(Photo: Cody Wooten/Optic Photography)
WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Wildcats netminder Austin Shaw has been listed among the top draft-eligible goaltenders in the 2015 National Hockey League Central Scouting Service Final Rankings, released Wednesday in preparation for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Out of the hundreds of draft-eligible goalies currently playing in leagues across North America, Shaw ranked No. 24 on Central Scouting’s final list. He is one of four players from the North American Hockey League to crack the final rankings, all of whom are goalies, including Matej Tomek (Topeka RoadRunners), Ryan Bednard (Johnstown Tomahawks), and Evan Smith (Austin Bruins).
“When Austin is on his game, he is as good as any goaltender we have seen this season,” Wildcats Head Coach John LaFontaine said. “Starting with his breakout performances at the league showcase, we have seen what he is capable of multiple times throughout the year, and it is great to see him receive this recognition.
Shaw posted impressive numbers in an eventful first season of junior hockey. He finished the regular season with a 26-9-3 record, 2.88 goals against average, .902 save percentage and three shutouts, while also earning a Division I commitment to Princeton University in the process.
The Colorado-native wrote himself into the Wildcats record-books throughout the campaign, setting a new team record for wins (26) in a single season by a first-year goaltender, as well as establishing a new franchise high-water mark for longest shutout streak to start a career (106:09). Shaw’s three shutouts also rank as the second-most in a single season by a Wichita Falls netminder.
Shaw is the first player to be listed on the CSS Final Rankings while playing for the Wildcats since fellow-goaltender Evan Cowley cracked the final rankings ahead of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Cowley eventually became the 92nd overall pick when he was selected by the Florida Panthers in Round 4 of that year’s draft.
Founded by hockey executive Jack Button in 1975, NHL Central Scouting Services is a department within the National Hockey League that ranks prospects for the NHL Entry Draft at specific times during the season. Players are ranked based on how well they will translate to the professional game in the NHL.
Shaw and the Wildcats are next in action on Friday, April 10 when they open the South Division Semifinals against the Topeka RoadRunners. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the Kansas Expocentre, with video coverage available on FASTHockey.com and an audio-only broadcast available via YouTube.