Even though the Sarnia Sting drafted Shayne Battler in the sixth round of the 2014 OHL Entry Draft, there was quite a buzz surrounding the selection within the organization’s scouting staff. That’s because their goalie coach, Dave Rook, saw some key similarities to another southpaw he developed during his tenure with the Columbus Blue Jackets – Steve Mason.
Comparisons aside, Battler made his own mark on the OHL’s top prospects list thanks to a solid season with the Clarington Toros midget AAA program.
Like Battler (listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds), if you’re a teenage goaltender blessed with a lanky frame, you’re probably being taught to try and play inside the blue paint as often as possible. However, for many goalies that hit sudden growth spurts in their bantam and midget years, this is a complicated adjustment to make.
For Battler, the adjustment is not as daunting, as he already naturally executes with an economy of movement. As a result, Battler was a perfect fit for the PRO Goaltending system.
After spending two weeks with Michael Lawrence at the 2014 Development Program camp, the smooth transition employing his coaching style allowed the Oshawa native to stand out from the rest of the group.
“Shayne’s style fits into the PRO Goaltending model extremely well,” Lawrence reinforced. “He plays our system in the blue paint consistently, he’s bull-like on pucks, plays a very simple game, and has a big, V-like frame.”
Teaching athletically gifted goalies that “less is more” can be a time-consuming, drawn-out process that takes years of constant reinforcement. But when a prospect already has a solid understanding of how to limit his movements and make small, simple adjustments in order to improve squareness and simplify recoveries and lateral transitions, the entire coaching and learning process becomes that much easier.
That’s an additional asset in the bank for Battler, who is already benefiting from drawing comparisons to an NHL starting goaltender.