LOVELAND, Colo. – The Colorado Eagles have announced that the team has signed goaltender Hunter Miska to an AHL contract for the 2019-20 season. The 24 year-old spent the previous two years with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners, posting a record of 32-21-1 to go along with a 2.81 goals-against average and a .898 save-percentage over two seasons. Miska won 22 games in his rookie year with the Roadrunners in 2017-18 and earned a 2.63 GAA and a .901 save-percentage. The 2018-19 campaign saw Miska make his NHL debut for the Arizona Coyotes on November 13, 2018 against the Detroit Red Wings.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound netminder spent one season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he went 27-5-5 and notched a 2.20 GAA and a .920 save-percentage. He would go on to be named to the NCHC Second All-Star Team, while also earning a spot on the NCHC All-Tournament Team and helping the Bulldogs win a league championship in 2017.
The ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits play-by-play broadcaster Jordan Kuhns covered Hunter when they were both with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the USHL. Kuhns had this to say about the two-year AHL vet:
“Hunter is one of the most flexible, dynamic goalies out there. His game is very similar to Jonathan Quick in that he covers the lower part of the net very well, and he can make big-time saves that you have no idea how he did it.”
A native of Stacy, Minnesota, Miska enjoyed a highly successful junior career in both the BCHL and the USHL. He went 32-13-1 and helped lead the Dubuque Fighting Saints to the USHL Clark Cup Finals in 2015-16. Prior to that, Miska spent two years with the Penticton Vees, going 53-20-5 over two seasons and highlighted by a 2014-15 campaign where he would lead the league in GAA and save-percentage and be named the BCHL’s Top Goaltender, while also leading the Vees to a BCHL Championship.
Kuhns sees that Miska has struggled a bit at the professional level, but doesn’t see it as a huge cause for concern.
“The beginning of his pro career seems to be an adjustment, but knowing how hard he works, it’s only a matter of time until he figures it out. He becomes a fan-favorite wherever he goes because he’s fun to watch, and he’s a very accessible human being. Must be the Minnesotan in him.”
The Colorado Avalanche organization, choosing to not re-sign goaltender Seymon Varlamov in his contract year, have gone all-in on previous backup netminder Philipp Grubauer as their primary goalie for 2019-20. And, with the signing of Pavel Francouz to a one-year, $950,000 deal back in May, the one-two paring for the Avalanche seems locked up heading into next season.
The trickle-down effect commenced from there, with the Avs signing Adam Werner to a two-year deal on May 13, and former netminder Spencer Martin moving on to sign a one-year, two-way deal with Tampa Bay on July 1. Martin’s previous spot has now been filled by Miska, who will presumably split time with Werner for the Eagles in net next season.