Frederik Gauthier, Leafs First Round Pick

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Photo: Reuters


The Leafs opted for size and two-way ability down the middle at 21st overall, drafting a 6’5, 214-pounder out of Quebec in Frederik Gauthier. As a player who “needs to work on his offensive game” and who was under a PPG in the Q (worth noting that he broke his jaw during the season), this pick may be a little on the safe side compared to say, the higher offensive ceiling of Hunter Shinkaruk (who slid down and was available at 21). That said, there’s no denying the value of a good centerman and the need for depth at the position. How you feel about this selection depends on whether you like the late-first-round approach of safer picks with strong fundamentals or if you would prefer to role the dice a little on higher upside.

Profile after the jump.

From Alex Tran:

“The 6’4 215 lb Gauthier burst onto the scene this year with an impressive rookie campaign in the QMJHL where he surprised scouts by displaying a relatively advanced and polished game for a young player still growing into his body. The talented centreman has drawn comparisons to the likes of Sean Couturier for his impressive defensive instincts and commitment to strong positional play. Gauthier does the little things quite well – realizing when to hold back and cover a pinching defenseman, pushing hard to back-check on the high man during an odd man rush and completing the chips along the boards to get the puck out. He excels in the role of the second forward into the corners for support (much like Jay McClement).  Rimouski relied heavily on Gauthier in key late-game situations, as the youngster led all rookie centreman in faceoff attempts (albeit at a 47% success rate – a number that still needs to improve). Offensively, Gauthier displays a promising  scorer’s skillset with the ability to find pucks in traffic and finish in tight around the net. The playmaking instincts and passing ability have a chance to be above average while his skating ability already grades out as above average for a player his size. While the hulking forward can certainly hold his own in high traffic areas, he lacks the raw “nastiness” and punishing physicality of a Tyler Biggs or Milan Lucic.

Gauthier possesses the complete package of skills to be a a very effective NHL player. He started off the QMJHL campaign on an absolute tear offensively before fatigue and oppositional adjustments slowed him down. What will ultimately determine his ceiling is where you think his offensive ability eventually grades out. Is he a Paul Gaustad type – a highly effective defensive player in a 3rd line role? Or is he a David Backes type – capable of a 1st/2nd line role on a very good team? It’s tough to say at this point because the sample size is so small and the trajectories of power forwards is so unpredictable but I’m optimistic and will tend toward the latter. His size, strength and well-rounded game could see him ascend very quickly through this organization.”

NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Bordeleau raves about Gauthier’s defensive acumen:

A bit old, but here’s a short highlight package:

***

From McKeen’s Draft Guide:

“Rescued his plummeting stock with a strong performance while winning gold for Team Canada at the U18 Worlds (7-1-3-4) .. soared initially in his QMJHL debut (18-10-10-20), but sagged after returning from a November broken jaw that required surgery .. scored 12 times in his final 50 games including playoffs (6-0-2-2) .. his defensive efforts were evident throughout however, reflected in a plus-22 rating, second-best on Rimouski .. named to the QMJHL All Rookie Team .. led College Esther-Blondin to a QAAA title in `11-12 – earning MVP honours – and passing on a commitment to Harvard University ..

SCOUTING REPORT .. diligent, hard-working pivot with imposing size and speed .. light and agile, graceful in cuts and turns .. can add a quicker startup and acceleration burst – to a stride that possesses good inherent length and thrust .. a menace off the rush once his excellent top gear is fully engaged .. drives at defenders and challenges 1-on-1, exploiting a sharp diagonal cut that highlights striking speed and lateral agility for a big man .. unleashes a smooth, hard wristshot in full flight .. multi-purpose type .. dedicated defensive soldier – hustles to get back in proper lanes and close gaps, exploiting a gull-like wingspan .. sacrifices himself making plays in the hard areas .. developing as a playmaker .. moves the puck confidently – shows skill receiving pucks and making passes .. not a pure talent in terms of stickhandling and in-close finesse skills .. can refine puckhandling in tight quarters – shows too much of the puck .. can get much stronger as his ‘specimen’ frame is still relatively lean .. developing his awareness and expanding his field of vision will be critical areas .. plays with blinders on – fixates and gravitates to the puck .. benefits greatly by being a meaner physical presence – and has demonstrated a capacity to aggressively use his size to create space.”

