Lots of great names in this year's draft; Tanner Faith, Dwyer Tschantz, Tyler Bird, Dysin Mayo, Miguel Fidler... you get the idea. The Habs nabbed possibly the greatest name in the sixth round when they took US goalie Hayden Hawkey with the 177th overall pick. The last time the Habs had the 177th overall pick (2003), they also grabbed a goalie, Christopher Heino-Lindberg. Heino-Lindberg didn't work out so much, but let's see what Double H is all about.
Bypassed in last year's draft (probably because he wasn't on anyone's radar), Hawkey is a decently sized Colorado born netminder with a NCAA commitment to Providence College for 2015 where he might play with that really off the board Calgary draft pick from 2012, Mark Jankowski. He will go to the Friars from the Omaha Lancers of the USHL where he was named the USHL's goaltender of the year. Dan Ellis and Alex Stalock have both been named USHL goaltender of the year in the past, but there are a lot more Tony Zasowkis and Bobby Goepferts on that list than there are legitimate NHL or even AHL goalies.
Hawkey's season with the Lancers was a cut above even USHL standards however. He led the league in GAA (1.99) and save percentage (.926), his GAA mark was the best in the USHL in about 12 years and his save percentage was the highest mark for a goalie in the last three seasons.
From Hockey Prospect:
"Hawkey’s a big, athletic body in net. He might be the quickest and most athletic of any goaltender in the USHL this season. For a team as solid as the Lancers were, their goaltender got hung out to dry more often than you would figure. Hawkey had more breakaway stops and odd-man break stops than anyone else viewed this season, stopping the likes of Jack Eichel, Dylan Larkin, and other top notch offensive players in those situations on numerous occasions. In a game against Green Bay in late February he had three breakaway saves within that one, single game. His lateral, post-to-post ability is phenomenal, and is a major reason why he is so effective on breakaway and odd-man breaks. He made saves going post to post this season that were seemingly impossible to stop, but he stopped them."
With the Canadiens there's no debate that goaltending is locked up. The Habs have Price, Budaj, and Tokarski NHL-ready and Mike Condon knocking on Hamilton's door. Add in Fucale and there are options at every level. This is without even considering Devan Dubnyk and Peter Delmas - both of whom may sign elsewhere. If the Canadiens were to draft a goalie in this draft, a project goalie who will be ready 4-5 years down the road is the perfect pick.
Enter Hayden Hawkey aka hawkeypuck35 on twitter. Hawkey is expected to return to Omaha and the USHL next season. In 2015 Hawkey is expected to head to Providence College where Jon Gillies (Flames 2012 draft pick) is entrenched as the starter and will be entering his senior year. Gillies's back-up (Nick Ellis) played 7 games last year, so my prediction is that Hawkey is going to log a lot of time watching from the bench in that first year.
If Hawkey has any impact on the Habs (or Bulldogs) it won't be for a while, but there isn't any immediate need for a prospect goalie to have an impact on the Habs. The Habs can wait for a goalie with some great building blocks (size, lateral movement) and allow him to develop at his own pace in a decent USHL and NCAA program.
It looks like the Canadiens have grabbed a strong goalie with good character who just needs some time to develop. I hate Johnny Football, I love Hayden Hawkey. We'll see what he turns into in 2019.
For the meantime, what do you think? Does Hayden Hawkey have the best hockey name ever? Do you like the pick? Have you seen him play? Do you like the Habs' organizational depth at goalie?