So what does Ben Gaudreau think about re-entering the Draft and the packed San Jose Sharks’ goaltending pipeline?
Yesterday, the Sharks announced that 2021 third-rounder Gaudreau, fifth-rounder Max McCue, and sixth-rounder Liam Gilmartin would be re-entering the 2023 Draft.
This announcement confirms what Gaudreau’s agent — Eddie Mio of Octagon Sports Management — first told San Jose Hockey Now three weeks ago, “Because of what is developing with their goaltending prospects, we have decided to go back in the Draft.”
In an interview with BayToday two weeks ago, Gaudreau said, “I was drafted to San Jose and it was a place that I wanted to be. They are a great organization and it was very exciting for me to be drafted there.”
However, since Mike Grier became general manager last summer, the San Jose Sharks have added three young goalies to the prospect pool in Mason Beaupit, RFA Eetu Makiniemi, and Georgy Romanov. Strauss Mann is also a RFA. Also, Grier inked University of Denver standout Magnus Chrona to an entry-level contract recently.
If the Sharks sign Makiniemi, along with Chrona and Romanov, the San Jose Barracuda and Wichita Thunder creases could get very crowded. 2022 fourth-rounder Beaupit will be in the WHL.
“Grier has done a lot of scouting, especially with goalies, and he has found what he likes and what works for him,” Gaudreau said. “It just doesn’t make sense for me to work through that system.”
The Sarnia Sting netminder continued: “You can’t blame them for that. If it was me as the new guy coming in, I would want to bring in all of my own guys as well… Re-entering the draft allows me to look for a fresh start with another organization that maybe doesn’t have that kind of goalie depth.”
Gaudreau did not play in his entire Draft year in 2020-21 because the OHL shut down because of COVID. The 6-foot-2 netminder would shine at that summer’s U18 World Junior Championships, however, leading Canada to a gold medal finish. The San Jose Sharks, still under the direction of GM Doug Wilson and director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr., selected Gaudreau No. 81 in the 2021 Draft.
The 20-year-old goalie was not able to find consistency over the past two regular seasons, but he is coming off a strong post-season where he led the Sting to the Conference Finals.
The 2023 Draft will be held June 28 and 29 in Nashville.
“It’s been anything but smooth sailing for Gaudreau,” Steven Ellis wrote yesterday at The Daily Faceoff, “but it still seems unlikely he won’t get drafted.”
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