The ECHL issued a media release on Nov. 1 that announced Matthew Gaudreau, younger brother of Calgary Flames forward, Johnny Gaudreau, was named one of the league’s top performers of the month.
Starting the Season Off Strong
Gaudreau had an exceptional month of October to begin the season. He has put up five goals and five assists in nine games. The press release states, “Gaudreau posted an even or better rating in each of his eight games during the month, including posting a +2 on Oct. 12 at Newfoundland and on Oct. 19 against Maine.”
What is most impressive about that statistic is that the Newfoundland Growlers are the defending champions in the ECHL after winning the Kelly Cup in June. Now, it is still early in the season, but putting up good numbers against strong teams is not something to glaze over. Gaudreau is averaging a goal per game overall and is currently leading his team in shots with 32.
Gaudreau is in his third professional year split between the ECHL and American Hockey League. He played 50 games for the ECHL’s Worcester Railers last season, putting up 12 goals and 21 assists for a total 33 points. This year, he was invited to the Calgary Flames training camp but did not stick around very long. He was sent down to AHL Stockton as a result of roster cuts, then he was reassigned to ECHL Reading where he is playing for the Royals in the current season. The Reading Royals act as the ECHL affiliate for the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL.
In August he told the Calgary Herald, “My goal is to be in the AHL for the whole entire season.” (from ‘Johnny Gaudreau’s younger brother Matt signed to Flames’ farm team,’ Calgary Herald, 9/21/2019) So far he has gotten the opportunity to play in 17 AHL games over the last two season for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In those games, he combined for five points, with one goal and four assists. If his play continues as it started, it is very likely he will get a call-up sooner rather than later and come closer to reaching that goal of being in the AHL as long as possible.
Gaudreau is currently among good company as well. Reading (as of Nov. 5), sits at a mere second in the ECHL standings with a 6-3-1 record. They also hold the top of the Eastern Conference by a single point and the North Division by two points. Last season, Reading finished 14th in the league standings, so getting a hot start is definitely in their best interest.
Boston College Days
The Gaudreau brothers got their shot to play together in Johnny’s junior season at Boston College. Matthew played all four years, while Johnny’s collegiate career was cut a year short when he was signed by the Flames the same day he won the Hobey Baker Award for the 2013-14 season. Fans have speculated in the past that Johnny could have started his career with the Flames a year earlier, but ultimately, he made the decision to stay at Boston College and play his first and only season alongside his brother.
Living Up to Johnny
There is no denying Matthew lives in a bit of a shadow but that does not leave him with a trace of bitterness. The siblings often vocalize their support for each other’s careers when asked about it in the media. Matthew handles it with grace as he said in another Calgary Sun article just before the 2019 All-Star Game, “He’s one of the best players anyone’s probably played against, so it really doesn’t bother me,” Gaudreau said. “He’s one of a kind. People saying ‘you’re not as good as him’ … well, you’ll never be as good as him either.” (from ‘Matthew Gaudreau a proud younger brother,’ (from ‘Matthew Gaudreau is a proud younger brother,’ Calgary Sun – 1/25/19)
It’s tough to say now, but is there any possibility we see the Gaudreau brothers together in Calgary? Matthew has a way to go, but if he keeps up the great work, it may not seem so far-fetched of an idea. Now to get the Tkachuk brothers on the same team…