Botchford: Hip hazard no bar to Canucks drafting goalie Thatcher Demko

 

 
 
 
 
The Canucks selected Boston College’s goalie Thatcher Demko with the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft
 
 

The Canucks selected Boston College’s goalie Thatcher Demko with the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft

Photograph by: Bruce Bennett, Getty

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PHILADELPHIA — The Canucks drafted a goalie who likely requires surgery on both hips.

And this is good.

That’s because it’s almost certainly why the highest-rated goalie in the draft fell to the Canucks, who selected Boston College’s Thatcher Demko with the 36th overall pick.

The Canucks need a young, stud goalie in their system because it can take five years for a goaltender to develop.

Demko, the only goalie to get an A-rating from Central Scouting, was the best player availabe on the Canucks list when they took their first of two second-round picks.

Was it too high to take a goalie who will probably have two hip surgeries, especially for a team with as many holes as the Canucks have?

Hip procedures for goalies are increasingly common, relatively easy and successful a vast majority of time. Goalies are recovering more quickly every year, and some are adamant they have gained both flexibility and strength in the hips after full recovery.

It’s a point Eddie Lack kept making when he showed up at training camp in the fall, fully recovered from his own hip surgery.

Jonas Hiller has called the surgery a “non-issue.”

When it comes to the draft, that kind of knowledge can be a pretty significant advantage.

Eric Comrie had surgeries on each hip six days apart in January 2013. He was back on the ice in June. He then seemed to slide a bit in the 2013 NHL draft. Ranked No. 2, three goalies were drafted before the Winnipeg Jets took him with the 59th overall pick.

Comrie now looks like one of the steals of the draft. Comrie returned this season and put up a .925 save percentage.

Demko knows Comrie and his story well.

“He had the same thing and he recovered and clearly it worked out for him,” Demko said.

It sure did.

In an interview with InGoal Magazine, Comrie said he felt better, quicker and stronger.

“I feel more flexible, quicker side to side, stronger and more stable in my movements,” Comrie told InGoal.

Demko said he’s not threatened by the surgeries but still hasn’t committed to them, even though his hip joints have an imperfection which probably makes the surgery inevitable.

“They told me it would be a three-to-four month recovery and I was pissed off because I want to play,” Demko.

“I’m going to play through this year and re-evaluate it next summer,” Demko said.

“Some guys are saying you might as well get it done now.

“It’s not a horrible pain, it’s more like a stiffness,” he said. “It’s something I can definitely deal with.

“It’s not too bad.”

It could be a lot better.

jbotchford@theprovince.com

twitter.com/@botchford

 
 
 
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The Canucks selected Boston College’s goalie Thatcher Demko with the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft
 

The Canucks selected Boston College’s goalie Thatcher Demko with the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft

Photograph by: Bruce Bennett, Getty

 
The Canucks selected Boston College’s goalie Thatcher Demko with the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 28:  Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 28, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
 
 
 
 
 
 
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