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Road to the NHL Draft: Mackenzie Blackwood

Mackenzie Blackwood

Position: Goaltender

Junior team: Barrie (OHL)

Born: Thunder Bay, Ont.

Measurables: 6-foot-4, 215 pounds

2014-15 stats: 33-14-2, .906 save percentage

Central Scouting rank: No. 1 (North American goalies)

Lowdown: Blackwood will be one of the first goalies off the board in the draft, something that was unthinkable when he was 12. Why? He hadn’t even been in a crease until then. He took up the position only because the netminder on his youth team missed some time. Blackwood proved to be a fast learner, quickly surpassing kids who’d played for years.

The hulking 18-year-old covers much of the net with his size alone. He has muscle along with height, allowing him to explode through the crease when the need arises. He loves the playoffs and has improved his numbers during the postseason for both of his junior seasons, including putting up a .922 save percentage this year.

He is a student of the game and has worked hard to improve his glove hand, which was once a liability.

They said it: “He takes a calm and relaxed approach and has excellent positional play. He has a butterfly style with great low net coverage and controlled lateral movements.” – Al Jensen, NHL Central Scouting.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL Draft, which will be held June 26-27.

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