Additional reading: Gauthier plays all-round game well beyond his years.

Craig Button has this to say about Frederic Gauthier:

Craig Button: I have watched Frederik for almost 2 years now and he has always impressed me. He played midget last season (His team lost in the TELUS CUP Midget Championship to Red Deer in an epic final) because he was considering going the NCAA route and was conditionally granted acceptance to Harvard University. He’s big, he’s smart and he may not run you over but he asserts with his size & takes advantage. he is a strong two-way player who plays all situations. he reminds me of Keith Primeau. He has not come out of nowhere, you just haven’t heard of him because he wasn’t on a ‘mainstream’ radar. Centers like him are rare and I have no doubt that he could be a top 10 player before long. Different player than Huberdeau but similar scenario as you point out.

  • quintensmids

    sigh. why not go for the fences with shinkaruk?

    • TheColborneUltimatum

      quintensmids Is Shinkaruk a winger?

      • quintensmids

        TheColborneUltimatum quintensmids hockeydb says center

        • Anthony Petrielli

          quintensmids TheColborneUltimatum He’s a winger.

        • quintensmids

          Anthony Petrielli quintensmids TheColborneUltimatum either way.. we needed a high ceiling pick, not a 2nd line at best (again)

        • dlb eh

          quintensmids Anthony Petrielli TheColborneUltimatum 
          it’s amazing you’ve already ruled him out

        • dlb eh

          quintensmids Anthony Petrielli TheColborneUltimatum 
          it’s amazing you’ve already ruled him out

        • Anthony Petrielli

          quintensmids Anthony Petrielli TheColborneUltimatum You feel ready to say Shinkaruk was a missed opportunity even though you didn’t know what position he plays?

        • Anthony Petrielli

          quintensmids Anthony Petrielli TheColborneUltimatum You feel ready to say Shinkaruk was a missed opportunity even though you didn’t know what position he plays?

        • Anthony Petrielli

          quintensmids Anthony Petrielli TheColborneUltimatum You feel ready to say Shinkaruk was a missed opportunity even though you didn’t know what position he plays?

        • quintensmids

          Anthony Petrielli quintensmids TheColborneUltimatum well, I thought he was a winger, then looked and saw Hdb said center.. I’ll admit I’ve seen nothing moretha highlight packs on either player, I just think that we should’ve went for the higher ceiling talent seeing as we have enough mid level “safe” players

        • quintensmids

          Anthony Petrielli quintensmids TheColborneUltimatum well, I thought he was a winger, then looked and saw Hdb said center.. I’ll admit I’ve seen nothing moretha highlight packs on either player, I just think that we should’ve went for the higher ceiling talent seeing as we have enough mid level “safe” players

        • Anthony Petrielli

          quintensmids Anthony Petrielli TheColborneUltimatum Eh, a 6’5 center has more raw upside than a 5’10 winger.

        • quintensmids

          Anthony Petrielli quintensmids TheColborneUltimatum how many points roughly could you see him putting up? I couldn’t imagine more than 40-50

        • Anthony Petrielli

          quintensmids Anthony Petrielli TheColborneUltimatum Need to see how he does next year. This was only his first year in the Q, not his second, so next year will be more telling. He had a good first year total all things considered.

  • quintensmids

    sigh. why not go for the fences with shinkaruk?

  • moimoi

    He better become Patrice Bergeron with size. If that happens then I’ll be extremely happy. But right now…

    • TheColborneUltimatum

      moimoi Any player we picked this late would take a few years to make the team. We needed a center. Seems like a fine pick.

