With the Vancouver Canucks’ 2017-18 season inching closer to its conclusion, talk of prospects is escalating. Adam Gaudette, one of those prospects, has been tearing up the NCAA and it has the Canucks and fans very, very excited. The two-way center just received his second consecutive Hockey Commissioners’ Association National Division Player of the Month (January/February) honours. A leader on and off the ice, the Northeastern Huskies are cherishing Gaudette’s services before he makes the inevitable leap to the NHL.
Gaudette the Husky
“We have unfinished business, a lot of things we want to take care of this year.” – Gaudette told the Hockey Journal in November
Huskies are known for their immense appetites and that’s what Gaudette was coming into the 2017-18 season: hungry. He is arguably the best player in the NCAA and leads the league in scoring with 29 goals and 56 points in 34 games. In February alone, Gaudette chalked up 17 points in eight games for an NCAA-best 2.12 points per game.
His success is no fluke. Gaudette puts in the work – he’s almost always the last guy off the ice at practice – and gets rewarded.
“I think I bring a lot of heart and hard work to the team and that rubs off on other guys. I try to do all the little things right, and just work my hardest.” – Gaudette told the Boston Globe
Coming into this season, his goals were clear: win a Beanpot, Hockey East, and a National Championship. He’s already slaughtered one of those goals and is well on the way to achieving the other two. Gaudette led the Huskies to their first Beanpot Championship in 30 years, chalking up three goals in the finals.
He plays on a line with Chicago Blackhawks prospect and play-making stud, Dylan Sikura, who is tied for third in NCAA scoring. Huskies coach, Jim Madigan, who was a scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2006-2011, sees a dynamic that is eerily familiar:
“Those two read off each other really well,” Madigan told the Hockey Journal. “I came out of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization; it’s almost like when they had (Chris) Kunitz and (Sidney) Crosby.”
Gaudette says that he models his game after Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron, 200-foot centers who take care of their own end first, find the score sheet regularly and lead their team on and off the ice. It’s just a matter of time before Gaudette is lining up against his idols and putting his game to the ultimate test.
Gaudette: Husky to Orca
The Canucks selected Gaudette late in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL draft. Management has been banking on his development for quite some time and they are excited about their long-term investment paying dividends. Canucks’ Director of player development, Ryan Johnson, is particularly satisfied:
“He’s been somebody I’ve kind of had in my back pocket for a couple years and now I can’t keep him secret anymore,” Johnson said in July. “It’s amazing to see his strength and his stride coming together the way we thought it would.”
If Gaudette is so good then why isn’t he playing in the NHL? Well, the Canucks didn’t want to rush the development of an asset. They saw his potential when they drafted him but they also saw that he needed a considerable amount of time to grow as a young man and a player before he was ready to make the jump. Though would like to play in the NHL, he knew that he wasn’t ready, a testament to his maturity and character.
“It was a mutual decision to come back another year… it’s good to have the guys up there (with the Canucks) on the same page as we are here. It’s all about development” – Gaudette.
Now, with the Huskies howlin’, it’s unclear if Gaudette will be in the NHL for a few games this season, like Brock Boeser did last season. It all depends on how far the Huskies go in the playoffs.
Are you fired up about Gaudette? Let me know in the comments below!