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They were once a couple of 18-year-old goaltenders waiting to get drafted into the National Hockey League. Calvin Pickard, the Seattle Thunderbirds goaltender, was ranked #1 by Central Scouting rankings among North American goalies. Petr Mrazek was a goalie playing in the Czech Extraliga. In fact, he was not even ranked among the top ten European goaltenders. But that didn’t stop Ken Holland from taking a flier on him in the fourth round. The Avs had already taken Pickard in the second round.
Pickard was coming off a successful first year in the Western Hockey League while Mrazek landed a gig with the Ottawa 67’s the following season. He took off instantly after making the transition to North American ice and he’s only gotten better since. Both of these young goalies have taken different routes to get to where they are tonight. But they both began their professional hockey journey from the same draft floor at the Staples Center.
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