Hello, eh: Zach Nagelvoort Comment Count

Brian April 11th, 2013 at 2:00 PM


At center. The one in the goalie pads. Obviously.

Michigan hockey had been scouting around for a goalie ever since… well… for a while, anyway. They have acquired him: Zach Nagelvoort, a '94—ie, about a year older than a kid straight out of high school—currently playing in the NAHL for the Aberdeen Wings.

Nagelvoort was traded midseason at his request after he found himself behind former Lake State commit Tyler Marble and his .940. Good call, dude. Nagelvoort tore it up after the trade, going 8-1-1 down the stretch and winning the league's goalie of the month award. His stats during that run were pretty good: a .957 save percentage and GAA of 1.42 for  one of the worst teams in the league. As a team, Aberdeen's save percentage .908 even with his contributions. He wasn't bad with his previous team, either, as his cumulative save percentage is .936.

Coach quote:

Aberdeen head coach Travis Winter said the Nagelvoort came in wanting to succeed and wanting to help turn things around.  “Zach came in and immediately injected the team with confidence.  He is a very confident goaltender and person and it rubbed off on the rest of the team.  We know we have a chance to win every night when he is in goal and during the last two months of the season, that was the mindset in every game and one of the reasons the team played so well.”  Winter also said that Nagelvoort’s strengths in goal lies within his athleticism.  “Zach is a very athletic goalie, who doesn’t give up on plays and he is very quick from side to side.  He makes the 2nd and sometimes 3rd saves you need to stay in the game and keep momentum going and you almost never see a bad goal scored on him.  I think all that combined with his confidence makes him an elite goaltender at this level.”

He's 6'2", just under 200 pounds.

While this is a flier, Nagelvoort has real shot at playing time. Nagelvoort's stats suggest he's got potential, and the Rangers (yes those Rangers) apparently checked him out in December. While taking an NAHL skater is almost always a sign of desperation—or at least a signal that you need a guy to scratch nightly—goalies are weird and come from weird places and the NAHL is one of these places. Last year two(!) NAHL goalies were drafted by the NHL, one of them (Anthony Stolarz) in the second round. This year the NTDP grabbed an NAHL goalie for the Five Nations tourney, bypassing the USHL. Former OSU goalie Cal Heeter came from the NAHL, as did former Maine starter and NHL backup Ben Bishop. [UPDATE: Oh and a guy named Shawn Hunwick you might have heard of.]

Steve Racine established a grip on the starting goalie job during Michigan's late run and will likely enter next year as the starter. If he falters, Michigan needed an option other than Jared Rutledge, which they've found. Whether Rutledge stays around with dim prospects or tries to find playing time elsewhere is unknown. The scholarship situation is murky there; one thing that may have helped with Nagelvoort is that he is originally from Michigan and presumably can get instate tuition.



April 11th, 2013 at 2:09 PM ^

Brian -

Can you put together a simple decoder ring for all of the leagues associated with hockey to help those of us who are interested but uneducated understand what it means?  NTDP, NAHL, OHL, USHL, AHL, NHL.....the list goes on.  Maybe something simple in the useful stuff that you can link to in hockey posts that compares the leagues. 



April 11th, 2013 at 2:34 PM ^

This is in order of how I and my hockey playing/following friends see the league setup.

"Adult" Professional:


KHL (Russian pro league, this is where a lot NHLer went during the lockout)

AHL (think AAA baseball)

High Level Premier European Leagues (Swedish, etc)

ECHL (think AA baseball)

SPHL (A baseball)

Federal League (not from the movie slapshot. I know they pay their players, beyond that I know nothing other than it only has 4 teams)

Next we have the junior/college level leagues which also have high school players

Canadian Major Junior (OHL=mostly Ontario; QMJHL=Quebec and east; WHL=west Canada, Washington, Oregon.) Major junior leagues pay their players a stipend which in the NCAA's eyes make them professional and destroys college eligibility. Junior requires players to be 16 to 20.



CIS (Canadian University, typically older than NCAA players and most likely have played major junior as that does not make you ineligible, usually not going anywhere afterwards)

Junior A Tier I

USHL-Premier US Junior league, the NDTP (National Development Training Program) has it's under 18 team play in this league.

Canada has a series of leagues (BCHL, OJHL) that play at the same level as the USHL and do not pay their players so the players retain elibility

Junior A Tier II

The NAHL is considered a Tier II Junior A league, it is filled with young players (15 or 16) trying to move up to the USHL and then on to high leagues or 18/19/20 year olds still chasing the dream. Most of Eastern Michigan's club roster is guys who played in the NAHL at the end of or after high school.

There is Tier III junior A, then Junior B, and Junior C.

Next comes the high school or Midget levels. High school in Minnesota or the New England preps schools is equal (in my opinion) to Midget AAA played by teams out of the Detroit area.


April 11th, 2013 at 2:24 PM ^

Yeah, that other NAHL goalie that got drafted last year(Connor Hellebuyck) is doing pretty okay as well.

Quick breakdown by strength

Pro leagues:


AHL (Think like AAA baseball)

ECHL (Like AA baseball)

CHL, SPHL (I don't want to get a real job)

Junior Leagues:

Tier I : CHL(includes OHL, WHL,QMJHL), USHL. CHL players are ineligible for NCAA hockey.  The NTDP team participates in the USHL.

Tier II: NAHL, BCHL, AJHL, SJHL CCHL, OJHL, other various alphabet soup Canadian leagues.

Tier III: You've probably never heard of any of them.


April 11th, 2013 at 2:59 PM ^

Dwyer is a walk-on and a senior next year, he may decide that continuing to work with the team is not worth it if there is not much room in the goalie section of the locker room

AFAIK Janecyk is a walk-on as well, and might make a similar decision. If neither decide to do so, great, always good to have senior for leadership and depth.

Rutledge would be the only one to potentially see the writing on the wall and look for an opportunity elsewhere. He's was slightly higher rated than Racine coming into freshman year, however, so I hope Red can convince him to stick around to see if he develops, and can put last year behind him. 

Nagelvoort seems like just a lottery ticket, hoping we find another Shawn Hunwick. 

At least, that's my outsider's guess on the situation. You probably know much more than I do.


April 11th, 2013 at 2:28 PM ^

Great pickup. I'm still not sure if Racine figured it out at the end of the season and is going to play that well the rest of his career, or if he just got hot and his true performance is closer to what we saw in the rest of the season. Obviously, I hope it's the former, but it's good to have some insurance so we don't have to go through the first 5 months of last season again next year.

Also, Nagelvoort sounds like an awesome name to taunt from the student section. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little sad the students will miss out on that. Obviouly, happier he's here to play for Michigan.


April 11th, 2013 at 7:45 PM ^

but being a goalie myself I like to see a really quick and athletic goalie that can get side to side and make the 3rd and sometimes the 4th save.  Coach seems to have always gravitated towards the Steve Shields type goalie but the only two goalies that have won national titles or been on the brink were from the "athletic" model and not the sasquatch type that takes up a lot of net.