      • dlb eh

        TheColborneUltimatum moimoi 
        kinda hard to say what we’ll need in a few years, isn’t it?

        • TheColborneUltimatum

          dlb eh TheColborneUltimatum moimoi We have wingers locked up. We needed a center.

        • dlb eh

          TheColborneUltimatum dlb eh moimoi 
          in a few years?  glad you know.  i’m always watching to see what happens next.

    • TheColborneUltimatum

      moimoi Any player we picked this late would take a few years to make the team. We needed a center. Seems like a fine pick.

    • Anthony Petrielli

      moimoi No pressure.

      • moimoi

        Anthony Petrielli moimoi Nope! None at all. 😉

  • happy_gilmour

    we`re all disappointed a bit, but hey, he`s a kid in the first round, hopefully good things are in store ahead
    Now, what`s going on with the trade front…

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Im happy with the pick

    • dlb eh

      Dangle_My_Berries 
      i’m not disappointed either.  truth is, i don’t know enough about them all to know any better.  all i can judge is what i see and what i hear.  and i hear good things.  and i see he’s big.

  • TheColborneUltimatum

    What happened with Grabo to Detroit? Was that just some odd error?

  • xerosawyer

    Lovely pick, very happy!

  • http://stores.ebay.ca/UncleJakesCards?_rdc=1 unclejakescards

    in 2 years this KID could be 6’6″ , well over 230 lbs ….. its a good pick , that could turn out great …..

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Meh!!…Rielly (and Gards) is still a Leaf so I’m happy.

  • moimoi

    I really just don’t want Shinkaruk in a Habs jersey. That would piss me off.

  • moimoi

    I really just don’t want Shinkaruk in a Habs jersey. That would piss me off.

  • dlb eh

    lol fast drafter

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Refresh for McKeen’s Draft Guide profile.

    • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

      Alec Brownscombe
       “fixates and gravitates to the puck .. benefits greatly by being a meaner physical presence – and has demonstrated a capacity to aggressively use his size to create space.”
      Very nice!!

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Refresh for McKeen’s Draft Guide profile.

  • quintensmids

    another 2nd line at best player to add to the collection…

  • Pent_House

    Colborne Crescenzi Gauthier, 100% we’ll have a monster bottom 6 in the future

    • leafmealone

      Pent_House And Broll/Devane too.

      • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

        leafmealone Pent_House Biggs

      • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

        leafmealone Pent_House Biggs

  • moimoi

    He was only 47% on draws in junior? That’s not very good, mind you he was a rookie.

  • -Keon-

    I like what I read, good pick, love his size and well-rounded game

  • Alex Tran

    He looks like he could be Kessel’s younger brother

  • Grabo Cant Ski

    Anyone know where Jordan Subban is projected..? Would be a nice pickup in the 3rd or 4th round

  • Alex Tran

    Lots of size available in this year’s draft. Interesting. Gotta be like the 5th 6’5 player taken already no?

  • Pent_House

    Great wheels for such size jeez. One play where he pasts the defender and tips in the pass was sick.

  • WendelGilmour

    If what we read is true, we got a kid I love. Happy as hell to be a Leaf too.

  • gjdevlin

    Solid pickup. Shattinkirk is small and that’s something the Leafs already have. It could lead to a new murdurers row if paired with Tyler Biggs. Leafs have not budged on any of their perspective drafts..Biggs, Colbourne, etc..DAmigo is also smallish so having Gautheir is a smart choice. The only first rounder we gave up is Schenn and look who we got back? Another big forward. Things are looking up in the forward department. The only caveat I have is Grabo and I think he should be traded.

    • Pent_House

      gjdevlin D’amigo is 210 lbs so not small exactly lol

      • gjdevlin

        He’s 5’11” isn’t he? Will he be up with the club this fall? Seems to be taking a while though…thoughts?

