Following up on the Brock McGinn pick, the Hurricanes decided to think a little more outside the box with their 3rd round selection as they drafted goalie Daniel Altshuller from the Oshawa Generals with the 69th overall pick. I’m generally against drafting goalies early because of how volatile the position is and how difficult they are to project but the Hurricanes needed one. Mike Murphy is heading to the KHL next year, Frederik Anderssen left the organization, Justin Peters is a UFA and almost too old to be considered a prospect and John Muse was in the ECHL for most of last season. Goalies in this organization don’t have much leverage with Cam Ward being under contract for so long, but adding another one right now is not a bad decision.
So, what is the outlook for Altshuller? Well, his stats in junior don’t look particular impressive (11-16-3, .900 Sv%, 3.55 GAA) but I usually don’t judge junior hockey goalies by their basic stats. The OHL is a very high-scoring league and a lot of younger goalies tend to have mediocre save percentages and goals against averages. Case and point, Altshuller had the highest GAA among rookie goaltenders in the OHL last season. He could build off this performance next year and turn into something special or he could not improve at all, because you never really know what you’re going to get with young goalie prospects. Either way, he’s a few years away from the pros since he hasn’t even turned 18 yet and technically wasn’t Oshawa’s starter next year. We’ll have a better idea of what the Hurricanes have with him in a couple years but for now, let’s take a look at some opinions from those who actually got to see him play.
Daniel Altshuller joined the Oshawa Generals after a trade with the Belleville Bulls in 2011 and he showed several times throughout the year that he is capable of being a #1 goaltender. He had proved himself in the Central Tier 1 Hockey League, at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. The Generals split the goaltending duties in 2011-12 between him and veteran incumbent starter Kevin Bailie but, whenever Altshuller started, he was solid and played extremely well. Altshuller’s technique was different of that of Bailie since the Nepean native was more active in the crease, especially in playing the puck. Altshuller won his first OHL start and he had a five-game winning streak during the middle of the season. When Bailie had an injury in February, Altshuller secured the #1 job for the month. He had a record of 11-16-3 in 20 games, registering a decision in every game he started. His 3.55 goals-against average won him the F.W. “Dinty” Moore Trophy for the OHL’s best rookie GAA; he also had a rather solid .900% save percentage.
Bill Placzek from Draft Site
Developing prospect who is a rookie in the OHL, after leading team Ontario to victory in last year’s U-17 challenge and Team Canada to gold in the summer’s Ivan Hlinka tourney. He displays excellent lateral quickness and decision-making skills that he has coupled with his strong athleticism.
It sounds like Altshuller is a very good goalie by the eye-test and should be the starter in Oshawa next month. He’s got a pretty impressive frame at 6’3″ so he must take up a lot of the net and the scouting reports say that he likes to challenge shooters a lot. Another things scouting reports say is that he likes to play the puck a lot but there is no mention about how good he is at playing the puck. I haven’t got a chance to see him play so I’m a little iffy to make player comparisons, but the scouting reports make it sounds like he is a Mike Smith type of goaltender. Very active in the crease, plays the puck often and is somewhat of a high-risk goaltender. Goalies who play this style are either lights out or terrible, so hopefully for the Hurricanes he is more of the former.
The Prospect Blog also ranked him as the third best goaltending prospect from the OHL in this draft. Granted, that was out of only four players but he does have a promising outlook going by scouting reports. I’m not sure if I would have spent a third round pick on him but I’m fine with the Hurricanes taking a goalie in this draft since they need another one in their system. How Altshuller turns out is anyone’s guess, though.