When Adin Hill was preparing for San Jose Sharks training camp before the 2022-23 season, he knew one goalie had to be the odd man out.
The Sharks were carrying three veteran goalies, James Reimer, Kaapo Kahkonen, and himself.
“I didn’t know who was out, who was going to stay, or anything like that,” Hill told San Jose Hockey Now in October, of the waiting before he got traded to the Vegas Golden Knights for a 2024 fourth-round pick last summer. “When I got the call, I was definitely surprised. But we knew one guy wasn’t coming to camp, so it was kinda expected.
“But it worked out well.”
That’s an understatement!
After Robin Lehner, Logan Thompson, and Laurent Brossoit all suffered injuries, the 27-year-old netminder stepped up to help lead the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup.
And he was a huge reason why they won it.
Hill went 11-4 with a .932 save percentage and a 2.17 goals-against average in the playoffs, 4-1 with a .923 SV% and a 2.36 GAA in the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers.
It was a huge step up from the 10-11-1 record with .906/2.66 splits he put up in his lone year in San Jose in 2021-22.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a little bit sharper, a little bit better,” Hill said of how he’s improved since his brief stint with the Sharks.
“Obviously, we have a good defense core in Vegas. It’s the best D-core I’ve played behind and I enjoy playing in Vegas.”
For his efforts, the Golden Knights inked him to a two-year, $9.8 million extension over the summer.
Hill has continued to build off of that momentum this year, starting the season with a 6-1-0 record with a .934 SV% and a 1.97 GAA.
Part of his surge to stardom has been due to a reunion with Vegas director of goaltending Sean Burke.
The 18-year NHL veteran scouted Hill as an assistant general manager and coached him with the Arizona Coyotes from 2015 to 2017.
Hill also played on a team with Burke’s son growing up.
Burke was someone Hill felt comfortable with and knew could help improve his game.
“I think me and Burkie understand, when I’m playing at my best, what makes me successful, and the little keys to my game that I have to stick to,” Hill said.
“Whether it’s just staying a little deeper, keeping my stance a little more narrow, or being more patient on it, I feel like we all agree on what my best game looks like. So it’s easy to build from there when you both agree with each other. It’s a good relationship.”
Hill will get the start in net for Vegas tonight against the Sharks. It’s his first time facing them as a Stanley Cup champ. Earlier this season, Logan Thompson got the call in a 4-1 Golden Knights’ victory over the Sharks on Oct. 12.
But Hill doesn’t seem to bear any ill will towards the team that traded him.
In fact, Hill still participates in the San Jose Sharks locker room’s fantasy football league.
He had the best record in the regular season last year before losing in the playoffs.
Admittedly, he had the last laugh by winning the other playoffs in June.
This year, though, he was in last place, at least in October, because he had to auto draft his team.
”I was building a house back home,” Hill, who calls Calgary home, said in his own defense.
And it looks like Hill has also found a home in Vegas!
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