The Vancouver Canucks used their first second-round pick in the 2014 NHL draft to select Boston College goaltender Thatcher Demko.
The San Diego native posted a 16-5-3 record with a .919 save percentage as a freshman for the Eagles in 2013-14. He played a key role in BC’s Beanpot title and Hockey East regular-season championship.
Demko was ranked as the top goaltender available on most pre-draft lists based on his athleticism, poise, exceptional glove hand and superb rebound control.
The selection of Demko is a wise one by new general manager Jim Benning because the Canucks don’t have a long-term solution between the pipes at the NHL level.
Eddie Lack likely will be the starter entering the 2014-15 season, but he struggled (16-17-5, 2.41 GAA) in that role toward the end of last season following the Roberto Luongo trade. Backup netminder Jacob Markstrom was acquired in the Luongo deal and has shown nothing to suggest he’s an NHL starter.
The Eagles goaltender probably won’t be NHL ready for at least three more years, but the Canucks can afford to be patient as they transition into a rebuild. The last BC goalie drafted by Vancouver was Cory Schneider (first round, 2004), who turned into the team’s starter in 2012-13 and has become a top 15 player at the position with the New Jersey Devils.
Demko will remain at Boston College for his sophomore season and is expected to be the starter or backup on Team USA’s roster at the 2015 World Junior Championships.