NHL Youth Movement Finally Include Goalies?
Like everything else about the position, there are few absolutes and no one definitively correct answer for when a goaltender will be ready for the NHL, but at least it appears like more teams are allowing for the possibility it could come sooner rather than later.
More teams have been willing to buck the “goalies take longer” stereotype over the past two seasons, allowing several young goaltenders the chance to have a more immediate impact the same way skilled young forwards and defensemen have already been doing for years.
Given the way the increased use of those young forwards and defenders have changed how the game is being played, it makes even more sense to give younger goalies a shot. Because while a lot of NHL veteran talked about adjusting their mindset and tactics to a more open, offensive style of play and increased goal scoring, many of the younger goalies are used to it.
They’ve grown up with lateral attacks, deceptive releases and even lacrosse goals.
“I feel like the offensive systems and the way they’re pushing offense and shooting for goals and all that, moving forward, trying to create more offense, I think that’s definitely been something we’ve grown up with, or at least I feel like I’ve grown up with,” said Mackenzie Blackwood, the 23-year-old rookie who made his New Jersey Devils debut Dec. 18 last season, just nine days after celebrating his 22nd birthday, and has already played 70 NHL games.
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