It isn’t every day that an All-American goaltender comes your way. But, for the Wisconsin Badgers hockey program it was an opportunity too good to pass up.
On Friday, it was announced that second-team All-American netminder Kyle Hayton would transfer from St. Lawrence to the Wisconsin Badgers as a graduate transfer for the 2017-18 season.
Some would consider it an interesting move given the fact that UW returns two goaltenders who traded starts last season. However, the Badgers best goaltender was freshman Jack Berry, who was 36th in the country with a 2.66 goals against average and had just an 11-8-1 record between the pipes.
According to the story by Andy Baggot on UWBadgers.com, Hayton would rank in the top-five on the all-time UW list for career save percentage (.934, first), shutouts (13, second), wins (60, fourth) and saves (3,079, fifth).
It’s a no-brainer to add that kind of talent, even if Berry was coming in to his own. More depth for a defense that struggled to keep teams out of the net is a good thing.
Hayton appears to come in as the easy option as the No. 1 goaltender, and head coach Tony Granato noted that this move was easier than recruiting another young goaltender.
“It’s not like you’re recruiting a kid that you don’t know how he’s going to adjust to college hockey,” Granato said, adding that Hayton, one of 10 Mike Richter Award semifinalists last season, will have “a big impact on our team.”
While Hayton’s name isn’t as famous as that of another graduate transfer to UW…someone named Russell Wilson…it is hard not to recognize the same kind of potential impact on his new team.
The pressure may be on, but Hayton is embracing the challenge and the comparisons to Wilson with a bit of fun in the mix.
“Big shoes to fill,” Hayton said with a knowing smile, according to Baggot’s article.
If he can provide Wilson-like results for Badgers hockey in 2017-18 it may tell of a return to the NCAA tournament and national attention for the program once again.