It appears Corbeil's Ben Gaudreau will be left unsigned by the San Jose Sharks which will allow him to be eligible for the 2023 NHL Entry Draft which takes place in Nashville.
The Sarnia Sting netminder whose season ended in the Western Conference Finals at the hands of the London Knights, enjoyed a strong post-season for Sarnia, posting three shutouts and a .905 Save Percentage.
His playoff success followed an up-and-down regular season and a 2023 World Junior Championships gold medal backing up Thomas Milic for Team Canada.
“Because of what is developing with their goaltending prospects, we have decided to go back in the Draft,” Gaudreau’s agent Eddie Mio of Octagon Sports Management told San Jose Hockey Now via text Wednesday.
The San Jose Sharks, who selected Gaudreau in the third round of the 2021 Draft, had until Jun. 1 to sign the 6'2" former North Bay Trappers goaltender.
Posturing by the San Jose Sharks management led to the situation. San Jose Hockey Now says as of Monday, Sharks GM Mike Grier had stated the organization's decision on Gaudreau was still up in the air.
“With [director of goaltending Evgeni Nabokov] and [goaltending coach Thomas Speer], we’re still going through that, and we do have meetings here in the next couple of weeks where we’ll sort that out and figure out if we’re gonna sign Ben or not," Grier said.
The reality that the Sharks' prospects pool appears to be infested with young goaltenders likely played a part in the decison for Gaudreau and his agent to look at other options.
The Sharks have already signed young netminders Magnus Chrona and Georgy Romanov this off-season, and there are still decisions to be made on incumbent RFA prospects Eetu Makiniemi and Strauss Mann.
That’s not a lot of playing time available between the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda and the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder
"I'm confident in Ben, that he would have prevailed,” Mio said. “We’re not afraid of competition. Just didn’t feel like a good fit.”
In March, San Jose Hockey Now rated Gaudreau as the Sharks’ top goaltending prospect.