We are right in the middle of the 2018 NHL Draft and the New Jersey Devils have made their first pick in the fifth round. The Devils selected goaltender Akira Schmid from the Langnau U20 of the Elite Jr. A with the 136th overall pick. The large goaltender from Switzerland has been a standout prospect on the Swiss junior circuit. Let’s get to know more about Akira Schmid.
Who Is Akira Schmid?
According to EliteProspects, Akira Schmid was born on May 12, 2000 in Nesslau, Switzerland. He is a 6’4, 165 lbs. goaltender playing for the Langnau junior team. Last season we can see that he made 32 regular season appearances for the U20 team and had a 2.60 GAA. He also had a brief loan stint to EHC Thun of the newly formed SRL where he put up a 2.21 GAA in 4 games. It also looks like he had an appearance for the SCL Tigers of the NLA in a relegation battle where he put up a .912 SV%. Internationally, he has been very active for Switzerland, playing for the U18 and U19 teams. In the U18 World Championship he had a .865 SV% in 2 games while also putting up an .882 SV% in 12 other games for the U18 team. In 3 games with the U19’s he put up a .894 SV%. I should note that he had a strong Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament which got him on the draft radar for teams with a 1.96 GAA and .930 SV% in 3 games.
What Others Say About Akira Schmid
At EliteProspects we can see he was ranked 150th by Hockey Prospect, 255th by Future Considerations, and as the 6th best European goaltender by NHL Central Scouting. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a lot of public information on Scmid out there so please bear with me as I try to track some down. Hockey journalist Steven Ellis had this tweet:
Cool to see Swiss goaltender Akira Schmid get the call for New Jersey. Fantastic Hlinka Memorial tourmament in 2018, played a lot of games for the U18 team this year and backed up at the WJC's.— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisNHL) June 23, 2018
New Jersey also has Swiss goalie Gilles Senn in the system. #NHLDraft
Swiss Hockey News had this after the Devils selected Schmid:
18-year-old Schmid was able to make his first appearance in a National League game in the placement round against EHC Kloten, posting a .912 save percentage. He mostly suited up for the team’s U20 team, though.
Schmid was also part of the Swiss U18 national team, posting a .867 save percentage at the World Championship. He also was named to the U20 national team but did not get to play in this year’s tournament.
Here are some game highlights from YouTube:
My Initial Reaction of the Pick
I have to say I find this pick a bit underwhelming but at this point in the draft, I can’t complain too much as it’s like throwing darts at a board. Schmid has a nice frame that he should grow into which is a plus. Based on what I’ve read from various draft guides it seems that his athleticism hasn’t caught up to his size just yet. This causes him to lack lateral mobility in the crease which is certainly going to be an area of his game he needs to work on. It does seem like he understands his angles and how to use his large frame to make life difficult on shooters. It looks like he’s still under contract in Switzerland through the 2019-2020 season. Hopefully he can crack a NLA roster soon and develop at the professional level like fellow Devils goaltending prospect Gilles Senn has in that league. The Devils will have to be patient but their is definitely some upside there.
Now that you’ve read my initial reaction and know a bit about the prospect, let me know what you think of the selection in the comments. Do you agree or disagree with the pick? What are your expectations for this player going forward? Also, please vote in the poll below to let us know how you feel about the pick. Thank you for reading!
Note: This post is still in development until this note is removed. Thank you.
The Devils drafted Akira Schmid 136th overall! What do you think about the pick?
This poll is closed
I love it!
I like it!
I’m somewhere in the middle/not sure!
I don’t like it!
I hate it!