Nathan Gaucher — 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Nathan Gaucher

2021-22 Team: Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Date of Birth: Nov. 06, 2006
Place of Birth: Longueuil. QC, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-3, Wt: 207 pounds
Shoots: Right
Position: Center
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 First Year Eligible

Rankings

Lacking flash and high-end puck skills, one word will always be associated with Nathan Gaucher: reliable, because head coach Patrick Roy utilizes Gaucher in all situations. A big-bodied, two-way center, who possesses a nice scoring touch, he’s a safe pick even if he lacks elite offensive upside.

Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide

The lack of offense will likely see him fall out of the top of the draft, but his size and solid two-way play should keep him in the first round. He had a strong 2020-21 season, scoring 31 points in 30 games and leading the Remparts despite being one of the team’s youngest players. His offense has trailed off a little this season, with 31 points in 44 games, but with 20 of his 30 points being goals, he’s shown his goal-scoring potential.

At 6-foot-3, 207 pounds, he’s a menacing force through the middle and uses his size very well. He plays a mean brand of hockey and isn’t afraid to throw his weight around. Offensively, he plays a power game, routinely dropping his shoulder and forcing his way to the net while also dominating below the circles and along the boards. The one elite skill he possesses offensively is his net-front play. Drawing comparisons to New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider, Gaucher does a lot of his scoring in front. Not only does he dominate this area physically, but he also shows good awareness and an ability to ghost away from defenders, opening himself up to receive a pass. He also shows good hands in these areas and an ability to finish chances and tip pucks.

Nathan Gaucher Quebec Remparts
Nathan Gaucher, Quebec Remparts (Photo: Jonathan Roy)

His net-front talent makes him a threat on the power play, even in a limited role. Gaucher is a fantastic penalty-killer who can anchor a top unit. With one of the best motors in the draft, he never takes a shift off and is always causing havoc for the opposition. He can impact the game in all three zones but projects more as a defensive center who can chip in with some goals at the next level. A solid skater for his size, he has some issues with acceleration and agility but has a good top speed. It’s unlikely he will be more than an average skater in the NHL, but his skating shouldn’t hold him back at the next level either.

Gaucher is elite defensively and has the goal-scoring upside to excite scouts. Not a player who will routinely pull fans out of their seats, he’s the kind of reliable center coaches dream of. His excellent net-front play makes him a potential 20-goal-scorer, who could even crack 30-goals on occasion if he improves his stickhandling and is given significant power-play time.

Nathan Gaucher — NHL Draft Projection

Gaucher projects as a late first-round or early second-round pick. His relatively low offensive upside makes it hard to see any team picking him before 20, but his high floor should see him picked somewhere in the 25-40 range. He projects as a middle-six pivot who can shut down the opposition’s best players, kill penalties, and chip in with goals. Still likely a few years away from being NHL ready, he will be a safe pick for whoever drafts him.

Quotable

“Gaucher is a big centre who can play well in both ends of the ice. He was nominated for the Guy Carbonneau Award as the top defensive forward in the QMJHL. He is very good positionally and uses his big body and long stick to cut down passing and shooting lanes. Gaucher has also shown that he is effective in the face-off circle. Gaucher is also able to create offensively. He uses his long stick, big body, and good stickhandling skills to protect the puck and work the cycle game. When an opportunity presents itself, he is not afraid to take the puck to the front of the net. Gaucher has the creativity and vision to set up teammates when he gets to those areas. He also has a very good shot and release. This allows him to score goals as well.” Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports

“Big two-way forward with a great scoring touch around the net. Needs to learn to utilize his physical tools more efficiently to fulfill his potential as a top-six NHL forward.” Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects

Nathan Gaucher Quebec Remparts
Nathan Gaucher, Quebec Remparts (Photo: Jonathan Roy)

“If he buys in, I see Gaucher’s ceiling as a top-six forward with some potential as a second line center, although I would prefer him on the wing where he can regularly be relied on for his strong battle skills and powerful shot. Even if he doesn’t achieve the best-case scenario, Gaucher has the potential to be a bottom-six forward capable of filling a checking role and developing into a shut-down center after a few seasons. ” Shaun Richardson, FCHockey

“Gaucher is a highly skilled and competitive center. He possesses a bulky 6-foot-3 frame and is a physical player, which allows him to win a lot of puck battles. Gaucher creates a lot of offense around the net due to his physical tools. He’s a responsible two-way player who can PK well. Offensively, he’s not flashy mostly due to a lack of top-end speed, but he has the hands and vision to make plays inside the offensive zone. He creates a lot around the hard areas of the ice. Gaucher projects as a top-two-line center in the NHL who won’t be a big scorer but will have significant two-way value.” Corey Pronman, The Athletic (from ‘The 2022 NHL Draft ranking: Pronman’s top 32 prospects at the midseason mark,’ Jan. 19, 2022)

Strengths

  • Two-Way Play
  • Net-Front Precence
  • Physicality
  • Defensive Positioning

Weaknesses

  • Agility and acceleration
  • Stickhandling

Risk/Reward Analysis

Risk — 1.5/5, Reward — 3.5/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense — 5.5/10, Defense — 8.5/10

Awards/Achievments

Nominated for the Guy Carbonneau Award, given to the best defensive forward in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Led the Remparts in points during the 2020-21 season.

Nathan Gaucher Statistic

Videos

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