciting for sure. I'm really looking forward to going (to Lake Placid) and getting a chance to play with and against so many great players. I got a taste of it last year when I got a chance to play with the U.S. team in Slovakia, so I'm just going to focus on getting through this week and learning as much as I can and then will get ready for the USA Hockey camp later on."- Zane Gothberg to B2010DW, Wilmington, Mass.; July 6-10, 2010

The Final Word
Is Gothberg too low on this list? Given his tools and upside, he probably is. But, he's at least four to five years away from being ready to compete for an NHL job, so time is on his side. Because he's raw and Minnesota hasn't been a strong goalie pipeline, Gothberg is further down the list for now, but if he can play well in the USHL and then take the A-game to UND, he'll be a player to watch. If nothing else, this is a fun guy to root for. He's extremely grounded, has strong family values and brings an impressive resume with him for a sixth-round pick, having won the Frank Brimsek Award this past season, given to the top Minnesota high school goalie. He's ready for the next challenge.

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