For Oilers fans who don’t know who Thomas Milic is, now you’ll know after reading this.
Yup, for the record he’s the only undrafted player on Canada’s world junior team from this past December.
He started out as the backup goalie for the team, but once the starter faltered in went Milic and he never let up from there, finishing on the gold medal-winning team with a .932 sv% and a stingy 1.76 GAA. He also played in previous tournaments for Team Canada where he had a .975 sv% and 0.50 GAA in two games for the under-18 team and a .925 sv% and a 2.54 GAA for the under-17 team.
His junior career has been on a broadly upward trajectory as well, see for yourself.
And yet Milic has gone undrafted in the two NHL entry drafts he’s been eligible for, and he won’t be eligible for this year’s draft either as he’ll be 20 by then and thus past the age limit for being drafted by an NHL team.
Why this is I don’t know, but then again I’m not an NHL scout either.
Of course, this means that having played four seasons of junior hockey by now and reaching the age limit for the WHL, he can’t go back to junior either.
Now of course this doesn’t mean his NHL dream is dead, not by any means. He can still sign as a free agent with an NHL team, even on an AHL-only pact. So while it’s the more unorthodox route to go, Milic could still make an NHL system yet.
If all else fails he can always play college hockey in the NCAA or the CIAU (Canadian university-level league).
He’s bound to have attracted more attention from his performance at the world junior tournament, though.
In fact, it’s safe to say that he’s already cashing in on that performance considering that the Seattle Kraken has seen him play in junior for their counterpart in the Seattle Thunderbirds, and have invited him to an amateur tryout.
What does his scouting report say?
He doesn’t come out to aggressively challenge in order to take away space, but rather uses his speed and impressive footwork control to constantly keep up with where the play seems to be headed; he doesn’t necessarily make the flashiest saves, but he also prevents himself from needing to recover by staying on the more conservative side with his depth overall.
From this, it would seem that perhaps because he doesn’t have the typical goalie size or a typical goalie style that may be why NHL teams have stayed away from him.