Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2021 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Benjamin Gaudreau Scouting Report.
Drafted in the first round, seventh overall, by the Sarnia Sting at the 2019 OHL Priority Selection Draft, Benjamin Gaudreau has long been a high-profile goalie prospect. He played 28 games for the Sting as a 16-year-old rookie in 2019-20. Gaudreau put up a 10-13-2 record with a 4.34 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage. However, those numbers don’t really do his play justice as he was playing behind a Sarnia Team that was weak defensively. Gaudreau also played for Team Canada Black at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. He struggled in the tournament with a 5.95 goals-against average and .787 save percentage.
Gaudreau didn’t get much chance to play in 2020-21 as the OHL season never started due to COVID-19. Unlike many of the top skater prospects in the OHL, he could not find a European loan move. He was still able to make Team Canada for the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. Gaudreau won all five of his starts on his way to backstopping Canada to the gold medal. He led the tournament in both goals-against average (2.20) and save percentage (.919). Gaudreau was also named to the tournament all-star team and was named the best goalie in the tournament.
Benjamin Gaudreau Scouting Report
Goaltender — shoots Left — catches Left
Born January 11th, 2003 — Corbeil, Ontario
Height 6’2″ — Weight 175 lbs [188 cm / 79 kg]
Skating and Talent Analysis
At 6-foot-2 Gaudreau may not be a giant, but he has the type of size that NHL teams are looking for now. Gaudreau makes the most of his size, he plays at the top of the crease, challenging shooters and cutting down angles. Gaudreau’s skating allows him get back in his net if opponents drive the net as well as get side-to-side quickly when needed. His positioning is extremely also strong, as he takes away angles very well.
Gaudreau has an outstanding glove hand. He also has a very good blocker. He plays a hybrid style, staying on his feet more than most goalies. This makes him very hard to beat up high. He can still drop into the butterfly when necessary. His quick legs do a good job of taking away the bottom of the net as well.
Gaudreau needs some work on his rebound control. With his excellent glove and a good blocker, he smothers most high shots and doesn’t give up rebounds. However, he can give up rebounds low. His legs are quick, but he often kicks rebounds into dangerous areas in the slot. Gaudreau is athletic and can get himself squared up to the puck even when he does kick out a rebound.
Over his junior career, Gaudreau has had a number of varied experiences. Playing for Sarnia, he was often peppered with shots. Given the heavy workload and traffic, Gaudreau seems unflappable in the net. He doesn’t let the pressure get to him, showing a calm demeanour. As a result, teammates come to rely on Gaudreau to calm things down. He also does not get flustered if he gives up a goal. Gaudreau doesn’t let things spiral, as he is ready to make the next save by the time the puck drops at centre ice.
Gaudreau also learned how to play behind a dominant Canadian Team at the Under-18s. Despite the fact that he would go long stretches without facing action, Gaudreau kept his head in the game and was ready to make saves when flurries of shots came. This is not always easy for young goalies.
Gaudreau is also a good puckhandler. He uses his strong skating to get out of the crease and corral dump-ins. He acts as a third defenceman in making a first pass to get the puck moving and start the transition game. Gaudreau can struggle with trying to make a long pass to catch the other team on a line change though. This is one area of his game he can improve with more work.
Projection and Comparison
Gaudreau has all the skills to be a franchise goalie in the NHL if he reaches his potential. He has not played a lot of hockey over the last two seasons, and so he will need a while to be NHL ready. Gaudreau needs to spend a couple of seasons as an OHL starter. Following that, he will likely need at least two AHL seasons. The fact that he is a long-term project might make teams hesitant to draft Gaudreau, but if his development goes well, he could be a draft steal. His style is reminiscent of Carey Price, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Benjamin Gaudreau that are available on youtube and Twitter.
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) May 5, 2021
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) April 29, 2021
Nice glove stop by Benjamin Gaudreau.
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) May 3, 2021
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) April 29, 2021
I really like Benjamin Gaudreau’s game in the @StingHockey net.
He has good athleticism and has very refined movement in his crease for a 16-year-old. His lateral burst movements are strong as well. Lots to like about this kid who’s eligible for the #2021NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/i6nFyfpd9D
— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) February 19, 2020
Working on a Benjamin Gaudreau scouting report that should be out in the morning.
While Gaudreau didn't get a ton of playing time this year due to COVID, he showed at the U18s in Texas exactly how dominant he is. Especially with his glove work. Take a look at this clip. pic.twitter.com/8dpx6XXGbn
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) June 18, 2021
Another fun Benjamin Gaudreau clip. Gets knocked down accidentally (in a friendly-fire incident), the initial shot rebounds into high danger, but Gaudreau manages to glove Ilya Ivantsov's backhand shot while lying down.
Stay tuned for my report on Gaudreau. pic.twitter.com/Tp2yzK9xvo
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) June 19, 2021
Some prime chances for Team USA from Red Savage and Ryan St. Louis, but Benjamin Gaudreau is up to the task.
Team 🇺🇸 0 Team 🇨🇦 1 pic.twitter.com/rJtReOAxMm
— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) November 5, 2019
— Aaron Vickers (@AAVickers) May 3, 2021
Check back later for our latest draft article.
Benjamin Gaudreau Scouting Report Main Photo:
FRISCO, TEXAS – MAY 06: Benjamin Gaudreau #29 of Canada blocks a shot on goal against Russia in the third period during the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Gold Medal Game at Comerica Center on May 06, 2021, in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)