NHL Draft Prospect Profile #66: Brandon Whitney
Drafted 191st Overall by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Its pretty rare for a rookie goaltender to get a lot of minutes on a quality CHL club, but thats exactly what Brandon Whitney did this season for the Victoriaville Tigres who finished fourth overall in the QMJHL. He started the year as a backup, but as he played more and more his talent became clear. Whitney would start Victoriaville’s final two playoff games, but unfortunately the Tigres were upset in the first round of the QMJHL Playoffs. Whitney parlayed his personal success this season into a spot at the CHL top prospects game where he stopped 11 of the 12 shots he faced. Whitney was also a member of Team Canada at the IIHF Under 18 World Hockey Championships, but did not play as the backup to Matt Murray. Whitney had previous international experience as the starting goalie for Team Atlantic at the 2011 World Under 17 Challenge. Whitney joins Murray, and Jon Gillies as goalies in the second tier of this draft at the position, below the big 3 of Subban, Vasilevski, and Dansk.
Born May 11 1994 — Centreville, Nova Scotia
Height 6.05 — Weight 190 — Shoots Left – Glove Left
At 6’05″ Whitney possesses the ideal size that NHL teams are looking for more and more in goalie prospects. He is a huge goalie who covers a lot of the net. This is especially apparent when Whtiney drops down into the butterfly, as he is still able to cover the upper portions of the net. Whitney is not a pure butterfly goalie however, as he plays more of the hybrid style favoured by goalies like Martin Brodeur and Carey Price. Whitney has excellent positioning and is almost always square to the shooter. He also comes out of his net and cuts down angles extremely well. In this way he’s able to maximize his size and take away a large portion of the net from shooters.
Whitney has excellent lateral mobility for a goaltender his size, as he glides quickly and effortlessly from post to post. This enables him to make saves on cross ice passes, and one timer opportunities. Whitney tracks the puck very well and possesses good anticipation. His rebound control is above average for a goalie his age.
Whitney seems to have the mental makeup necessary to succeed as a goaltender. He doesn’t seem to let the odd bad goal against affect him, and recovers quickly to get right back in the game after a mistake. He doesn’t get rattled by traffic around his crease either, fighting through the maze of bodies and working to get into position for the next save.
Whitney does need work on developping quicker legs, as he does not take away the bottom corners of the net as effectively as the other goalies we have profiled. He also needs work in handling the puck as some of the sorties out of his crease can become quite the adventure for the young netminder.
Like most young goaltenders, Whitney is a project, as he is probably a few years away from the NHL. However he does possess the intriguing combination of size and skill that will make him a project that some team will like to take on come draft day.
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