It’s not everyday a team is willing to trade away their captain but when you’re getting a goaltender with a ton of upside, it’s a little easier to pull the trigger. That’s exactly what the Buffalo Sabres received when they traded Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild for Matt Hackett (and others). With the Sabres on the verge of losing Ryan Miller, Hackett is coming at the perfect time.
The goaltender was drafted in the 2009 NHL Draft by the Wild with the 77th overall pick and made the jump to the AHL playing for the
Houston Aeros. While he began the season as the backup, the 20 year-old quickly found himself winning the crease battle and helped lead the team to the Calder Cup Finals. Hackett played in 45 games going 23-20 with 2 shutouts and a 2.37 GAA and .916 save percentage as the Aeros finished second in their division. He also started all 24 playoff games finishing 14-10 with a 2.50 GAA and .903 save percentage.
Hackett split the 2011-2012 season between the Wild and the Aeros. He played in 12 games with the Wild but won just three, he fared much better in the AHL playing in 44 games winning 20 games. Jump to last season, he played 3 games with the Rochester Americans after the trade and won all 3 games finishing with a .955 Save Percentage.
Matt Hackett has all the tools to become a solid, if not promising, NHL starter. At 23 he’s one of the older goaltending prospects and could duel it out with Jhonas Enroth for the rights to the Sabres crease once Miller is gone. While the Sabres have an abundance of goaltenders in the pipeline, the one advantage Hackett has is his NHL experience. Sure it’s just 13 games but at least the kid has had playing time against NHL level competition.
Hackett was signed to a one-year contract by the Sabres which is his shot to prove himself. With training camp just days away, he’ll get a chance to show the organization what he can do and will hopefully earn some pre-season starts. But with Miller likely starting the season in Buffalo, Hackett will have to settle for the Amerks to start off the season. The good news for the Sabres is the fact Hackett is ready to make that jump to the NHL and further learn his craft behind Enroth.
The Sabres have a ton of top-notch prospects who are almost ready to make their mark and Matt Hackett is at the top of that list. Hackett has the size and the tools to become a solid number-one goaltender, and a Enroth/Hackett tandem doesn’t sound too bad. Look for Hackett to be the in the Sabres crease in the near future as he’s just a trade or injury away from joining the blue and gold. The future between the pipes looks very bright with Matt Hackett.