After the confusion developed amongst Leafs fans following the decision to draft Russian forward Yegor Korshkov with the 31st pick in the draft, fans were satisfied later on in the second round when they took projected first rounder Carl Grundstrom at pick 57. However, there would be no time to rest for Leafs management as they would be on the clock again in five picks, at 62. After the final of the top four goalies was taken at 59 by St. Louis in Evan Fitzpatrick, fans were rattled that the Leafs didn't take one of the better goalies when goaltending was a desperate need in the organization. However, they would take a goalie at 62, and his name was Joseph Woll.
FINALLY! Finally the Leafs took a goalie. Goaltending has been a desperate need in the organization for a long time. For the last three years, they had been running with the tandem of Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer. Neither of those goalies were awful, but neither were amazing either. The worst part about them was the ongoing "Bernier vs Reimer" debate among fans. Reimer was traded to San Jose in February and recently signed with the Florida Panthers, while Bernier was even more recently dealt to the Anaheim Ducks following the acquisition of Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen. Acquiring Andersen was half of the problem solved, but they don't really have any AHL prospect depth. Garret Sparks and Antoine Bibeau are nothing special, and new Finnish netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo is a wildcard. Anyways, back to Woll.
"The Brick Woll" as known by teammates and family, was very solid this year for the USNTDP of the USHL. In 33 games, he posted a 2.14 GAA and a .920 save percentage. However, he really stood out at the U18 World Championships, where in three games he put up a 1.34 GAA and a .950 save percentage. One thing that Woll has going for him that the other top ranked goalies don't is his athleticism. He's arguably the most athletic goalie in the draft, he can shift quickly and also has good size at 6'3 and 196lb. Scouts really liked his performance at the U18 worlds, and many experts and analysts says he has starting goalie potential. If that's the case, then that's a beautiful thing to think about for Leafs fans, as they already have a proven #1 goalie in Frederik Andersen along with a potential #1 in the pipeline. The Leafs need to monitor Woll's development closely, but he should turn into something for them.
NHL COMPARABLE: Steve Mason
Again, scouts love Woll's athleticism and he compares to Mason in that sense. They both play a very hybrid game and can make saves standing up but aren't afraid to go into the butterfly either. They have no struggles moving around the net and getting into different positions to make saves, and while Mason is a legit number one at the NHL level, it's difficult to say whether or not Woll will be better, worse, or the same as Mason is today.
NHL ETA: 2019-20
This one is a complete wildcard. Woll is committed to Boston College for next season, and it's really diffucult to judge how long it's going to take him to get inked to an entry level contract and see some NHL time. He could have a career similar to that of Canucks prospect and fellow Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko, who played two more seasons there and was signed to an ELC after an outstanding campaign, or he could stay there longer. It could honestly go either way and it all depends on how Woll's college career goes. Granted, it wouldn't be out of the question to see him in the NHL by 2019-20.