What Adin Hill must improve

Adin Hill is seen as Bruce Cassidy's go-to goaltender when the pressure's on. How can he maximize his opportunity and make his head coach look smart?
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Seven
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Seven / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Sometimes, it's best to take the good times while they last. For Adin Hill, he was riding high in the first 120 games of his career. The goaltender was 59-41-8, with a save percentage of .914 and a GAA of 2.54. Granted, there were a few injuries here and there for everyone's superhero. However, that didn't faze him. Everything was good for the hero of last season's Stanley Cup run until February 12, 2024, struck.

It was a game against the Minnesota Wild, a team that won two straight entering the contest. Feelings were good for the Vegas Golden Knights, with the team sitting pretty in the playoff race. But a strange thing happened that evening, with the British Columbia native allowing two third-period goals in a 5-3 loss. That pair of goals were half of what he allowed throughout the game, kickstarting a downturn of massive proportions.

The end result was an inflation of Hill's stats after that fateful game. He allowed an average of 3.69 GAA and a save percentage of .876, with fans suddenly losing faith in his abilities. Was he worth the money he was being paid (two years, $9.8 million)? Had midnight struck for Cinderella? Fans began calling for Logan Thompson to start in his place, with the former Stanley Cup hero's reputation soured.

So let's fix the beloved goaltender and make him whole for one more year. Bruce Cassidy relies on him for the big moments, where he's shined brightest. His big save in game one of last season's Stanley Cup Finals proves this. How can the precious superstar recover and become a mainstay for the Golden Knights?

Adin Hill must use his size

Adin Hill is a big goaltender, standing at 6'6" and weighing 202 lbs. That's a great size for an NHL goalie, for he can take up more net without any issues. However, there are times when he lets in easy goals and doesn't use the entire net to his advantage. Take this goal against the Colorado Avalanche as a perfect example.

The first goal is in question here and it's a preventable goal. The only thing the British Columbia native must do is stick with the puck. That's it. There are no gimmicks or tricks associated. Instead, it's a soft goal that gets by Hill, putting the Avalanche up, 1-0.

This has been the case for the goalie periodically, letting in mind-numbing goals that hurt the Vegas Golden Knights. That goal was at the lower half as well, which isn't his strongest suit. Learning to use his lower half will help the 28-year-old become a better goaltender for Vegas.

Being consistent

Using his size also plays a part in being consistent, which has been an issue for Adin Hill. After that fateful game on February 12, the goaltender would have a periodic lapse. It was the game against Toronto on February 22 that was the problem, where he allowed three goals in 14:20 of total ice time.

It was also the game against the Edmonton Oilers on April 10, where he allowed four goals after the first period. Granted, the offensive side was no better, only scoring a short-handed goal from Keegan Kolesar. In fact, the scoring must also improve for Vegas to win the Stanley Cup again. However, it starts and ends with having consistent goaltending, something that has eluded Hill for the longest time.

The 28-year-old has the makings of being a good goaltender in the NHL. He's big and can be great at times. However, it's a matter of piecing everything together and learning how to use that size that will make a difference. If he can do this, the Golden Knights will be better off.