2015-16 Team: Val-d’Or Foreurs (#12)
Date of Birth: October 15, 1997
Place of Birth: Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 230 lbs
Position: Right Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2016 first-year eligible
THW The Next Ones Ranking: 28th (June)
- THW Alternate: 25th (June)
- THW War Room: 27th (May)
- Future Considerations: 21st (June)
- ISS: 21st (June)
- Bob McKenzie: 17th (June)
- Craig Button: 43rd (June)
Julien Gauthier comes from unique stock. His uncle is Denis Gauthier, a first round pick in 1995, and his uncle’s extended family includes the Rougeau wrestling family. When you watch Gauthier play, it’s hard not to imagine him as a combatant in the squared circle. A physically mature player that uses his size well, Gauthier has been a name that’s had first round buzz throughout this entire season.
Gauthier plays a smart, mature game, and it’s obvious from watching him move around the ice that he knows the tools that will get him to the National Hockey League. An aspiring power forward, he has impressive speed and acceleration on his skates for a player of his size, and once he’s up to speed he’s really difficult to stop. He’s basically a freight train once he gets going, and he’s able to drive the net and create havoc for the opposition. That said, his skill game has arguably not yet caught up to his physical development. His offensive game is a bit overly dependent on getting chances in-close, and he could arguably use his teammates a bit better in terms of distributing the puck a bit. He was said to show some really good skill at lower levels of hockey, so the abilities are there, he just needs to use them more often.
He’ll need a bit of seasoning, and he seems to be the type of player that could really use a year or two in the AHL getting challenged rather than spending it in the QMJHL pushing around smaller kids, but Gauthier has the size and the raw skills to be a difference-maker in the NHL. It’s up to him to keep maturing and developing before that can happen, though. As it stands, his physical attributes alone should ensure he’ll be at least a functional NHLer.
NHL Draft Projection:
Gauthier is projected to go in the mid-to-late first round.
“He is a big, strong winger with a powerful stride and impressive top speed. He is tough to contain when he is at the top of his game. Consistency has been an issue in the past but he remains an enormous prospect with many impressive pro traits, such as a rocket of a shot and terrific vision in traffic. Can be creative with the puck and set up his teammates with well-timed passes; is a beast along the wall and in the corners” – Future Considerations
“Gauthier prides himself on his offense, his ability to find teammates when he’s in traffic and his skating. He wants to make sure his defensive play is up to snuff too and he has made some nice early impressions in his junior career. Gauthier was one of the youngest players at Canada’s world junior camp over the summer and the 2016 draft prospect relished the experience.” – Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
- Uses size well, drives the net.
- Good hockey sense, situational awareness in offensive zone.
- Plays with an edge.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make):
- Could be better at using his teammates.
- Could be better in his own zone, particularly with positioning.
- Acceleration could be improved a bit.
Gauthier projects as a top-six winger at the NHL level based on his offensive talent.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offense 8.5/10, Defense 7.5/10
Gauthier played in the World Juniors as an 18-year-old with Team Canada.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.