      • gjdevlin

        He’s 5’11” isn’t he? Will he be up with the club this fall? Seems to be taking a while though…thoughts?

        • Pent_House

          gjdevlin Yea 5’11 but at 210 lbs he’s thick as hell. I think he’ll crack the roster out of camp next season. He’s got 3 seasons in the AHL and he came in the league as a 19 year old, so he’s actually fast-tracked.

        • 4evrblue

          Pent_House gjdevlin I also think it’s Jerrys time to shine. Put him on a shutdown line with Kulemin and McClement, might not produce much offense but would be able to shut down the opposition

        • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

          gjdevlin Nonis said they are steering clear of height and are taking weight into account more and more. 5’10-5’11 and 210lbs is hard to knock off the puck.

        • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

          gjdevlin Nonis said they are steering clear of height and are taking weight into account more and more. 5’10-5’11 and 210lbs is hard to knock off the puck.

  • Pent_House

    Nice that he passed on Harvard, intelligent guy

  • Great Dane

    Difficult to talk when you had a broken jaw

  • B_Leaf

    So we got Gauthier…welcome young fella…I like big centers who can skate…sounds like a solid pick

  • Yaknowwhat

    Welcome aboard Gauthier!! grumble..murmur..grumble…

  • B_Leaf

    Leivo Gauthier Biggs

  • LeafErikson

    Size, and center depth matter. Can’t be mad about this pick, even if I was hoping they would take Shinkaruk.

    • mORRganRielly

      LeafErikson Welcome to MLHS!

    • leafmealone

      LeafErikson Best avatar EVER.

  • Great Dane

    TheCanucksnaphook what

    • 4evrblue

      TheCanucksnaphook Great Dane it was deleted but I really want to know what that post said lol

    • Pent_House

      TheCanucksnaphook 4evrblue Looked like it came from your account no?

    • TheCanucksnaphook

      Pent_House  Shit no.

  • Pent_House

    Leivo, Ashton, Biggs, Broll, Devane, Crescenzi, Colborne, Gauthier, Toninato, Ross, D’amigo. Maybe we don’t have the high-end talent, but lines 2-4 in the NHL is going to be massive, and tough holy shit. My kind of team. jeez.

    • The_Polish_Cannon

      Pent_House reading that list does have me pumped for the years to come. Our team is going to look like a bunch of line backers compared to the habs

    • The_Polish_Cannon

      Pent_House reading that list does have me pumped for the years to come. Our team is going to look like a bunch of line backers compared to the habs

  • whalz

    fukc guys, not a bad pick at all considering his size and skill………..if you guys were NHL scouts id be ok listening to some complain about this pick,,,but obviously the scouts liked this kid….
    centre is a big issue for this club and NONIS has mentioned its hard to acquire a big centre via trade, have to draft them.
    give this kid a chance

    • whalz

      look at the preivious board…………

    • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

      TheCanucksnaphook Previous thread had a plethora of bandwagon jumpers.

    • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

      TheCanucksnaphook Previous thread had a plethora of bandwagon jumpers.

    • Uncle Otis

      TheCanucksnaphook 
      More than a few

    • Alec Brownscombe

      @whalz Strikes me at face value as a little safe. That’s what we do in sports fan sites like these, man. We debate, analyse and offer opinion. If we just left it up to the scouts, being a fan would be pretty boring.
      I love beastly centers though so can’t hate this selection. Thought Shinkaruk dropping was an opportunity.

      • whalz

        oh i agree that we can complain and view our thoughts, however everyone was waiting for Shinkruk….wonder why his stock fell so much?  i like the pic of FG, especially almost puttting up a ppg as a rookie,,,,,

    • whalz

      exactly

  • jimmyg65

    These scouting reports certainly shine a better light on Gauthier.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    TheCanucksnaphook Yeah I came in expecting Rychel or Gauthier.

