Most players on Atlantic Hockey teams do not have a clear path to the NHL lined up when they enter as freshmen. There are currently no NHL draft picks on any roster in the league, and three Atlantic Hockey alums have reached the NHL.
But on Monday, Mercyhurst first-year goalie Adam Carlson took a step towards being the fourth. Carlson signed a two-year entry-level deal with the Washington Capitals that kicks in next season. For the rest of the season, he will be with the club’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, on an amateur tryout.
Carlson fits the mold as a “big” goalie, standing at 6-foot-3. That was surly an attractive attribute that stood out for the Capitals. However, this signing jumps out as a bit of a surprise since goalies signing out of college after their freshman year is not very common.
In fact, it has not happened since Rick DiPietro signed with the Islanders after his freshman year in 2000. Of course, DiPietro was the first overall pick in that year’s NHL Draft, while Carlson went undrafted. In fact, Carlson’s hockey journey is quite unconventional, making for a compelling story all the more.