2014 NHL Draft Profile #66: Mason McDonald

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After the Charlottetown Islanders traded their incumbent starter in Antoine Bibeau to Val d’Or, they new they needed a new starter to build around. They immediately moved a future first round draft pick (and other picks) to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan for 17-year-old Mason McDonald, considered the best draft eligible goalie in the QMJHL, and the #2 goalie in North America by NHL Central Scouting.  McDonald would go on to put up a .907 save percentage with Charlottetown, better numbers than he had with the Titan, and take the reigns for Canada at the World Under 18 Hockey Championships where he would win a bronze medal, and tournament top goaltender award.  McDonald also has a gold from the Ivan Hlinka tournament where he was in a backup role.

Mason McDonald

Goalie — Shoots Right — Catches Right
Born Apr 23 1996 — Halifax, NS
Height 6.04 — Weight 186 [193 cm/84 kg]

At 6’4″, Mason McDonald has the ideal height that NHL teams seem to love in recent years.  He gets out of his net and makes the most of that size by cutting down angles and giving shooters very little to look at when they get a chance.  He has a very good butterfly and gets into and out of it very quickly for a big goalie.  One thing that is noticeable is that he very rarely goes into this butterfly too early, and this is a great instinct for a goalie to have.  His legs are very quick and take away the bottom of the net with ease.  He also flashes an impressive glove hand.  The blocker side can be a weakness at times though, and he will need to refine that going forward.

McDonald is an excellent skater and puck-tracker.  He is out far challenging shooters, but able to back up quickly if players go wide to the outside.  Also he tracks the puck very well, and goes post to post quickly.  From time to time its a little too quickly as he can overreact and go too far and get out of position, but this is a minor criticism, as most of the time he’s in the right spot.  Plays very aggressive in the way he challenges shooters and moves around the crease.  The biggest issue that McDonald has is rebound control.  At this point he is more of a “shot blocker” than a fluid shot stopper, and this will need to be refined so he doesn’t give up as much in front of him.

For all the aggressiveness in and around the net, he is not aggressive coming out of it to play the puck, and tends to let his defence do the work on dump-ins.

In terms of style, Mason McDonald is reminiscent of Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings.  This isn’t a talent comparison but is one based on the aggressive in crease style the two goaltenders play.  McDonald has a ton of raw skill for a goaltender and the upside here is very high.  He’s a bit of a project though as his technique is raw, and part of that is a lack of game action over the last two years.  He should get plenty more in his next two years of junior hockey though.  He could be a #1 goalie in the NHL, but the team that drafts him will need to be patient.  He’s probably got two years of junior plus some significant AHL time ahead of him.

Here are some highlights of Mason McDonald in action.

Come back tomorrow to check out my next prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft.


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