Our final first round profile is of Julien Gauthier. Gauthier is built like a typical power forward, and scored many, many, many goals for Val-d’Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this year. Could the huge winger be a Devil after the draft? Let’s take a look at him below.
Position: Right Wing
From: Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC, CAN
Weight: 225 lbs
The rankings provided are the most recent rankings at the time of this writing.
ISS Hockey: 21st
Craig Button: 26th
The Draft Analyst: 14th
Future Considerations: 10th
Bob McKenzie: Not Ranked (Just outside of Bob’s top 15
Draft Buzz: 21st
McKeen’s Hockey: 17th
NHL Central Scouting: 12th (NA Skaters)
Ah yes, a player being ranked all over the place, my favorite! Gauthier falls on the back end of the prospects profiled by Scoring Line. His highest ranking is 10th by Future Considerations, and his lowest is 26th by Craig Button. While his rankings aren’t that even, he is ranked on the lower end of the spectrum. It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up being drafted, as his stock has slowly dropped throughout the year. His rankings have fallen a bit since the first set.
Gauthier can put the puck in the net. His last year with Val-d’Or saw him put up 41 goals in 54 games! That’s good for a 0.76 goal a game average. That’s pretty insane. He was also over a point per game pace for the season, adding 16 assists for 57 points. His 2014-15 season was also very impressive. He put up 73 points in 68 games, which was good for a 1.07 PPG clip. His playoff numbers aren’t amazing, but they’re still decent. He put up
22 points in 47 games, but was also 15 years old in 24 of them. The Q is a high scoring league, and Gauthier’s goal totals go with that. His assists totals did fall from the previous year, but I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about.
Gauthier doesn’t have much international experience, only representing Canada twice. His international numbers aren’t very impressive. He put up 0 points for Canada Quebec U17 at the U17 World Hockey Challenge, and 2 points for the U20 team at the World Junior Championship. He was a younger player at the WJC, so that should be taken into account.
Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects:
“An explosive power forward who boasts an elite-level skill package. Takes nothing for granted and plays with hard-nosed work ethic. Tremendous vision and outstanding hockey sense; thrives under pressure and doesn’t stray from the high-percentage play. Willingness to play physical and win battles in his own end makes him a vital asset, stepping up at the game’s key moments.”
Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst:
“Not many draft-eligible teenagers possess a type of overwhelming arsenal of characteristics like Val-d’Or power winger Julien Gauthier, who has (literally) dominated his age group within the CHL in each of the last three seasons. Blessed with a solid build (6’4, 225 lbs), good speed and a strikingly accurate shot, Gauthier validated his rightful place among the world’s elite amateurs a few years back, when at 15 years old he was getting opportunities on the Foreurs’ top line and actually contributing.”
“Gauthier is very noticeable when it’s his turn to hop over the boards – his stick is always in the right position whether to receive a pass on the rush or in the slot. He uses his size and reach to his advantage beyond puck protection; in other words, Gauthier’s difficult to defend in front of the net because he can alter shots heading in a variety of directions. Furthermore, he keeps defenders further away from the net because he doesn’t have to be close to the cage to fight for rebounds. He’s had the misfortune of bouncing between Val-d’Or’s top two lines this season by way of their incredible (and experienced) scoring depth, but he also kills penalties and produces plays while shorthanded.”
You can read the rest of Steve’s write up here.
Future Considerations in November, 2015:
“He is a big, strong winger with a powerful stride and impressive top speed. He is tough to contain when he is at the top of his game. Consistency has been an issue in the past but he remains an enormous prospect with many impressive pro traits, such as a rocket of a shot and terrific vision in traffic. Can be creative with the puck and set up his teammates with well-timed passes; is a beast along the wall and in the corners.”
There’s a lot to digest here, so let’s start with the obvious. Gauthier is a power forward who can skate with the best of them and has one hell of a shot. He uses his big frame to make the best of his time on the ice. It’s clear from these quotes that Gauthier has an elite skill level, and that he used it to dominate the Q. Something that stands out to me is how creative he can be with the puck. Someone with his size can use that creativity to make some very good and smart plays. We’ve seen people with his size and traits do very well in the NHL, so it’s encouraging to see him praised. The last thing I want to focus on is what Steve said about playing in all situations. He’s got the skill to contribute offensively, but can also play responsible defense and play on the penalty kill. If he can translate his skills to the NHL level, he could be a really good player.
Scoring Line’s Opinion
I don’t know how to feel about Gauthier. He is one of those players that I’m just very “eh” about. He’s clearly got the goal scoring ability, but the Q is known for high scoring. I try not to look at his assists totals and be worried, but it’s hard. Plus, he’s a huge kid. A 6’4″, 225 lb kid with his skill level should be destroying the Q. Some of the quotes mentioned that he did, and his numbers might not show that, but I just can’t fully be on board with him as the Devils pick at 11. Also, that seems like it would be a big reach. His rankings suggest he’ll go in the middle/later part of the draft, so picking him at 11 seems like a bad idea. Now, if the Devils trade back and end up drafting him with that pick, I don’t think I’d be against it. But at 11, I think there will be better players there, and I would be a little shocked with the pick. He looks like he can turn into a very good NHL player, I’m just not sure he’s going to actually do that. But he could also do it and make me look dumb, so when it comes down it, chalk me up as indifferent on Gauthier.
(Photo courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)