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Red Wings draft goalie McCollum

Published Saturday, June 21, 2008, 12:01 a.m. under 2008 Draft Coverage

The Detroit Red Wings selected goaltender Thomas McCollum with their first-round pick (30th overall) in the NHL entry draft in Ottawa on Friday night.

The Sanborn, N.Y., native is the starter for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League. He posted a 25-17-6 record with a 2.50 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage and four shutouts this past season.

He was ranked No. 1 among North American goaltenders by Central Scouting and second among all goaltenders by International Scouting Service.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder describes himself as a butterfly goaltender who likes to use his size and positional play to eliminate openings. Central Scouting goes so far as to call him “one of those franchise type of goalies in the future.”

“No. 1 attribute (for McCollum) is his net position — it’s second to none, there are rarely any holes and he has a great butterfly,” goalie scout Al Jensen said. “When he is challenging and at the top of his game, he is very tough to beat.”

The 18-year-old has been said to have the best glove in the draft, although some scouts criticize him for dropping into the butterfly too quickly and others point to a slow start last season and say he needs to improve his consistency.

He joins Jimmy Howard (third in Red Wings Central’s prospect ranking) and Daniel Larsson (13th) as the top goaltending prospects in Detroit’s system.

McCollum is a candidate for next year’s U.S. world junior team.

He is a late birthdate, meaning he only needs to play in Guelph for one more season before becoming eligible for the American Hockey League.

McCollum’s selection marked the first time since 1992 that the Red Wings didn’t use a first-round pick to select a defenseman.

The draft resumes Saturday at 10 a.m. with rounds two through seven. Detroit has five more selections at pressent, with picks in the third round (91st overall), fourth (121st), fifth (151st), sixth (181st) and seventh (211th).

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