Goalie Daniel Cotton is standing tall for the Silvertips since being traded from Seattle (photo whl.ca)
By Andrew Eide
The last time the Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips squared off goalie Daniel Cotton was on Seattle's roster. He watched that game from the stands, in a suit, rooting on his teammates as they beat Everett. Little did he know that less than 24 hours later he would be suited up and in a game, only playing for that same Everett team he had been rooting against. Little did he know, the trade may have been the best thing to happen to him and his career.
"I was actually still sleeping when Russ (Farwell) phoned me," Cotton says of that Sunday morning."Once I found out I was excited and everything, we had to drive up to Everett, luckily it was close and actually got into that game so it was a crazy day."
Everett and Seattle are renewing their healthy rivalry on the ice this Saturday at the Comcast Center in Everett. That rivalry means trades between the two clubs are rare. Most teams are reluctant to trade players to a team that they will have to see all year long. What was it like for Cotton to go to a team that just a day before had been a rival?
"At that point I wasn't really getting playing time in Seattle so I was happy to go anywhere really," Cotton says. "I was lucky that an opportunity opened for me."
The Silvertips did not give Cotton much time to catch his breath after the trade as he heard his name called half way through the game that Sunday. Less than five hours after being traded he found himself on the ice against Tri City. Down 4-1 Cotton made 14 saves, did not allow a goal as his new teammates clawed back into the game. They came up just short of making the comeback but had to like what they saw in their new goalie.
"I didn't really know anybody by name yet," Cotton said of that first game. "They played really well in front of me, they did a good job and it was fun to get back into the game. It had been a while since I had played, it felt good to get out there and make some saves."
In Seattle Cotton got stuck playing behind Calvin Pickard who was a workhorse and had to be drug off the ice. This year the T-Birds brought in 20-year-old Brandon Glover to play and once again Cotton was looking at limited ice time. How does that affect a young players confidence?
"I had known going in that Calvin was a huge player there," Cotton said. "I was aware I wasn't going to get a ton of ice time because he was not just any goalie in this league. I kind of got used to it, I wasn't surprised I didn't get a lot of ice time. You can practice as much as you want, use it to get better but at some point you have to get in a game, because that's what really counts."
Cotton is getting ice time now with the Silvertips. Since getting into that first game against Tri City, Cotton has started six games in a row and has played spectacularly. All six games were road games on Everett's eastern swing and it saw the goalie go 4-2 in those starts with a 2.45 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.
"I don't think I've ever started more than three games in a row in my life," Cotton said. "It's been a wild couple of weeks, and it's been great to finally get to play in a few games."
Everett's former number one goalie, Austin Lotz, had been injured which is why the club brought Cotton in. He is now back and for a while Cotton found himself in another situation where the team had three goalies and a decision had to be made. This time however, Cotton had a good resume to show in order to make his case to stick around. That's exactly what happened as Everett has released Cole Holowenko leaving the club with two goalies going forward.
"I am just going to work hard and keep earning ice time," Cotton says about moving forward with his new team. "I know everybody's name now, they've been great, they've made it really easy for a new guy to come in. Me and (Connor) Cox who got traded from Sask, they've made it easy on both of us, it's a really great group of guys."
Goalies love to customize their masks and while in Seattle Cotton had a pretty nice one. So far with Everett he has gone with the all-white mask as having one with the T-Birds logo on it probably would not go over well. Now that he's stuck with Everett he plans on getting a new one made up.
"I actually just talked to the equipment manager about that," he said. " we're going to work something out."
With Seattle coming in on Saturday Cotton has yet to learn if he will get the nod against his former teammates. He says he's heard from both his friends on the team and T-Birds fans who are happy for him and his new success. If he does get to play on Saturday will he have an advantage playing against shooters he's seen a ton of in practice?
"It will be interesting," he says. "There are obviously some head games that will be going on. But then again, they know me pretty well to so it will be interesting and it will be a ton of fun."
How badly does he want to play against Seattle on Saturday?
"Oh, you have no idea," Cotton says.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andyeide