2018-19 Team: Prince George Cougars
Date of Birth: February 15, 2001
Place of Birth: Calgary, Alberta
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 190 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
Prince George Cougar’s goaltender Taylor Gauthier is one of the most unique goalies of the 2019 draft class. That’s due to the fact that he’s a right-handed catcher, something that is very seldom seen in the NHL. By being “backwards” compared to other goaltenders, Gauthier provides an extra challenge for shooters who are so used to goalies who catch with their left hand.
Related: NHL Draft Guide | 2019 Edition
Gauthier was the top goalie selected in the 2016 Bantam Draft, taken 10th overall, ahead of fellow 2019 draft-eligible goalie Trent Miner. Looking at his numbers, they don’t exactly jump off the page. In his rookie season, he played 32 games, putting up a 3.96 goals-against average (GAA) and a .885 save percentage (SV%).
In 2018-19, he played significantly more – 55 games. His numbers got a little bit better with a 3.25 GAA and .899 SV%. That being said, he’s also been playing on a team that finished last in the Western Conference both seasons he’s played. Still, his numbers could be better.
What helps his case for the draft is his international play to date. His best came in the Hlinka Gretzky Memorial Cup, where his two games played held a 1.11 GAA and a .943 SV%. He also helped the team win a gold medal. A season prior, he played in the U17 World Hockey Challenge, playing five games and recording a 2.42 GAA and .915 SV%.
His biggest stage came this season at the IIHF World U18 Hockey Championship, where he split games with 2019 draft-eligible goalie Nolan Maier (as he did at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup). He played four games, recording a 3.02 GAA and a .914 SV%. Maier played three games but got the start in the bronze medal game over Gauthier.
Gauthier has a great deal of potential. He has the ability to steal games but struggles with consistency. He is an extremely athletic goalie, as The Athletic’s Corey Pronman says, he is the most athletic netminder of his draft class. He has elite movement, especially post-to-post. Gauthier is definitely worth the gamble for the NHL team that drafts him, (from, “Pronman’s 2019 NHL Draft Board: Top goalie prospects” – The Athletic – May 23, 2019).
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Taylor Gauthier – NHL Draft Projection
Gauthier may be one of the later goalies taken in the draft. As goalies tend to get drafted later anyway, he could fall as far as the sixth or seventh round. At this point, the beginning of the sixth may be the earliest Gauthier is selected.
“Gauthier, the 10th-overall pick in his Bantam Draft, is the most athletic goalie in this draft class by a wide margin. He has game-stealing capabilities and is a regular on the highlight reel. His side-to-side movements are elite, he’s a right glove who can snag for-sure goals out of the air and overall he can make tough saves consistently. Gauthier also gives shooters a different look as a right-glove goaltender. On his best night, he looks like the best goalie in this class. However, he has moments that keep him from being that. Gauthier over slides on pucks, and he makes bad decisions both on his puck-playing and positional play. He’s also not the biggest goalie, which doesn’t give him much margin for error. His numbers this season reflect his inconsistency but the talent is absolutely worth betting on,” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (from, “Pronman’s 2019 NHL Draft Board: Top goalie prospects” – The Athletic – May 23, 2019).
“Competitiveness, he loves to battle and loves to compete. His athleticism – he is a flexible guy and can make a lot of saves guys just can’t physically do. His conditioning is great. We are really riding him hard now and he is handling all of that really well. He’s got a real good sense for the game he can read a lot of shots. He makes saves based on knowing where the puck is supposed to be.” – Taylor Dakers, Prince George Cougars goaltending coach.
- Hockey Sense
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Puck Handling
Some games, Gauthier looks like he could be the best goalie available at the draft. There are other times where he looks like he could significantly slide when draft day comes. If he continues to improve his game and finds more consistency, he could be an NHL starter.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Goaltending – 6.5/10
Gauthier has become a fixture on the junior teams for Team Canada. But before he was representing his nation, he was putting up great numbers in the Alberta Major Bantam league. In back-to-back seasons, he led the league in GAA (1.21 and 1.22) and SV% (.950 and .948) and was honoured as the Top Goaltender each season. That led to him being taken 10th overall in the 2016 Bantam Draft. In 2016-17, he won a gold medal with Team Alberta in the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup and in 2018-19 he won a gold medal with Team Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Memorial Cup.