Ilya Bryzgalov has turned things around. However, there are other positions to fill with next season in mind, so the Flyers made a move by signing Ohio State goalie Cal Heeter to a two-year contract, reportedly worth $1.85 million.
The 23-year-old goaltender went 13-11-5 for the Buckeyes this season, with a 2.45 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. Next season he will be wearing Orange and Black — some purple, too, with the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms.
At 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, he’s a bit big to be a goalie, but so is his likely goaltending partner. Niko Hovinen is a 6-foot-7 Finnish prospect that is under contract and expected to report to the Phantoms next season.
“We got two big, young goalies who are both the same age,” Flyers director of hockey operations Chris Pryor said. “It should be a good situation for both of them.”
In his 94-game career at Ohio State, Heeter went 39-36-11. The Buckeyes were ousted from the CCHA tournament last weekend by Notre Dame.
“He’s a big athletic goalie and we’re excited to have him,” Pryor said. “Ross Fitzpatrick and Neil Little both saw him a lot this year and they really like him.”
Heeter probably won’t be the only college athlete the Flyers sign. Teams were allowed to start signing college players on March 1, but only if their seasons are over. For the Flyers, keep an eye on J.T. Brown, a winger for the University of Minnesota Duluth, who came to July’s prospect camp on his own dime.