We’re starting a new, semi-regular feature on Puck Junk called “Zero-Game Goalies,” where we take a look at hockey goalies who got an NHL trading card, but never played in an NHL game. This phenomenon occurs when a goalie gets called up from the minors to be the backup goalie for an NHL team, but never sets foot on the ice during the game. Just being on the bench as a backup qualifies a goalie for inclusion in a set of NHL trading cards, so from time to time you come across a trading card of such a goalie and ask, “Who is this guy?”
Today’s zero-game goalie is Daniel Altshuller, who was a backup for the Carolina Hurricanes.
If you’ve never heard of Daniel Altshuller, you are not alone. I hadn’t heard of him either until I came across this 2016-17 O-Pee-Chee “Marquee Rookies” rookie card of him. Actually, this is a Black Rainbow shiny parallel, serial-numbered on the back 023 / 100.
Altshuller has his own page on the NHL.com website, but he doesn’t have any stats. I was intrigued to learn more about this goalie with no games, so here is what I found out. Altshuller was drafted by the ‘Canes in the third round (69th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, but spent the next two seasons with his junior team, the Oshawa Generals (OHL). The Hurricanes signed him to an entry-level contract on December 21, 2013. A little over two years later, Altshuller was recalled by the Hurricanes. He never played in any NHL games, though according to the American Hockey League’s website, he was called up a total of four times by the Hurricanes over two seasons:
Called up by the Carolina Hurricanes on January 20, 2016.
Sent down to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers on January 26, 2016.
Called up by the Carolina Hurricanes on February 16, 2016.
Sent down to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers on February 20, 2016.
Called up by the Carolina Hurricanes on December 9, 2016.
Sent down to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers on December 10, 2016.
Called up by the Carolina Hurricanes on January 3, 2017.
Sent down to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers on January 4, 2017.
And that is the sum total of Altshuller’s NHL career. He was on an NHL roster for 12 days during the 2015-16 season, and two days during the 2016-17 season. His “big break,” if you could call it that, was when Cam Ward was injured in late January 2016, giving Altshuller his first recall to be the ‘Canes backup. This was reason enough for Upper Deck to make over 80 different cards of Altshuller in their various 2016-17 hockey sets. The guy has six times more cards than he had days as an NHL backup.
In 2017-18, Altshuller attended York University and practiced with their hockey team, but did not play in any games. This past season, he returned to the ECHL, playing two games for the Brampton Beast, while also finishing out his bachelor’s degree in finance. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.