Photo: Nina Weiss/Flyerdelphia
Philadelphia Flyers rookie goaltender Anthony Stolarz scarcely resembles the player who, on July 9, 2012, stepped onto the ice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ, for the first day of his first Development Camp. Although the towering teenager was a fine natural athlete and a confident, well-spoken young man even then, he was quite raw on the ice even by teenage goaltender standards.
It seemed clear that, while the tools might be there for a future NHL career, it was going to take many years of hard work both by the player and his goaltending coaches to refine the raw materials into anything close to a finished product.
Fast forward to February 2016. Stolarz is in his second year of pro hockey, and he was a standout in his first American Hockey League All-Star Game. He was among the top three goaltenders in the AHL for the first quarter of the season and showed mental toughness and resolve to get back on course after a few bumps in the road in the second quarter.