It appears that the Arizona Coyotes have finally found their starting goalie.
So far this season, Adin Hill has been outstanding. In 6 games played, he currently owns a 1.09 goals against average (GAA) and a .957 save percentage (SV%). In addition, he has a .750 quality start percentage (QS%) and zero really bad starts (RBS). Plus, he has a shut-out under his belt. On November 29th against the Nashville Predators, Hill was un-stoppable. He posted 29 saves and was able to shut down one of the best teams in the National Hockey League.
With Hill performing as well as he has at the NHL level, it is shocking to see that his performance in the AHL with the Tucson Roadrunners this season wasn’t great. He had played in six games with the Roadrunners and registered a 3.22 GAA and a .871 SV%. While it was a rough start to the season, his 2017-2018 numbers in the AHL were very stellar. In 36 games played, he posted a 2.28 GAA and a .914 SV%. So it is odd to think that Hill would struggle this season at the AHL level and then suddenly find gold in the NHL. Yet, stranger things have happened.
While I’m not positive if Hill has competed in some marathons or long distance road races, I’d like to give him the nickname, “Heartbreak Hill”. He’s not going to break the hearts of Arizona Coyotes fans, but he’s going to break the heart of his competition. As we’ve seen in the past few games, it’s incredibly difficult to beat Hill.
In a brief Twitter search, I’ve found some great video footage of Hill defending the pipes. In the first video, you can see Ryan Johansen of the Nashville Predators attempt to deke out Hill and put the puck behind him. Unfortunately for Johansen, he had no chance of grabbing a goal. At least not with Hill in net. At the last possible second, Hill figured out what Johansen was attempting to do and pushed his right pad to stop the puck from entering the crease.
In the next video, you can see David Perron of the St. Louis Blues skate with the puck up to Hill. Perron then delivers a wrist shot as he sees Hill down on the ice. However, Perron doesn’t know that Hill is capable of making a spectacular save while down on the ice. Hill lifts up his glove and the puck ends up ricocheting off of the glove. Another outstanding save.
Calm and Cool
In the last video, Jakub Vrana of the Washington Capitals takes on Hill in a penalty shot in the third period of last night’s game between the Capitals and the Arizona Coyotes. You would normally expect a rookie goaltender to be a tad nervous in a penalty shot situation, especially in which he takes on top six forward with a tremendous amount of upside. Yet, Hill isn’t nervous at all. To quote the Arizona Coyotes twitter handle, “Adin Hill. Cool as a cucumber”. He was calm and was able to read Vrana very well. Vrana tried to fake Hill out. He wanted Hill to think that he was going to try to shoot five-hole. Instead, at the last second, Vrana carried the puck to Hill’s left-side and then slip the puck past the 6’6″ goalie and into the net. Unfortunately for Vrana and the Capitals, the strategy didn’t work and Hill came out looking like a beast.
Cool as a cucumber. pic.twitter.com/lsfTuxS9hv
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 7, 2018
With Hill performing well, it’s hard to fathom that Arizona Coyotes head coach, Rick Tocchet will remove him from the pipes when Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper return from injury. Hill’s been outstanding and if he can keep at this current pace, he could potentially be one of the best goaltenders in the NHL this season.
stats from hockey-reference.com and eliteprospects.com
featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler