Islanders’ goaltender excited for draft day

Jason Malloy
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Mason McDonald is having a tough time getting to sleep this week knowing a childhood dream will come true in a matter of days.

The Charlottetown Islanders goaltender is expected to be one of the first netminders selected during the NHL Draft, which begins Friday and ends Saturday in Philadelphia.

“I think about it every night before I go to sleep,” McDonald said. “It’s getting harder (to get to sleep) every night leading up to it.”

The Halifax native leaves Friday morning with his family for the City of Brotherly Love. McDonald’s calm demeanour is something that helps him prepare for the uncertainty of the draft.

“You never know,” he said. “It’s all about what the teams need and what they want.”

It could mean he goes Friday night in the first round.

“If it’s me than great. If it’s not then I’ll just go to sleep at night and just think about getting picked the next day.”

He hasn’t set any goals to when he’d like to be drafted.

“It doesn’t matter what team it is,” he said, “I’ll be happy to hear my name be called.”

McDonald went to the draft last year in New Jersey so he has a sense of how things work.

He went through the combine a month ago in Toronto. It included physical testing and interviews with general managers and team personnel.

McDonald was a second-round pick of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the 2013 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft. He played 26 games in his rookie season and 13 more in 2013-14 backing up Jacob Brennan.

“I just kept positive,” McDonald said. “I knew if I got some playing time I would get seen.”

The Islanders acquired him in December after

dealing Antoine Bibeau

to Val-d’Or.

“It kind of changed everything,” McDonald said. “I started playing a lot more (and) I started playing better when I got to Charlottetown.”

McDonald said he enjoyed playing in the city and is looking forward to the upcoming season.

He has played for Canada’s under-18 team twice and was invited to the top prospects game in January in Calgary.

“I just want to keep learning and keep progressing,” McDonald said.

Islanders centre Alexandre Goulet is also expected to get drafted. He had 26 goals and 22 assists in his 66-game rookie season.

Central Scouting had him as the 65th-ranked North American skater while former Islanders forward Alexis Pépin is ranked 110. Goulet, his family and Islanders general manager Grant Sonier are all attending the draft.

Mason McDonald

Who – An 18-year-old goalie for the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Hometown – Halifax.

Size – Six-foot-four, 186-pounds.

What’s up? McDonald is one of the top goaltending prospects for this year’s NHL draft, which starts Friday in Philadelphia.

Rankings – NHL Central Scouting has McDonald as the second-ranked North American goalie behind Boston College’s Thatcher Demko.

2013-14 statistics

GP    W    L    GAA    Sav%

29    8    18    3.44    .900

Did you know? McDonald’s glove hand is his right hand, which is less common. “I think it kind of throws shooters off at some point,” McDonald said. A few NHL goalies who caught with their right hand are Grant Fuhr, Tom Barrasso, Jose Theodore and Tomas

Vokoun.

Organizations: Boston College, Islanders, NHL North American Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: Philadelphia, Halifax, Brotherly Love New Jersey Toronto Val Charlottetown Canada Calgary Quebec

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