Immediately following the draft, the Oilers and Montreal Canadiens hooked up on a trade that involved a goalie getting swapped for a draft choice. It was the second such trade between the clubs in a six month span.
In January, the Oilers acquired Al Montoya (remember him?) in an effort to shore up the NHL depth chart. In June, Edmonton brought Hayden Hawkey on board to help shore up prospect depth at the position. With Nick Ellis retiring, Shane Starrett entering a contract year and Dylan Wells and Stuart Skinner turning pro, the Oilers needed a few options developing in the college and junior ranks.
Hawkey, a 23 year old netminder at Providence College, will be entering his senior season with the Friars. It’ll also be his third season as the starter for the club, a team he helped take to the Hockey East Championship and NCAA Tournament during the 2017-18 campaign.
So….Just Who Is Hayden Hawkey?:
A goalie from Parker, Colorado, Hawkey is the latest in a line of strong netminders from Providence College. Jon Gillies tended goal for the Friars before giving way to Nick Ellis, who left for Edmonton only to be replaced by Hawkey, both in Providence and in Edmonton.
Hawkey started 40 games during his junior season, going 24-12-0-3 (yeah….they still tie) with a .919 save percentage and a 2.04 GAA. In a conference with some elite talent that included Hobey Baker winner Adam Gaudette (Northeastern), Olympic star Jordan Greenway (Boston University) and top Chicago prospect Dylan Sikura (Northeastern), Hawkey shined as a goalie.
All of his 2017-18 marks were career-highs for a goalie who was excellent as a sophomore starter (39 games) after Ellis left to sign an entry-level deal with the Oilers.
He’ll return to PC this season and will start for the third straight year for a Friars program that should compete in a tough Hockey East again this winter.
Here’s a look at Hawkey from the prospect site Hockey’s Future:
Hawkey is fundamentally sound position-wise and shows explosive tenacity when challenging shooters, by coming out of his crease. His lateral movement is good and his work ethic is matched by very few at his level. His rebound control needs some help. He struggles to track pucks in areas when traffic gathers in front of him. He is always working on bettering his game, and his character was evident through a shortened season due to injury. His potential is as a fringe-starting goaltender at the NHL level, but he might be more suitable as a back-up.
What Can We Expect?:
Entering his senior season, expectations at the NCAA level should be relatively high for Hawkey. He’s absolutely expected to shoulder the load for Providence College for a third straight season, and is expected to get them back to the Hockey East Playoffs and to make some noise there.
I think a save percentage of over .920 is absolutely a realistic goal and should be expected this coming season. On top of that, a goals against average somewhere right around 2.00 should be a good marker for Hawkey. That’s right around where he was last season, and he should thrive once again behind a veteran team.
Overall, Oiler fans should be expecting Hawkey to be one of the best goalies in Hockey East this coming season. Statistically, he should be a top-15 goalie in the NCAA as well as a senior. I think that would represent good progress for him and would earn him his first professional contract.