Former NAPHL goalie Demko ranked #1 by NHL Central Scouting
January 13, 2014
Thatcher Demko of Boston College in Hockey East was the only goalie to receive an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's December players to watch list for the 2014 NHL Draft. So the fact that the freshman from San Diego, Calif., is No. 1 on Central Scouting's midterm rankings for North American goalies is no surprise.
The 6’4, 192-pounder could become the first American-born goalie drafted in the first round since the Dallas Stars selected Jack Campbell with the 11th pick of the 2010 draft.
He spent time developing in the NAPHL as the goalie for the California Titans 16U team during the 2010-11 season. Sporting a 7-2-1 record with a very respectable 92.2% save percentage and a 1.90 goals against average. His save percentage and goals against average both ranked fourth in the 16U Division during the 2010-11 season.
"He's a huge, strong goalie with excellent net coverage," Central Scouting's Al Jensen told NHL.com. "He has that NHL presence in the net. He's more of a positional-style goalie that relies on his angles and size and he plays big in his stance.
"When he drops in the butterfly he gets his body in front of a lot of shots. He's smart at reading the play and gets set quickly; strength is definitely not an issue with him."
Demko is the youngest player in NCAA hockey this season. He was the second-youngest (after 2015 draft-eligible center Jack Eichel) to make the United States' team at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, but as the third goalie did not dress for any games. In six games with BC this season he's 4-1-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.
Boston College assistant coach Mike Ayers compares Demko's style to that of Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. "He has an ability to move very well laterally and is able to recover pucks," Ayers said.
Ayers, the former goaltending coach for the United States National Team Development Program, knows that with more experience and teaching Demko will continue to improve.
"Thatcher is extremely competitive and very coachable," Ayers said. "To me, if you have those two things it's very positive for his development. For a bigger kid he's pretty athletic. I think at the beginning of the year he may have lacked just a little bit of confidence knowing he was the youngest college player, and that's only natural.
"But he's continued to battle and has gotten wins for us. For a freshman to come in and do what he's done is pretty impressive. It's a true sign of his makeup and attitude and his hunger to be better."
Demko was out three weeks after sustaining a lower-body injury earlier this season but has found that confidence again. "Coming back from that injury I had a little bit of a confidence thing in finding my rhythm again and getting back into a groove," Demko said. "It took me one game and then I got back into it against the University of New Hampshire [a 2-1 win Dec. 7] before leaving for the World Junior camp. Every game is a learning experience and being there is great for me."