New Sharks goaltender Adin Hill will be competing with Martin Jones for ice time next season, but the 25-year-old told reporters Saturday that he has looked up to the veteran netminder for a long time.
"Obviously you guys have Jones there who I think is a great goalie and I've looked up to him for years, he used to play for the Calgary Hitmen when I grew up in Calgary," Hill said when asked about competing for the starting goalie job. "So yeah, no it's cool and I'm ready to embrace the opportunity if it's given to me to be a starter and push for that job."
Hill was traded to San Jose on Saturday along with a 2022 seventh-round draft pick in exchange for young Sharks netminder Josef Korenar and a 2022 second-round draft pick.
Jones played four seasons for the Calgary Hitmen between 2006 and 2010, breaking a team record and leading the Western Hockey League with 45 wins in his first full season as a starter.
Hill had 19 appearances, including 17 starts, for the Arizona Coyotes last season, posting a .913 save percentage and allowing 2.74 goals per game.
At just 25, Hill had two older veteran goalies he was fighting with for time in the net in Arizona. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson noted in a statement announcing the trade that Hill's combination of youth and experience was a primary factor in San Jose.
"Adin is an extremely competitive and athletic goaltender and he has played a significant amount of professional hockey games despite being only 25 years old," said Wilson. "We have been impressed with the trajectory of his play, particularly his ability to make saves in high-danger scoring opportunities. We look forward to having him in San Jose and being part of our goaltending unit."
Jones has been in goal for the Sharks since 2015-16, starting 325 games in a San Jose uniform over his NHL career.
For the past three seasons, Jones has failed to eclipse a .900 save percentage. The Sharks' combined save percentage during the 2021 season was .891, tied for the NHL's second-worst mark with the New Jersey Devils.
Goaltender was a top priority for the Sharks this offseason, and size (6-foot-6) combined with his age makes Hill a great addition to the San Jose roster.
Hill might have grown up watching Jones, but he'll now potentially be competing with the veteran for the Sharks' primary netminder spot.
Wilson has emphasized the need for a roster "reset" over a rebuild, and that reset could extend to the Sharks' goal before next season begins.