NHL 2016 DRAFT RADAR: JULIEN GAUTHIER

The Wings have dipped into the Val D’or pool previously to snatch up the silky mitts on Anthony Mantha a few years back. Mantha, while also praised for his size, was picked for his offensive abilities, not his physicality. Julien Gauthier doesn’t have the staggering numbers Mantha had, but he’s still comfortably above a point-per-game pace over his last two seasons with the QMJHL’s Val D’or. What the scouts truly love about him though is the fact that this kid is an absolute wrecking ball. He hails from a lineage of body builders, his dad was actually runner up for Mr. Universe, and you can tell by looking at him the genes didn’t skip a generation. At 6’4″, 229lbs one can only marvel at what this kid can do with his combination of size and offensive ability. Couple this with the fact that the kid can skate and immediately you understand the #12 rank for North American skaters by Central Scouting. Take a little bit of Nash, a touch of Lucic and the potential of this kid has teams getting hot. 

THE STATS

Damn, the kid can score goals. 79 goals over his last two seasons is what I love. Sure, everyone says the QMJHL is an easier, high-scoring league, but that doesn’t change the fact that he excels in this category. His PIMs show he’s not afraid to get physical but is conscious of the fact his value is higher on the ice than it is in the box. The bottom line is all the stats impress and this kid is a sure-fire first round pick. 

THE EYE TEST

An explosive power forward who boasts an elite-level skill package. Takes nothing for granted and plays with hard-nosed work ethic. Tremendous vision and outstanding hockey sense; thrives under pressure and doesn’t stray from the high-percentage play. Willingness to play physical and win battles in his own end makes him a vital asset, stepping up at the game’s key moments.
Exceptional skating ability allows him to stay with, if not ahead, of each unfolding play. Refined puck handling skills allow him to maintain puck control at breakneck speeds. All-in-all, a prolific scorer whose attitude and innate abilities will constantly propel him into dominance

Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects

Gauthier is an above average skater with above average size, speed and skill that allows him to play the role of a potential pro-style winger.

– Bob MacKenzie of TSN

DOES HE FIT WITH THE RED WINGS?

I say yes, and for many reasons. He’s a brick wall that can still toe-drag you into oblivion. The biggest knock on today’s power forwards is that they can’t keep up with the kids anymore. Here’s not only a prospect who can keep up but who could both obliterate and outpace his peers. Most importantly, the kid scores goals. A finisher can always be of value, especially on the Red Wings. Another minor but even more intriguing positive is Gauthier shoots right, which is still a major issue on both the big club and down with the Griffins. Sounds like a stupid thing to draft around but like I said, just an added bonus or potentially a tie breaker if stuck between two players.

If it had it my way, should Michael McLeod and Tyson Jost be off the board by the time the Wings select, Julien Gauthier would 100% be my guy. At the 16th pick there are too many question marks, too many undersized forwards with potential high-end skill, too many defenceman that could simply end up a good #3. Julien Gauthier has all the tools, he has the drive, he has the grit and he’s going to be ready for an NHL look sooner than later. It’s not just a safe pick either, Gauthier is a high-end talent and brings a lot of things to the Red Wings they simply don’t have on the team or in their system right now. I say go back to the Q and take this monster. 

Plus, look at that flow, boys: