Hackett moved up the Central Scouting list from not being listed in the preliminary rankings to eighth in the mid-term rankings to No. 1 in Central Scouting final list released Tuesday.
"A huge improvement over last year," Central Scouting's Al Jensen, the group's goalie specialist, told NHL.com. "Great potential, got very good size (6-2, 170), very poised. His angles, his net positioning are very good. He's a very smart goaltender with excellent net coverage."
Hackett, who posted a 3.04 goals-against average, .913 save percentage, two shutouts and a 34-13-3-0 record in 55 games for the Whalers this season, started 2008-09 as a backup to Jeremy Smith. But when Plymouth struggled at the start of the season, Hackett won the lead goaltender’s position in November and was effective all year. Hackett continued his fine work through the playoffs, posting a 3.01 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in 11 playoff appearances.
Hackett was named ADT Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Week twice this season – for the weeks ending January 10 and March 31. In addition, Hackett started 29 consecutive regular season games from January 9-March 15 and continued with 11 straight playoff starts from March 21-April 11.
“You look at Matt, and he’s a pure goaltender,” said Whalers goaltending coach Stan Matwijiw. “He’s the type of goaltender that NHL teams are looking for. He’s big in stature and takes up a lot of net. He’s very fundamentally sound. The work that I’ve done with him is tweaking a thing here and there. He’s already had good instruction, with his uncle (former NHL goaltender Jeff Hackett) already a goaltending coach in the NHL (for Colorado).”