Arizona Coyotes Draft Targets: Cutter Gauthier

The Arizona Coyotes are in the midst of a lengthy rebuild, and general manager Bill Armstrong has been very vocal about wanting to build a competitive team. The path to doing so for the Coyotes will begin Thursday night with the 2022 NHL Entry Draft and will offer the team a chance to get on the right track.

Arizona possesses 10 total picks in the draft, and seven in the first two rounds alone. The team’s highest selection, third overall, the third in franchise history, has the potential to have a huge impact on the team’s trajectory.

Related: Cutter Gauthier – 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

The top three candidates seem to be set — with Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky, and Logan Cooley in everyone’s sights — and because anything and everything can happen on draft day, today’s post will analyze what it would look like if the Coyotes do indeed decide to go in a different route and take Scottsdale native Cutter Gauthier at third overall.

Gauthier Brings Size, High Skillset to the Table

Before the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, many assumed the Montreal Canadiens would take Wright first overall, with New Jersey taking Slafkovsky second, leaving Cooley at third for the Coyotes. Recent reports and rumors state that might not be the case, leading to speculation as to whom Montreal will select first overall. That in turn may lead to Armstrong looking elsewhere at third overall. He’s stated they want guys that want to be in Arizona, who have ‘hockey sense’, and can play in big moments. Who better than Arizona native Cutter Gauthier?

Cutter Gauthier USNTDP
Cutter Gauthier, USNTDP (Rena Laverty / USA Hockey’s NTDP)

Gauthier, who’s set to lace up the skates for Boston College this upcoming fall, had quite the season in the US National Development Program, logging 65 points on 34 goals and 31 assists in 54 games, good for fifth on the team behind a star-studded list including Frank Nazar, Logan Cooley, and Rutger McGroarty.

While listed as a center, he spent the majority of this past season on the wing to teammate Cooley. Nevertheless, he thrived when given the chance to play center, and will get the chance at Boston College this upcoming season. Gauthier’s size is also of note at 6-foot-3, 200 lbs, he has shown his ability to use that size to his advantage with incredibly fast first step quickness, and smart playmaking abilities, hence his rise from late first-rounder to potential top-five/10 pick.

Playmaking Ability Eye Catching For Coyotes

Gauthier would be a much sought-after addition to the Coyotes because of his pro-level hockey IQ and on-ice awareness. He controls the puck well with his long reach and can go hard and crash the net for second-chance rebounds and opportunities. While he struggles in some areas, he makes up for it with a quick release and a strong defensive game, especially on the penalty kill. He can stop on a dime and change direction with first-step quickness and has the ability to play and deliver in big moments.

Cutter Gauthier USNTDP
Cutter Gauthier, USNTDP (Rena Laverty / USA Hockey’s NTDP)

Not only does Gauthier have all the skills necessary to make a name for himself in the Coyotes organization if selected, but he also has the home card playing for him, as he’s from Scottsdale, Arizona and has grown up with NHL prospects Josh Doan and Matthew Knies. While he most certainly will play for the Eagles next year, working on his skill, fans won’t have to wait long to see his playmaking ability at the NHL level.

As it stands at the time of publication, Arizona has just three centers signed beyond the 2022-23 season. Armstrong has a busy offseason ahead of him, which will likely include acquiring aging players on bloated contracts in exchange for future assets, and Gauthier if used at the center position would help provide a much-needed cushion as the team looks for their franchise center man.

The Coyotes’ rebuild begins with the 2022 NHL Draft, and if the team is looking to make a splash and select someone that has the ability to lead the franchise into the future and makes them a competitive team, then expect Armstrong to announce a shocker and select the Arizona kid.

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