Player: Frederik Gauthier
Drafted By: Toronto Maple Leafs (21st overall)
Position: Center / Winger
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 8 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'5'', 214 lbs
DOB: April 6, 1995 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: QMJHL, Rimouski
Frederik Gauthier had a solid rookie campaign with the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL. Gauthier was fourth amongst rookies with 60 points in 62 games, and he won gold at the 2013 U-18 World Junior Championship. For a first-year player, Gauthier performed admirably, and he has a ton of potential.
Full Scouting Report
Gauthier is a versatile forward who can play either wing or center and has the potential to be a talented all-around player. Gauthier is a sizable forward at 6’5”, 214 pounds, and he is an above-average skater considering his size. He also has solid defensive instincts that allow him to play an effective two-way game.
It is important to remember that this was his first season at the major junior level, and this season could only be a glimpse of what he turns into as a professional hockey player.
As a rookie, Gauthier was a bit tentative at times, but he showed spurts of brilliance. Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus had this to say about Gauthier.
He has a good amount of offensive hockey sense, but sometimes he is too conservative and would be better served by letting his creativity show. His pure offensive upside is a question mark. He also can be a gentle giant at times. He will engage, and I would not describe his play as soft, but he will not throw his body around, and he is not the meanest of players. Despite his frame, he does need to get stronger, and he could stand to shoot a tad more as well.
David Gregory of Central Scouting was also impressed with how Gauthier played this season, and he thinks the Quebec native has some solid potential.
He plays a 200-foot game. His motor is always going and he helps down low and can be right back into the play and create on offense. He has unbelievable hands in traffic for a guy his size and can make plays. I didn't know him at all from last year, and was very impressed when I saw him this year.
All in all, Gauthier is a decent player who still has a lot of time to fine tune and polish his game.
NHL Player Comparison
Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks. Gauthier plays an effective two-way game, and he has shown that he can be a solid offensive contributor.
Gauthier should be NHL ready by the start of the 2015-16 season. He has size and talent, but he should spend some time fine-tuning his skills before making his NHL debut.
Gauthier is an interesting prospect who could be a solid two-way shutdown center. He has the size that will allow him to use his active stick to break up plays, he could become more physical over time and he can use his decent wheels to create some scoring chances. He could end up being a poor man’s Ryan Kesler of Jordan Staal, but at the very least, he will be an average second-line center.