Updated August 30, 2022 - 8:32 pm
Adin Hill headed to a golf course in Calgary intent on playing nine holes Monday. He only got through eight.
The 26-year-old goaltender was almost done with his round when he got the phone call telling him he was traded from the San Jose Sharks to the Golden Knights for a 2024 fourth-round pick. Hill managed to send a 35-foot putt about two inches from the cup before walking off the course to tell his family what happened.
Hill was upbeat when discussing the move Tuesday. He will provide goaltending depth and competition for rookie Logan Thompson, whom he said he’s known since he was 10.
“I was surprised, but I’m happy,” Hill said. “I’m excited to join this team and make a run at the playoffs.”
Hill is jumping from one crowded goaltending room to another.
He became expendable in San Jose, which added goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen at the trade deadline to pair with veteran James Reimer. The arrangement worked through the end of the season because Hill made only one appearance after Jan. 22 because of a lower-body injury that he said has healed.
Now, he’s part of a goaltending trio with Thompson and backup Laurent Brossoit. Finding playing time for the three could get tricky if all are healthy. But Brossoit is recovering from offseason hip surgery and might not be ready for the Oct. 11 opener. And he has never appeared in more than 24 NHL games in a season.
Thompson is promising, but coach Bruce Cassidy said the Knights don’t want to put too much on his plate too soon. The 25-year-old has played only 20 NHL games. Hill gives the team an extra safety net.
“I don’t think you can have enough solid goaltenders,” Cassidy said.
Hill became a target because of his 6-foot-6-inch frame and athletic ability, general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. The Knights also got a “little bit of insider information,” according to Cassidy, from goaltending coach/director of goaltending Sean Burke.
Hill played with Burke’s son Brendan with the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks. Burke also was an assistant general manager and goaltending coach in Arizona in 2014, the year before the Coyotes drafted Hill in the third round in 2015.
That familiarity and Cassidy’s “goaltender-friendly” system should put Hill in a position to succeed. He went 10-11-1 with a .906 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average last season in a career-high 25 games. He still will have to earn playing time in training camp by competing against someone he has known since childhood.
That hasn’t seemed to dampen Hill’s enthusiasm. He’s ready to compete after making the playoffs only once in his first five NHL seasons. He said he’s already come up with ideas for one of his goalie masks, and he plans to let his father and younger brother design another after they did so last season in San Jose.
— Adin Hill (@Adin_Hill) August 24, 2021
“I can only say that some of the best goalie competitions I’ve had is when you’re friends off the ice and you compete on the ice,” Hill said. “It makes it a lot more fun. And hopefully at the end of the day, you push each other to be better, and it results in team success.”
Adin Hill file
Birthplace: Comox, British Columbia
2021-22 stats: 25 games, 10-11-1 record, 2.66 goals-against average, .906 save percentage