Brock Gould eyes NHL draft as top-10 North American goalie prospect

Brock Gould is learning what Avalanche goalies Pavel Francouz and Philipp Grubauer are undoubtedly expecting if the NHL returns to action:

A two-month layoff for netminders makes for a slow comeback — even for a young NHL draft-eligible goalie like Gould.

“To get back to normal, I’d say a week to get to 75 percent, and 100 (percent) — almost two weeks, to really get into the game shape and the speed of things,” said Gould, a 6-foot-4 Colorado Springs native and Highlands Ranch resident.

Local rinks are still closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic. But they’re becoming available for various organizations to rent ice time with rigid rules and only 10 skaters at a time. Gould returned to the ice last week.

“There’s definitely a little rust. Today was my third skate. The first two were a little rough, in terms of moving around and getting used to being on skates again,” he said Saturday. “I’m sure all these guys at the higher level are working out hard at home, staying in shape. That wasn’t too hard for me, the cardiovascular part of returning.”

Gould, 18, is ranked ninth by Central Scouting among draft-eligible North American goalies. He is coming off his second season of major-junior in the Western Hockey League. Gould played for the Victoria Grizzlies in 2018-19 and half of last season before being traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors, who saw their season ended prematurely due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Gould had a No. 4 midterm ranking by Central Scouting in January before his statistics took a dramatic dive while playing for a team that finished 14-44-4. That’s why Gould could hear his name called long before a ninth-ranked goalie might normally expect.

The NHL draft typically takes place in late June during the offseason. But this year’s event was postponed in March. There have been discussions to hold a draft without rostered trades next month, but nothing has been finalized.

“One of my goals has always been to get drafted. It’s something pretty special and it would definitely be special for me, wherever it is,” Gould said.

The former Littleton Hawks and Colorado Thunderbirds standout chose major-junior over college hockey partly because the Canadian Hockey League system has more games.

“I signed in Victoria because I really liked the two goalie coaches there, as well. In two years of college you’re probably going to be a backup. Going to major-junior as a younger guy helps a lot because there are more games,” Gould said.

Gould plans on returning to Moose Jaw for next season. He has two years of major-junior eligibility remaining.

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