2012 Minnesota Wild Prospects: #6 - Matt Hackett

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 Matt Hackett
Goaltender, 6'2" 173 Pounds
Houston Aeros (AHL) 20-17-6 .917 SV/2.38 GAA (44 Games/Minnesota Wild (NHL) 3-6-0 .922 SV/2.38 GAA (12 Games)

Not since Josh Harding has Minnesota had a so-called "goaltender of the future", and for now Matt Hackett is certainly filling that role. Taken in the third round of the 2009 Entry Draft as a 19 year old, he's taken over as the guy in Houston, and even set a record when he made his NHL debut last Fall.
He was called up when Niklas Backstrom injured his groin (the injury du jour for those in a Minnesota Wild sweater), and was the backup, until Josh Harding got steamrolled and injured his head. So like its no big deal, Hackett steps in and promptly shuts out the San Jose Sharks for the rest of that game...and well into the next game against Phoenix. The shutout streak of 102 minutes and 48 seconds is the longest to start a career- and did nothing but raise expectations.

He appeared in 10 more games during the season, some in mop up duty, and some starting in front of what would resemble a beer league team towards season's end, but still posted some respectable numbers despite the cast of thousands playing in front of him. He was returned to Houston, where he led the Aeros to the playoffs for the second straight year, although they couldn't recapture the magic of the Calder Cup run the season before, in which Hackett was the main cog in that run.

With Niklas Backstrom in the last year of his (spendy) deal, it is a pretty good bet that we'll see Matt Hackett not only find a spot on the main roster, but challenge Josh Harding for the starting role. But with the in-house competition behind him in Darcy Kuemper and Johan Gustafsson, Hackett will have to earn every inch.

Previous 2012 Minnesota Wild Top 20 Articles:
#7 - Brett Bulmer
#8 - Jason Zucker
#9 - Zack Phillips
#10 - Mario Lucia
#11 - Johan Gustafsson
#12 - Darcy Kuemper
#13 - Erik Haula
#14 - Daniel Gunnarsson
#15 - Raphael Bussieres
#16 - Kris Foucault
#17 - Nick Seeler
#18 - Tyler Cuma
#19 - Chay Genoway
#20 - Tyler Graovac
Honorable Mentions
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