NHL Draft prospects: No. 23 Frederik Gauthier

Frederik Gauthier. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty)

Intro: Sportsnet.ca is previewing the top 30 prospects in the 30 days leading up to the National Hockey League draft in New Jersey on June 30.

The Rimouski Oceanic should be well-represented at the draft, and newcomer Frederik Gauthier is next in our countdown at No. 23.

Stats: Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) | 62 GP | 22 G | 38 A | 60 P | +22 | 26 PIM

Who is Frederik Gauthier?
Gauthier concluded his first season with the Oceanic after previously committing to attend Harvard in 2013. He made an immediate impact upon joining Rimouski, averaging nearly a point-per-game as a rookie and finishing fourth in league rookie scoring. Gauthier suited up for Team Quebec at the 2012 under-17 hockey challenge and captured a gold medal on Canada’s under-18 world championships team in April. He broke his jaw in early November, but only missed two weeks of action, playing in all but six of his team’s games.

Frederik Gauthier’s scouting report:
Gauthier has the size – listed at six-foot-three and 193 pounds – but doesn’t use it in a physical sense, as his penalty minutes would suggest. He plays well at both ends of the rink and excels mostly in the faceoff circle. He won approximately 47 per cent of his draws, and only six players in the QMJHL took more face-offs than his 1,463 this season. Gauthier can be an imposing presence in front of the net on the power-play and a valued penalty killer due to his defensive acumen.

Teams who might be interested in Frederik Gauthier:
The Detroit Red Wings know a thing or two about winning championships, and having matchup players like Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby were critical to their success in the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2000s. Gauthier could give the future of the Red Wings a similar type of player, who would do many little things that coaches love. Given that the Red Wings have stockpiled prospects and have many talented forwards in their system, a player like Gauthier would give them a different look and perhaps jump to the pro roster quicker than some skilled players would, based on roles, in a deep prospect pool.

Scout’s take: “I thought he had a good year, but he seemed to kind of be a little bit of a different player in November when he broke his jaw,” says David Burstyn, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “He wasn’t as engaged as he was in the first two months and he played tentatively. I like him as a good utility player. I thought he did a good job improving his draft stock. I thought he was really good at the under-18s.

“He’s one of those utility guys — a little bit like Michal Handzus – takes good draws for you, blocks shots, can chip in with some timely scoring. If he scores 20 goals at the National Hockey League level, that’s going to be good, but you’re going to want this guy as a matchup player. You’re going to probably want him to keep other higher-profile forwards in check. He plays with energy – he did at the under-18s, like he did at the beginning of the year. If he can play at that type of tempo with his size and his skating ability and his faceoff skills, he should be a pretty good third line depth player.”

“The prototypical 2nd/3rd centre that every team covets,” adds Ross MacLean, head scout for International Scouting Services. “Gauthier has great size, works hard in both directions and can really shut down opponents top offensive players well. He thinks the game incredibly well and is a valuable asset in just about every situation. While he is at his best and most appealing in the defensive side of the game, he is no slouch offensively either and is a capable goal scorer and set up man. He uses his size well to protect possession and battle out plays around the net and in the corners.”

Rankings: Gauthier was ranked eighth by the NHL’s Central Scouting (North American skaters), 18th by International Scouting Services and 23rd by McKeen’s Hockey .

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