Flyers have a confident goalie prospect in Heeter

A two-year starter at Ohio State, goalie Cal Heeter finished third in Buckeyes history in save percentage (.915) and goals-against average (2.58).
A two-year starter at Ohio State, goalie Cal Heeter finished third in Buckeyes history in save percentage (.915) and goals-against average (2.58). (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 14, 2012

Flyers goalie coach Jeff Reese saw something special in Cal Heeter when they met in March. Heeter was in town after his career at Ohio State ended, signing a two-year contract with the Flyers.

Reese, who doesn't deal much with goalies until they are signed, talked with Heeter to get to know him.

He walked away impressed.

"He's got a sense of arrogance - a good arrogance, a confidence you need to play this position," Reese said. "This position, like everything else, is so much a mental game. He has that confidence that he can do it. You need that."

At 23, Heeter is one of the oldest players at the 43-player Flyers prospects camp at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. Though it's likely that none of these players will open the season with the Flyers, some of them will have a good chance to begin the season in the AHL with the Adirondack Phantoms.

Nine players at the camp spent time with the Phantoms last season. Heeter is expected to follow that path.

"I'm going to battle it out in training camp and take it from there," he said. "If I don't make the AHL, I don't want to say it would be a disappointment, but it's not what I'm looking for."

The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Heeter started two seasons for the Buckeyes, finishing third in program history in save percentage (.915) and goals-against average (2.58).

Heeter considers himself a hybrid goalie who leans more to the butterfly style and uses his size, which allows him to stay in close to the net.

Before coming here for camp, he was working out with former Ohio State teammates on campus in Columbus. The lease to his apartment ends this month, and he will be training here with strength coach Jim McCrossin until camp begins.

"It's exciting," Heeter said. "Everyone here demands hard work, and that's what I'm going to give. It's just about getting ready for camp now."

Heeter and Reese spent an hour and a half working together Tuesday and went through more drills Thursday.

The goalie will be able to show his skills more during scrimmages over the weekend.

"He's big, strong, and athletic," Reese said. "He's fun to work with. But he's going to have to prove himself in games and take advantage of starts. Wherever he goes, he'll have to impress the coaches to move up."

Of course, Heeter would love to complete his dream of playing in the NHL sooner rather than later, but he understands that it will take time and a commitment to improvement.

He is using the next two months to do that.

"It's the middle of July," said Ian Laperriere, the Flyers' director of player development. "Nobody is going to win or lose a job here. This is about getting better."

Games in July

The squad will continue its format of practice and drills from 9 a.m. to noon Friday before scrimmaging Saturday and Sunday.

The original schedule included Saturday as a day of drills, but it was amended to allow more time to see the players in game situations.

"Let's be honest," Laperriere said. "We want to see them play games."


Contact Chad Graff at cgraff@philly.com or follow

on Twitter @ChadGraff.

 

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