Weight: 218 pounds
Date of birth: January 11, 2001
Hometown: Knoxville, TN
OHL Draft: Round 2, 31st overall, 2017 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season: B, November: C, Mid-term: 15 North American goalies
Owen Sound Attack and Knoxville Tennessee native Mack Guzda is a product of the Honeybaked Under-16 program where he played during the 2016-2017 season prior to the Attack selecting him in the middle of the second round at the 2017 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. Guzda has both American and Canadian citizenship and he attended Canada’s Under-17 development camp last season. Guzda is the cousin of former NHL’er Jeff Woywitka.
Guzda appeared in 30 games for the attack last season and posted a goals-against-average of 3.20 and a save-percentage of .879. Coming into this season he was widely considered the top goaltending prospect from the OHL eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver, British Columbia.
But it’s been a disappointing season of sorts for Guzda. As we enter the final week of the OHL season, Guzda has appeared in 46 games for the Attack posting a 3.59 goals-against-average and a save-percentage of .879. For a brief time, he lost the crease to fellow draft eligible netminder Andrew MacLean.
When breaking down Guzda’s save percentage by zone, it paints a better picture. With shots from the high danger zone area he has a save-percentage of .800. From the mid danger zone area however, it drops to .779. And from the low danger zones it sits at where he should be with a .909 save-percentage.
First and foremost, Guzda has the physical attributes that NHL scouts are enamored with when it comes to netminders. He stands 6’5” tall and at 218 pounds, he takes up a lot of net. Despite the size, he is incredibly athletic. He uses that size to his advantage to see over players and track pucks. However, he sometimes loses pucks in his feet and I believe it’s just a matter of continuing to learn to play with his size.
I wouldn’t call Guzda a pure butterfly netminder but more of a hybrid. His size and athleticism allow him to use whatever it takes to stop pucks. He gets to the top of the paint quickly and with ease and squares up to shooters. He has shown that he is capable of excellent rebound control, but at times he can stumble with control and give up second chance opportunities.
Giving up bad goals is sort of a two-faced sword. He has shown he can rebound from shots he’d like to have over again. Then other times he seems to get rattled by them.
I would say the biggest negative impact with Guzda has been the inability to find consistency. Good coaching can solve the issues he’s facing. But the Attack have a very good goaltending coach in Greg Redquest who has worked with the likes of Jordan Binnington and Michael McNiven in Owen Sound. It may be an issue where Guzda was thrown to the wolves too early and didn’t have the luxury of watching and learning from the beginning of his OHL career.
Whatever the case may be, I believe Guzda has the tools and the willingness. He’ll just have to find consistency and fine tune some aspects of his game.