Julien Gauthier 2016-17 season capsule
Julien Gauthier was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the 2016 NHL draft with the #21 overall pick. The hulking power forward tips the scales at 6 foot 4 inches tall and 225 pounds and possesses skill to boot. The rap on him entering the draft was the 1-dimensional nature of his 2015-16 season that saw him net 41 goals but only collect 16 assists in 54 games. In 2016-17, he returned to the Val-d’Or Foreurs where he had 7 goals and 20 assists in 23 games before being traded to the Saint John Sea Dogs where he has accumulated 4 goals and 8 assists in 12 games. He also took a break from QMJHL play to team with Hurricanes’ prospect Nicolas Roy on a scoring line for Team Canada at the world juniors tourney where Gauthier had 5 goals and 2 assists in 7 games.
Mid-season interview on Julien Gauthier with Scott Wheeler from The Athletic and Pension Plan Puppets
Scott Wheeler (Twitter=scottcwheeler) is a sports journalist and independent scout. He is currently a feature writer and OHL/QMJHL evaluator with Future Considerations, the managing editor for SB Nation’s Pension Plan Puppets and an editor for The Athletic-Toronto. He covers the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Marlies and the NHL Draft and frequently guests on Canadian sports radio. He has previously scouted for McKeen’s Hockey, and has been published by the National Post, the Toronto Sun, The Hockey News, the PGA TOUR, and others in print and online.
Canes and Coffee: How would you describe Julien Gauthier’s play with the Val-d’Or Foreurs in the 2016-17 season prior to his trade? What is his role with the Saint John Sea Dogs since his trade in early January? How is he faring with his new team so far?
Scott Wheeler: Gauthier hasn’t progressed like many would have hoped. For a player with the raw athleticism he has, and his ability as a shooter, you’d expect him to be more dominant each season than the last. That hasn’t been the case. I don’t believe Gauthier is a significantly stronger player now than he was two years ago. He has played predominantly on Saint John’s second line since joining the team, and he has been good — though not spectacular.
Canes and Coffee: How did Gauthier fare if in the WJC tourney against elite competition in his age group?
Scott Wheeler: All things considered, Gauthier — and his entire line — was quite good at the World Juniors. I was impressed with the way he handled a two-way role, though he struggled on the power play at times.
Canes and Coffee: Comparing Gauthier’s play in 2016-17 to 2015-16 is there anything that jumps out to you as significantly improved?
Scott Wheeler: The biggest difference in Gauthier’s game this year over last is that he’s passing a lot more. Last year, with Val d’Or, Gauthier was a shot-first, net-front presence who offered little more off the rush. This year, he has been trying to stop up more often to survey the ice. That’s a positive step, he’ll always have a strong shot.
Canes and Coffee: What improvements are still needed for Gauthier to ready his game for the NHL down the road? What is your best guest for probability of him sticking at the NHL level for the 2017-18 season?
Scott Wheeler: I doubt Gauthier sticks with the Canes next season. Instead, I’d anticipate he works his way through a season in the AHL in order to adjust to the pro game. The biggest area he still needs to improve upon is in his decision-making with the puck. Gauthier has a tendency to drop his head and just attempt powerful plays at the net, rather than pick up streaking linemates.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Scott Wheeler for his generosity in providing a firsthand, ‘from the rink’ update on Hurricanes’ prospect Julien Gauthier.
More on Julien Gauthier plus menu of previous MIDTERMS on Hurricanes prospects
Previous coverage on Julien Gauthier includes:
If you missed them and want to catch up, you can find the first 3 entries in the ‘Midterms’ series here: