The name I have for you today to keep an eye out for is Daniel Hauser. An 18-year-old who is currently the starting goaltender for the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Winnipeg Ice. Now, if I know anything, I would say I know how to spot a good goaltender in the making, seeing that I’ve played the position myself for close to 35 years and have spent some time helping coach the next generation of the guardians of the blue paint as well. So, believe me when I tell you this. Over the past couple of seasons, I strongly believe that Hauser has been vastly overshadowed by some of his other teammate’s success, such as Connor McClennon, Matthew Savoie, Connor Geekie, Zach Benson, and Carson Lambos, to name a few, and therefore has not yet been given the credit he thus deserves.
That’s all about to change because while his teammates’ accolades over the last couple of seasons may have assured that they were selected in the NHL Draft. Daniel has been posting up some pretty impressive stats of his own. So much so that I would dare say without him in between the pipes the last couple of seasons, I don’t think the Ice would be considered the elite-level prospect factory they are today.
Disagree? Well, in this season alone, Daniel is currently leading the league in wins with a perfect 14-0-0 record. On top of that, Hauser’s play this season has him ranked within the top ten in both goals-against-average (GAA) and save percentage (SV%), with Daniel allowing an average of just 2.42 goals per game and him managing to stop .915% of the shots that have come his way.
Thinking his success this season is a fluke? Well, sorry to disappoint you, but Hauser was also an absolute workhorse for the Ice last season. Playing in an impressive 40 games, he maintained a record of 34-3-1 during the regular season, with eight of those wins coming by way of a shutout. To add to that incredible league-leading win total, he also finished the season atop all other netminders in goals-against-average by averaging just 2.00 GAA that year, which he paired with a .914SV%. This means that at just 5’11 and 17 years old last season Hauser was able to best the highly touted 6’6 19-year-old goaltender, Sebastian Cossa (who also played in the WHL last season) in every statistical category there is for goaltenders, and that’s saying a lot considering the Detroit Red Wings took Sebastian in the 1st round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
What is equally, if not more impressive, is that Daniel has been able to maintain these numbers over this season and last, even though he commonly has to go up against conference rival, and the consensus’s pick to be the number one overall selection this summer Connor Bedard. Who this season alone is averaging well over two points a game.
How does this youngster that doesn’t quite fit into the NHL’s stereotypical goalie mold of 6’3 and 225 pounds manage to win all these games? Well, it starts with Daniel always maintaining the proper position to ensure his angles to the shooter are sharp so that he gives the opposition as little of net to shoot at as possible. Also, Hauser excels at moving post to post, which is helpful considering when Daniel is in the butterfly, he is unable to cover the entire goal mouth like most larger goalies manage to do with ease. To counteract that, Hauser has learned the art of movement. He did so by learning to utilize the butterfly slide and or push to his advantage. Daniel does this so seamlessly that although to the untrained eye, it may appear as though it is effortless. I assure you that every other goalie (myself included) who has spent countless hours on the ice working on trying to master this technique would disagree.
So, in closing, while it is true Hauser does play for an excellent Winnipeg Ice team, perhaps after reading this article, you won’t be so quick to give his teammates playing in front of him ALL the credit. Hopefully, I’ve opened your eyes to why Daniel should at least be considered a contributing factor to his clubs’ accomplishments over the last few seasons. I mean, it’s no coincidence that during the combined 62 regular season games he’s played for the Ice over the last three seasons, Hauser and his team have only managed to be defeated just three times in regulation!