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Philadelphia Flyers Midterm Top 25 Under 25, No. 25: Merrick Madsen

Our countdown of the 25 most valuable players under 25 years old in the Flyers' organization begins with an American goalie taken in the draft this past June.

Colin Thompson / Minot Minotauros. Used with permission.

Merrick Madsen

Birthdate: August 22, 1995 (age 18)
Acquired via: 2013 NHL Draft - Round 6, Pick 162
Current Team/League: Minot Minotauros, NAHL
Nationality: American (birthplace: Preston, ID)
Size: 6'4", 180
Contract: None

Picking guys late in the draft is about as far from an exact science as you'll see out there. Most of them don't turn into much, and most NHL teams know this. So sometimes scoping out the guy to take late in the draft requires some creativity.

In some cases, "creativity" is something like "catching a guy on a whim while your head coach is looking at possible college destinations for his son". Tried and true method, no?

From Anthony SanFilippo, last July, in a profile on 2013 draft pick Merrick Madsen:

[Madsen] wasn't even on their radar until Flyers coach Peter Laviolette decided to look into Proctor Academy as a possible school for his son to attend.

"Laviolette started talking to my coach Mike Walsh and was telling him that his family was interested in coming to Proctor. They got to talking, and somehow my name came up. Next thing I knew, [Flyers scout] John Reilly was at one of my games."

And Reilly liked what he saw. Madsen is a big goaltender at 6-foot-4. He has quick feet for his size and does a nice job of covering the bottom half of the net.

Reilly was the only Flyers scout to see Madsen play, and pushed for him during scouting meetings. The Flyers knew that he was more of a long-term project, but decided to take a chance on him with the 162nd pick overall.

While Laviolette and company were scoping him out, Madsen went on to have a pretty nice final season at the aforementioned Proctor Academy -- good enough of one that he was, again according to SanFilippo, a player that the Flyers had designated as their "target player" coming in to the sixth round of the draft.

Madsen's original plan for this year was to play in the USHL with the Des Moines Buccaneers, and he was taken in the second round of last year's USHL draft. Somehow, he ended up in a lower-tier U.S. junior league, settling in with the Minot Minotauros in the NAHL. His save percentage with the Tauros has improved as the season's gone on, and after stopping 26 of 27 in a win just last night, it sits now at a .911 in 18 starts.

He'll only be in the NAHL for this year, as he's committed to play college hockey at some place called Harvard beginning next fall. And from the sounds of things, the Flyers expect him to be there for the duration of his college eligibility, as the quotes from Reilly above and from Jeff Reese in the same piece indicate that they see him as a guy who will need some time to develop.

Jeff Cox over at SBN College Hockey wrote up a piece about Madsen a week before the draft, with a lot of quotes about his game, his strengths and weaknesses, and more:

Madsen, standing tall at six-feet-four-inches, wears size 14 skates. NHL scouts have grown more impressed with him since the start of the season as he went from 34th in the Mid-Term Rankings to 26th in the final rankings of North American goaltenders eligible for the draft.

His coach is impressed by Madsen's strengths, but equally boasts of his goaltender's ability to identify weaknesses and improve on them. "He's got great feet. He moves post-to-post very well. He has been working on his glove and getting better on the shots upstairs," said Walsh.

Of the two goalies who will appear in this list (Anthony Stolarz being the other), Madsen's the one who will probably have a longer way to go until we have a good idea of whether or not he'll contribute at the game's highest level. Which makes sense, since he's 18 and all. He's clearly got some things to work on and he's clearly got at least some talent. Hopefully between the remainder of the season in Minot and next season in Harvard, he can keep working on putting it all together.

Lastly, here's a highlight video of him making saves (from a distance), via his prep school.

How we voted for Merrick Madsen:

Albert Allison Charlie Collin Kelly Kevin Kurt Travis
N/A 15 24 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Who we voted for at No. 25:

Albert Allison Charlie Collin Kelly Kevin Kurt Travis
Matt Mangene Brandon Alderson Reece Willcox Tyrell Goulbourne Matt Konan Terrance Amorosa Carsen Chubak Reece Willcox