Abby Sweet / For the Lantern
Former Ohio State men’s ice hockey goalie Cal Heeter completed his first NHL camp last week, and the Philadelphia Flyers remain impressed with the former Buckeye.
Heeter competed in the Flyers’ Summer Development Camp last week, splitting time during scrimmages on Saturday and Sunday while helping Team Orange to victories in both contests. Heeter’s performance during the camp also resulted in praise from Chris Pryor, director of hockey operations for the Flyers.
Back in March around the time of Heeter’s signing, Pryor told The Lantern that he believed the player had great potential. Heeter began to deliver on that potential this past week at camp, which was attended mostly by young drafted players and unaffiliated invitees.
Heeter stood between the pipes during parts of Team Orange’s 7-2 win during the Saturday scrimmage and, in Sunday’s game, stopped two penalty shots in the final two minutes of his squad’s 6-5 victory, according to the Flyers’ website.
During a Tuesday interview with The Lantern, Pryor said Heeter’s performance both on and off the ice during the camp was “awesome.”
“He’s done everything he’s expected to. We’re very happy with him. He should be very happy with his performance,” Pryor said. “He’s getting acclimated to the professional side of things.”
A two-year starter in the net for the Buckeyes, Heeter is third in OSU history in save percentage (.915) and goals-against average (2.58), eighth in saves (2428) and ninth in wins (39).
Heeter said he too was happy with his performance, but also said he still has work to do before the September camp where players will fight for roster spots.
“Workouts were tough and skates were fun and it was definitely a good experience,” Heeter told The Lantern. “There was definitely a little rust. You’re not exactly in mid-season shape and ready to go as far as skating-wise, but I felt comfortable out there.
“It’s just a matter of making sure you’re ready for every shot that comes your way.”
The Flyers’ first preseason game will take place Sept. 20 at the Kettler Iceplex in Arlington, Va., against the Washington Capitals. Heeter said he’s anxious to get back into camp with his team, but a cautionary Pryor said that it’s too early for Heeter or anyone else to be worried about winning a spot on the Flyers’ roster.
Pryor declined to comment on whether he thought Heeter could win a spot on the Flyers roster or that of a minor league affiliate.
“It’s way too early, not just for Cal, but for a lot of guys,” Pryor said regarding roster decisions. “It’s their first camp within the organization.”
Heeter, who was signed to a two-year deal March 6, was not listed on the roster of any Flyers’ affiliate as of Wednesday evening. He said that isn’t necessarily cause to put additional pressure on himself, though.
“I know that I control my own future. If I work hard every day and give the best performance I can give, we’ll see where I end up,” Heeter said. “I wouldn’t say I’m too nervous, but I’m a bit anxious to get started and everything and see where I end up.”
For now, Pryor’s praise might have to suffice in aiding Heeter’s pre-camp anxieties.
“(Heeter) did all the right things. He’s going to get an opportunity as much as anybody else, and that’s all these guys can ask for,” Pryor said. “It’s up to the individual to take advantage of the opportunity and we’re confident that he’s going to do what he’s done in the past and take advantage.”