WINNIPEG -- Logan Neaton isn't intentionally trying to follow in the footsteps of Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck, that's just how things have played out thus far.
The 20-year-old, who was selected by the Jets in the fifth round (No. 144) of the 2019 NHL Draft, does have a few things in common with Winnipeg's starter.
Each was a fifth-round selection by the Jets; Hellebuyck was selected with No. 130 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. Each is from Michigan (Neaton from Brighton, Hellebuyck from Commerce), and the two train together during the offseason.
Neaton will play for the University of Massachusetts Lowell, the same NCAA Division I program where Hellebuyck set school records for goals-against average (1.60), save percentage (.946) and shutouts (12).
"He's a phenomenal goalie, but I wouldn't say we necessarily play similar," Neaton said during Jets development camp in June. "But when there's a goalie of that caliber out there, you want to kind emulate what he does and take away things from his game to make yourself better."
Video: DEV CAMP | Logan Neaton
Neaton has been paying attention to Hellebuyck since he met him.
"Honestly, just how he carries himself, how to be a pro, what time he gets to the rink, how he prepares, how he thinks the game," Neaton said. "I think, about Connor, a lot of people underestimate his efficiency, his patience and how he reads the game. For any goalie, if you can do those three things you're going to be successful. He's an extremely intelligent goalie, just how he reads plays, how he watches plays develop. He does a great job of understanding what's going to happen before it happens."
Neaton played for Prince George of the British Columbia Hockey League last season and was 32-8-5 with a 1.92 GAA and .914 save percentage to help it win the Doyle Cup as league champions.
When Winnipeg selected him, he became the second member in his family to hear his name called in the NHL Draft; his father, Pat, a defenseman, was chosen by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the seventh round (No. 145) in the 1990 NHL Draft and played nine games with them before playing eight seasons in the International Hockey League.
After a week at development camp, Neaton (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) said he knows his most important task will be keeping up with his body so he can have a longer career in the NHL.
"It's still growing, so we will see where I end up," he said. "That's kind of the main challenge with that is when I level off, I can put on weight again and fill out. Then I'll shoot back up and fill out again. I still have a lot of growth to do … and a lot more developing physically just to be able to play at the next level."
Photo courtesy of Winnipeg Jets
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