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Prospect Update: Gage Alexander
By Thomas Harrington
A fifth round pick from 2021, goaltender Gage Alexander completed his third year in the WHL this past season. Over the summer he was traded from the Winnipeg Ice to the Swift Current Broncos.
Alexander played in a career-high 29 games this past season and had a record of 18-7-4, a 2.40 goals against average, a .911 save percentage, and two shutouts. Both of his shutouts came relatively early in the season, with his second coming in November when Winnipeg won a game 7-0. Those numbers weren’t quite as good as the year before, when he had a goals against average of 2.23 and a save percentage of .917, but he only played in nine games. He also missed some time with injury.
Alexander was Winnipeg’s backup, but their starter, Daniel Hauser, only played in 40 games, so it’s not like he saw a bulk of the time. Hauser also had a ridiculous record of 34-3-1. Alexander also played in five of Winnipeg’s 15 playoff games and had a record of 1-4 with a 3.65 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. He was named the WHL goaltender of the week in late May for his performance in the playoffs when he stopped 35 of 36 shots in his first start of the playoffs. He also stopped 18 or 19 shots in the game before when he came in for relief.
I have three expectations for Alexander this coming year. First, to play in more games for Swift Current than he did for Winnipeg. The WHL season is usually 72 games, so I’ll be satisfied if he can play upwards of 30 games. Swift Current’s starter from last season, Isaac Poulter, will be in the AHL this coming season, so there’s a chance for Alexander to play significantly more games. Second, for him to have a good season. He’s going from one of the best teams in the WHL to one of its worst, so if his numbers take a hit because of the team in front of him, that’s understandable. He just needs to make sure his numbers don’t fall off dramatically. Finally, if his team makes the playoffs and he plays in some postseason, to have a better postseason than last year. Alexander was great in his win, but his overall numbers were a step down from what he did in the regular season.
Alexander is big, standing at 6’6”. Despite his size, he’s surprisingly athletic. Winnipeg was one of the best teams in the WHL last year, so they could have masked any issues he had. Goaltenders are notoriously hard to predict, but it doesn’t look like Alexander will be a starter someday. Still, he could become a very good AHL goaltender or even an NHL backup eventually. If he does make the NHL, he’s still a number of years away. He’s got at least another year of juniors ahead of him, and then he’ll go to San Diego when his time with the Ice is done. If Lukas Dostal and Olle Eriksson Ek are both still there, then he’ll probably have to start his pro career in the ECHL. However, if one of them is in Anaheim or the Ducks have traded one or both of them, then he could get a chance with the Gulls as soon as he’s done in the WHL.
Alexander is currently unsigned and the Ducks have until next June to sign him or they will lose his rights. Assuming he has a strong season, I expect the Ducks to sign him and then bring him to the AHL for the 2023-2024 season, possibly with some time in the ECHL if needed. They could also choose to sign him to his entry-level deal this summer. However, if Alexander regresses this coming year, they could choose to not sign him. It would be unfortunate to lose him, but with the relatively recent additions of Calle Clang and Vyacheslav Buteyets, the Ducks may feel they already have better options in their system.
The next prospect update will be on Blake McLaughlin.
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August 19th, 2022