Chicago Blackhawks goalie prospect Adam Gajan made 27 saves to help Slovakia crush Czechia 6-2 in the first game of pool play in the IIHF World Junior Championship.
Gajan, a second-round pick in the most recent draft, figures to compete with Drew Commesso to be the Blackhawks' No. 1 goalie long-term. He is the Hawks' 16th-ranked prospect according to the Athletic (subscription required). Although their most recent rankings included Connor Bedard, Lukas Reichel, and Kevin Korchinski who longer are in a prospect status.
Gajan is taking time away from the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers to compete in the World Juniors. He is 3-3 with a 1.98 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage with Green Bay.
Gajan had a .931 save percentage in Slovakia's opening game.
Martin Misiak is the other Hawks prospect skating for Slovakia. He is the 15th-ranked prospect according to the Athletic with the projection of making the NHL someday. He has average skills ratings although he does not exactly fit the Hawks wanting high hockey intelligence as he was rated below average in that area.
He is fourth among Blackhawks prospects in points scored. If he can develop into a solid third-line player, then that would be good value for a player drafted No. 55 overall. Not everyone is going to develop into a star.
This is the type of performance you would like to see from these prospects in one of the best junior-level tournaments in the world. Gajan won Best Goalie honors in last year's tournament and he looks to be on pace for another award.
The Chicago Blackhawks only have six prospects playing in the World Juniors. Frank Nazar, Oliver Moore, Gavin Hayes, and Sam Rinzel are playing for Team USA. Slovakia plays Switzerland next in Group B play. The puck drops at 5am CST tomorrow.