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The Next Wave

The Next Wave: Hackett, Irving, Bachmann had January to remember

Friday, 02.03.2012 / 10:03 AM / The Next Wave

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Matt Hackett
Goalie - MIN
RECORD: 2-0-0
GAA: 0.85 | SVP: 0.977
Across the National Hockey League, elite goalie prospects are flooding team depth charts with an abundance of talent.

This is due in part to the natural evolution of the position, but it's also due to more NHL teams investing more resources than ever before into full-time goalie coaching staffs. In fact, more than a third of NHL clubs now employ assistant goalie coaches (Chris Osgood assisting Jim Bedard in Detroit is one example) to aid in the development of their organization's minor-league and junior prospects.

With the importance of goaltending growing by the day and depth in the goaltending ranks becoming a key analytic in the health of a franchise, NHL.com introduces a new monthly feature, The Next Wave, which will present the goods on the goalies poised to be difference makers in the near future. We'll include some style analysis, plus provide updates on prospects that earned NHL exposure during the past month.
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What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp