I’ve never gotten this excited about a goaltending prospect.
I mean, all things considered, I’m on the newer end of the spectrum in terms of how long I’ve been a fan, so take that for what it is, but aside from a baby-faced Martin Jones, freshly and bravely plucked from the Boston Bruins in a giant middle finger to the Los Angeles Kings, there haven’t been too many times that I’ve thought the San Jose Sharks’ crease was going to be in good hands for awhile.
And yeah, we were all a little too hopeful about Model Goalie Mantas Armalis at one point and maybe we jinxed goaltending depth for the next couple years because of it, but it’s fine because I got to see him play exactly once and it was his one and only shutout with the San Jose Barracuda, and he looked damn fine doing it.
But this this highlight reel of Benjamin Gaudreau has me feeling that funky little feeling of hope once again. I will not let my past ice cold takes deter me: Folks, I think he might be the real deal.
Just look at this giant man go:
This highlight reel of Gaudreau’s afternoon is straight pic.twitter.com/gMuSTIkdYm— The Content Boyz (@LockedOnSharks) January 16, 2022
The 19-year-old has had some bad luck getting ice time over the course of the pandemic, so when the Sharks selected him in the third round of last summer’s draft, it was a big boom-or-bust move. This season, he’s been set to prove that he was an absolute steal.
In 18 games with the Sarnia Sting, Gaudreau has posted a 9-5-3 record, 1 shutout and a .905 save percentage, ranking seventh in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The netminder’s — and team’s — goals against average is a less flattering 14th overall, an average of 3.29. The team has a little bit of work to do, but it’s an improvement over recent seasons.
Last night, Gaudreau made 49 saves in the Sting’s 4-2 win over the London Knights. In the highlight reel above, the goaltender makes a stop on Knights center Max McCue, a fellow 2021 Sharks draftee (fifth round, 156 overall). Knights winger Liam Gilmartin (sixth round, 167 overall) is also part of the 2021 Sharks draft year OHL club.
The 6-foot-2 Gaudreau stands out for his athleticism, how calm and confident he is, and how strong and smooth his lateral movement is. I love his stance and that it makes him quick on his feet as he reads the play. The Sharks have something really special in this kid.
And according to the Ottawa Citizen, he’s helping make the Sting become a real problem for the rest of the conference. With an overall points percentage of exactly .500 and a record of 13-13-3-0, the Sting sit sixth in the Western Conference, with a few games in hand.
News & Notes
- London Knights obliterate shot clock, but lose (again) to Sarnia [Ottawa Citizen]
- OHL Roundup: Tabak, Clarke lead Barrie Colts to 8-2 rout of North Bay Battalion [Toronto Star]
- Sharks miss on power play chances, lose to Penguins in overtime [The Mercury News]
- In Defense of Noah Gregor [SJHN+]
- Noah Gregor cannot buy a goal right now. The Sharks’ advice? Don’t change a thing [The Reporter]
- 3 Takeaways as Sharks Earn a Point Against Penguins [The Hockey Writers]
- Sharks’ confidence not wavering after loss to Penguins in OT [NBC Sports Bay Area]
- Sheng Peng provides update on Tomas Hertl contract situation [NBC Sports Bay Area]
Blood in the Water
- NHL Rumors: Stars, Wild, Rangers, Canadiens Kane Update [The Hockey Writers]
- Top 5 NHL All-Star Jerseys of All-Time [The Hockey News]
- THN Three Stars: Fleury, Marchand, Huberdeau Stand Out [The Hockey News]
- Stephen Johns’ Skate Across America [College Hockey News]
- Parayko, Schenn, and Tarasenko are returning [St. Louis Game Time]
- O’Ree’s jersey retirement will add to legacy of Bruins who wore No. 22 [NHL.com]
- Julien named Canada coach for 2022 Beijing Olympics [NHL.com]
- Eichel will play in a few weeks, Golden Knights owner says [NHL.com]
- Visram makes history for Kings, second woman to serve behind NHL bench [NHL.com]
Scores & Recaps
Click on a team name to find a recap on their SB Nation site!
On the Schedule
- Detroit Red Wings at Buffalo Sabres, 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on SN, MSG-B, BSDET, ESPN+
- Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche, 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET on SN, SN1, ALT, BSN, BSWI, ESPN+
- Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks, 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET on NBCSCA, BSW, ESPN+
- Montreal Canadiens at Arizona Coyotes, 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET on TSN2, RDS, ESPN+, HULU
- Chicago Blackhawks at Seattle Kraken, 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET on ROOT-NW, NBCSCH, ESPN+
- Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders, 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET on TVAS, MSG+, NBCSP, ESPN+
- Nashville Predators at St. Louis Blues, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on BSMW, BSSO, ESPN+
- Pittsburgh Penguins at Vegas Golden Knights, 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET on ATTSN-RM, ATTSN-PT, ESPN+