Hextall impressed by Zepp, but cautious when predicting his future

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Rob Zepp became an example of what can be accomplished through perseverance when he won his NHL debut at the age of 33 on Sunday. In doing so, he became the oldest goaltender to win an NHL debut since Nov. 17, 1926 when Hugh Lehman earned his first victory at 41 years old.

His performance impressed many, including Flyers GM Ron Hextall.

“I thought he was good,” Hextall told CSN Philly. “A little bit nervous, early. His first NHL game. He had all the reason in the world to be nervous, but I thought he gave a good accounting of himself.

“He obviously had a huge save at the end of the second period that probably gave us a chance. The timing of his saves — time, place and score — it was a huge save for us.”

Here’s the save Hextall was referring to:

But will this feel good story end there or will Zepp eventually earn a full-time NHL roster spot? On that subject, Hextall isn’t ready to make any bold predictions. After all, it takes more than one solid showing to establish yourself at this level. Zepp needs to prove he’s capable of playing like that over a sustained period, but opportunities will be hard to come by.

He’s with the Flyers right now because Steve Mason has a back issue, but it sounds like that won’t sideline him for much longer. When Mason returns, Zepp is projected to return to the AHL.

No matter what happens though, he made it to the NHL and emerged a winner.