A growing trend in the NHL seems to be goaltenders being signed and selected that are just as big, if not bigger, than the defensemen who play in front of them.
For the Flyers, all you would need to do is look at the vitals.
Enter Cal Heeter, the former Ohio State University netminder that the club signed to a two-year contract on March 6.
Heeter, 6'4'' and 195-pounds, enters first his pro season of hockey with the Flyers after developing for a full four years with the Buckeyes.
“He shined [at OSU],” said Flyers’ scout and former goaltender Neil Little. “He’s a talented young guy. He’s a big kid and he moves very well. He moves like a six-footer and he’s 6-4, so he’s very athletic.”
While at Ohio State, Heeter recorded a 39-36-11 mark, 2.58 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 94 games playing for the Buckeyes in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
Throughout his OSU career, Heeter was voted team MVP as a junior and was named CCHA Goalie of the Week three times, and a national player of the week honoree, which also includes many academic honors - a three-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten.
In his senior year at OSU, Heeter posted a 13-11-5 record with a 2.45 GAA and .918 save percentage, which was highlighted by an eight-game winning streak from Oct. 28 through Dec. 3.
It’s streaks like that, which prompted Little to go and watch Heeter a number of times this past season.
Added Little: “I think he’s a tremendous prospect, so I think we’re all looking forward to seeing how he’ll do in the pro game.”
There are a number of issues for any player when jumping from a lighter schedule of games in college, but especially with goaltenders, who would typically play a few lesser games than making every single start.
However, that isn't too much of a concern for Little.
“I think there’s always an adjustment period for anybody, but I think Cal has the talent that it shouldn’t be too much of a factor; he’ll find his groove early and he’ll impress us.”
Heeter is one of four goaltenders who will participate in the team’s annual mid-summer prospect camp next week where fans can get an up close look of his size and skill between the pipes.