    • Uncle Otis

      TheCanucksnaphook Alec Brownscombe 
      They all had Shink dink 😉

  • http://stores.ebay.ca/UncleJakesCards?_rdc=1 unclejakescards

    TheCanucksnaphook i know, gauthiers name been there all month …..

  • Anthony Petrielli

    TheCanucksnaphook If you read the mock I said I wanted Gauthier but he was taken the pick before I could with the Leafs.

  • Pent_House

    Bottom 6 wins championships

    • Knights2Leafs

      Pent_House
      We were never going to get a 1C at this draft and aside from that we have a terrific top 6.  We are building the bottom 6 and that’s good.

  • http://stores.ebay.ca/UncleJakesCards?_rdc=1 unclejakescards

    so anyone know when the vancouver riot is gonna start ??? #firegillis

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/SeanFitz_Geraldhttps://twitter.com/SeanFitz_Gerald/status/351456751205359619
    TSN host James Duthie said he just spoke with Roberto Luongo. Said the goalie was “in shock,” declined interviews.

    • ProfessorRance

      wiski Hope he declines staying in vancouver.

    • leafmealone

      wiski Roberto Luongo currently working on a plan to have that surgery from the movie Face-Off done with him and Corey Schneider. lol

    • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

      wiski Probably at a Starbucks while his condo is having an Open House. Typical Gillis.

  • whalz

    ok boys who do we want in the 2nd rd?

  • Pent_House

    what number is our 2nd?

    • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

      Pent_House 51 I believe.

    • leafmealone

      Pent_House 30 picks after 21. 😉

    • davv

      Pent_House 52

  • Mattmark

    Can’t believe we got exactly the guy I wanted, probably the best that could have been expected from where we picked.  Glad Nonis didn’t trade away any assets!  Now everything depends on how well the scouts have done their work for the 2nd and 3rd round–those guys could prove equally valuable in the long term.

  • ClarkHitsBell

    Don’t be sad we didn’t pick Shikaruk…his chances of making the show are slim. He may grow but man the guys reeks of Jordan Schroeder 2.0. Who is Schroeder you ask? Exactly. If you don’t believe me then I challenge you to make a list of the top 10 scoring players under 6 feet tall and 200 pounds whose names don’t end with St. Louis or Kane.

  • Uncle Otis

    I seem to remember posters going apeshit when Leafs chose Reilly over Forsberg
    Right now not one person would trade them straight up.
    #trust Morrison

    • leafmealone

      Uncle Otis I bet Washington would have. lol

    • whalz

      yup

  • The_Duke

    I like the comparison to Couturier hopefully he turns into that type of player

  • DWCMLHS

    Should have been Shinkaruk. He never should have fallen so far.

    • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

      DWCMLHS blah blah blah.  Time to get over it please:)

      • DWCMLHS

        Radar O’Rielly DWCMLHS Meh. I’m not going to change my mind about the right pick because Gauthier is a Leaf now. This always happens. People never stick to their opinions. A guy becomes a Leaf, he’s suddenly good. A guy leaves the Leafs, he’s suddenly shit.

        • Uncle Otis

          DWCMLHS 
          Nobody expects you to change your mind…just stop bitching about it

        • DWCMLHS

          Uncle Otis DWCMLHS I’m just pissed, man. Waiting for Nonis to do at least something right since dealing with LCK, and he hasn’t. I want to see the Leafs do well. That’s it.

  • whalz

    duclair?
    fitzgerald?
    subban?
    cassels?

    • whalz

      i bet he goes in the next 5 picks

    • Pent_House

      @whalz duclair

      • whalz

        fastest player in draft……1st rd potential

  • Knights2Leafs

    I remember hearing about Gauthier about 2 months ago on Sirius Hockey Prospect Radio.  They had a guest scout on ( I forget his name) and he was talking about the hidden gem in this year’s draft being Gauthier.  Who knows, I’ve never seen him play but I’m good with the pick.

  • ErikGruber

    what the heck is a “specimen frame”