A year to remember for Heat’s Danny Taylor

By Mike Cadarette || AHL On The Beat Archive

It took seven years having worn 12 different team silks, but Danny Taylor finally got what he’s been working for since he first laced up a pair of goalie skates.

At 26 years of age, the Heat netminder hopes his journeyman ways are a thing of the past, now in his second year with the Calgary Flames organization. After a season and a half of holding down the crease with the Abbotsford Heat, Taylor earned his first career NHL victory on Mar. 3 against the Vancouver Canucks.

“It’s every kid’s dream to go up and play in the NHL and win games,” Taylor told Flames TV after his 29 save performance in the win. “It’s obviously a dream come true. But I’m not satisfied. I want more. I want to win more. I want to play more.”

It’s that hunger for more that has fuelled Taylor’s career. It would have been easy for him to be discouraged along his travels from city to city and team to team, but instead the British-born, Canadian-raised puck stopper continued to compete and eventually earned himself an NHL contract with the Calgary Flames.

Yet, the realization that he was in the NHL didn’t hit him when he was sitting in the same dressing room as Jarome Iginla, and it didn’t hit him when he was trying to outduel Roberto Luongo, or trying stop the Sedin twins from scoring on him.

“It hit me when we were flying,” explained Taylor. “Because with the Abbotsford Heat we always fly commercial, so [it’s] always two-and-a-half hours to the airport and we always have to go through security and then you always have a connecting flight, then you get back home and there’s the bus back to Abbotsford.

“Then you’re in the NHL where the bus drives right up to the plane, you take two steps on concrete and then you’re on the plane and then you get right off the bus and go right home. That’s the biggest thing for me – how spoiled you are. I enjoyed it, but again, it just made me remember all the bus trips I had in the [ECHL]. The 18-hour bus trips and you’re on the bunk trips with 18 other guys on one bus. It just made me really thankful for all the opportunities I got and all the people I’ve got to meet along the way.”

And while 2013 is still young, it’s a year that Taylor won’t soon forget. To go along with a newly signed NHL contract in January and his first career NHL victory in February, Taylor became a father. He and his wife Danielle welcomed their first son, Hudson, into the family a little past midnight on New Year’s Day.

“It’s been a crazy nine weeks,” recollects Taylor. “It’s kind of sad. I’ve only seen my boy for only about four of the nine weeks he’s been alive. There’s still a lot left to be done, but I’m looking forward to being a dad – a full-time dad – during the summer.

“We’ve been so lucky to have little Hudson in our lives now. It just makes things that much better. That’s the best thing in the world right now. Being called up and being in the NHL was just gravy.”

In his 63 career starts with the Heat, Taylor posted an outstanding 2.05 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage and 31 wins. This season he leads the AHL in goals against at 1.88 and sits fourth in save percentage at 92.6 percent to go along with 14 wins.

There’s little doubt 2013 has been a roller coaster ride for Taylor, but he’s hoping the Flames organization is a long-term home for him and his new family.