The New Jersey Devils had a mid-to-late third round pick and they have spent it on a goaltender. My initial reaction is that the scouts must have seen something in him.
Scott Wedgewood - G - 6'1" 195 lbs. - CSS Rank: 19 (N.A. Goalies) - Born in: Etobicoke, ON (Source: NHL.com)
2009-10 Team: Plymouth Whalers - 18 GP - 3.26 GAA - 90.9 Sv% - 1 SO
Ranked 19th among all North American goalies, falling 6 spots from mid-term, by Central Scouting Services, the Devils appear to have gone rather off the board with this pick. This is the first goaltender drafted by the Devils since Jeff Frazee in 2005. There's nothing from CSS at NHL.com about Wedgewood, so for a taste of what some say about the goaltender, here's this post from The Junior Report:
Wedgewood and the Whalers clashed with the Spitfires again in what would be the Whalers final game of their season. On the verge of elimination, the Brampton teen expierenced something most goaltenders would never have to in their junior career: Windsor’s talented offence poured on 73 shots – Wedge carried his team into the overtime and allowed only three goals, but lost 3-2. The Spits went on to win the Memorial Cup.
While it's clear Wedgewood wasn't always the starter in Plymouth, he earned time playing for the Whalers in the postseason and had, at least, one huge performance. Perhaps he will get more time in the OHL next season?
Update: Pete Krupsky emailed me this article regarding said "huge performance" at MLive. It's a good read regarding how Wedgewood stepped up. Thank you, Pete. The 70 save performance certainly got the attention of a lot of scouts.
From this article by Pete Krupsky at MLive, there is a quote from Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report that gives a summary of Scott Wedgewood:
"We've never been big Wedgewood fans, mainly because of poor rebound control and a hyperactive style. And playing behind workhorse Hackett hasn't helped his cause. But we definitely took note of this one. A few years back, a seldom-used rookie was forced into a big game situation on national TV and stole the game making 50-plus saves. That rookie was London's Steve Mason, and we all know where he ended up.
Again, drafting goaltenders is always risky and the Devils, well, did just that. I'm not a fan of drafting goaltenders, especially given this team's history at it. At 84th overall, it's not exactly an early pick and the prospects start turning out to be more risky anyway. Hopefully, he does get more playing time in 2010-11 (Update: Matt Hackett should be going to the AHL for 10-11, so Wedgewood has a chance at the starting job), works on his rebound control and positioning, and gives the Devils proof that they didn't blow their third round pick in 2010.
I may update this later if I find out anything more on Wedgewood. All the same, I welcome him to the New Jersey Devils organization and wish him luck in the future. Please leave your thoughts about this selection in the comments.