© Guardian photo
Charlottetown Islanders goalie Mason McDonald is among the top goaltending prospects for June’s NHL Draft. A big part of determining where he goes will take place next week at the draft combine in Toronto.
Mason McDonald is looking to make a good first impression.
The Charlottetown Islanders goalie will be taking part in the NHL Draft combine in Toronto from May 26 to 31. It includes physical testing and interviews with NHL team officials in advance of the June 27 and 28 draft in Philadelphia.
“I’ve been working hard the past couple of weeks on the physical aspect of it, so going there I think I’m well prepared,” McDonald told The Guardian. “I’m excited for it.”
McDonald, one of 11 goalies invited to the combine, is the second-ranked North American goalie for the draft.
“I have to make a good impression on all the teams to make them want to pick me,” McDonald said.
The Islanders acquired the 18-year-old Halifax native in a December trade with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. It was the same day Charlottetown moved starting goalie Antoine Bibeau to Val-d’Or.
The six-foot-four, 178-pound McDonald went 5-10 with a 3.35 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage for a young Islanders team.
“I got a lot more playing time then I did in the first half of the season and I think that made my confidence (grow),” McDonald said.
He rode the high into a bronze medal performance with Canada at the world under-18 championships where he was named the tournament’s top goalie.
“I think all of that combined helped with my draft stock,” he said.
McDonald is taking nothing for granted and wants to build on his 2014 season.
“I have to get bigger, faster and stronger,” he said.
“I have been in the gym everyday working on my lower body strength and core.”
McDonald said he plans to relax and be himself during the interviews.
More than 100 players are expected to attend the combine, including former Islanders forward Alexis Pépin, who was traded at the deadline to Gatineau.
Other Quebec Major Junior Hockey League players invited
to the camp are Rouyn-Noranda teammates Nantel Julien and Francis Perron, Cape Breton’s Clark Bishop and Julien Pelletier, Moncton linemates Ivan Barbashev and Vladimir Tkachev, Nicholas Aube-Kubel (Val-d’Or), Daniel Audette (Sherbrooke), Nikolaj Ehlers (Halifax), Vaclav Karabacek (Gatineau), Olivier LeBlanc (Saint John) and Alexis Vanier (Baie-Comeau).
u Who – Charlottetown Islanders goalie.
u What’s up? - Heading to the NHL Draft combine in Toronto from May 26 to 31.
u Favourite NHL team – Boston Bruins.
u Hometown – Halifax.
u Age – 18.
u 2013-14 statistics -
GP W L GAA Sav%
29 8 18 3.44 .900