Mason McDonald of the Charlottetown Islanders was the first goalie taken in the NHL draft.
The Calgary Flames picked him Saturday with the fourth pick of the second round (34th overall).
“I’m really excited for Mason,” Islanders general manager Grant Sonier said. “There’s obviously some prestige there to go as the first goaltender selected.”
The Islanders acquired the Halifax native in a December trade from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He had a combined 8-18 record with a 3.44 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage in his second season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“He has shown tremendous growth here in the last year,” Sonier said.
In January, McDonald turned in a strong performance at the top prospects game in Calgary and was recently in the city for a Team Canada goalie camp.
The Flames scouting staff includes Tod Button and Bobby MacMillan, one of the Islanders owners.
“I don’t think anybody knew him better than Calgary,” Sonier said.
Button said they have seen steady progress from McDonald.
“Mason McDonald is a kid who kept getting better and better as the season went on culminating with a real solid performance with the world under-18’s,” said Button, director of amateur scouting.
The draft is a step along the process to making it to the NHL.
“It really doesn’t matter where you get selected, it’s what you do afterwards,” Sonier said. “Mason has a great head on his shoulders and he’ll be prepared for this, no problem.”
Islanders centre Alexandre Goulet was not drafted Saturday. Central Scouting had him as the 65th-ranked North American skater.
“I feel bad for him because he came here (to Philadephia). There was lots of suggestions he would go fourth, fifth round and it didn’t happen,” Sonier said.
“Gou’s a strong personality. He’ll get through it.”
Goulet was not taken in his first QMJHL draft.
“When we drafted him he talked about how he used that for motivation and that’s exactly what he should do today,” Sonier said.
The five-foot-11, 190-pound centre scored 26 goals and set up 22 more for 48 points in 66 games in his rookie season in the QMJHL. The Islanders drafted him with the last pick of the first round (19th overall) in 2013. The pick was acquired from Val-d’Or in a trade for Louick Marcotte.
Former Charlottetown Islanders Alexis Pépin was taken in the fourth round (114th overall) by the Colorado Avalance. He had eight goals and nine assists in 37 games with the Islanders before being traded to Gatineau, where he had nine goals and eight assists in 23 games.
Pépin was the second overall pick in the 2013 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft.