TLN Top Twenty Leafs Prospects: #9 Frederik Gauthier

Frederik Gauthier is perhaps the most interesting prospect in our rankings from a voting perspective. He has slid down six positions from last year’s preseason rankings, and one from the midterm grades, to ninth this time around. Among TLN’s writers, Gauthier was ranked anywhere from fourth to sixteenth, so this past season has some of us confused, myself certainly included.

The reason for Gauthier’s inability to stay in the top five of our list, despite the graduation and send-off of Rielly and Colborne, respectively, is that he failed to show any real signs of a step forward in his draft-plus-one season. In terms of production, he seems to have completely stalled. Heading into the 2013 draft, Gauthier was coming off a season where he posted 60 points in 62 games with Rimouski in the QMJHL. He followed that up this past year with 52 points in 54 games. 

For an NHL-drafted prospect returning to junior, the expectations for production are set at quite a high bar. And Gauthier isn’t a late-round pick, he’s the first guy the Leafs took last summer, 21st overall. While he isn’t a write-off by any means, his lack of output has sparked more questions about what type of NHL player he can become, where he might cap out. 

The word on Gauthier is that his offensive game is limited but he can read the game well and be responsible on the defensive side of the puck, working hard to be in the right places. While those are fine traits, it likely doesn’t project him higher than a bottom-six forward at the moment, so he has some work to do offensively in order to shake that image.

If we look at our rankings from last summer, our own Justin Fisher had this to say in his initial assessment of Gauthier: 

“It’s not hard to imagine Gauthier becoming a point-per-game-plus player with Rimouski next season. In fact, it would be a disappointment if he wasn’t. Whether that offense translates into the NHL will be the difference between a very big, very useful, second line center, or a third line defensive and penalty kill specialist.”

Gauthier currently looks to be headed toward the latter, and there’s nothing particularly wrong with that, as plenty of first rounders never become noteworthy NHLers. If Gauthier becomes a useful player on the Leafs’ third or fourth line down the road, I’m sure we’ll be fine with it, but we can’t help wishing a first-round selection had more to give in terms of puck skills and offensive ability. That’s on the team and scouting staff, however, not Gauthier.

Upon his return to junior this upcoming season, Gauthier will need to take a major step forward in his offensive game in order to convince us he’s more than a bottom-six option. If he can’t, we’ll have to continue to evaluate him under that set of expectations as he gets ready to turn pro after this year.

  • Benjamin

    I admit I haven’t seen Gauthier play, save for an unimpressive showing at the World Juniors, but not even putting up a PPG in his draft +1 season is really troubling.

    For me Gauthier’s potential has shifted from ‘will he top out as a two way 2C or shutdown 3C?’ to ‘will he be an NHL player at all?’

    • I still think Gauthier makes it in the NHL. He’s been used as a defensive specialist everywhere he’s gone, and excelled.

      That being said, anyone who was hoping for a big, two-way second liner, you might be disappointed. Right now, the ceiling is more likely a PK specialist who doesn’t help or hurt you at 5-on-5.

      • It all depends how on he develops.

        Big defensive center, without a lot of scoring?

        Does he become the next David Steckel?

        Does he turn into a better, faster version of Brian Boyle?

        He could become a better version of Brian Bolye, who always seems to show up during the play offs (19 timely points in 58 playoff games.) If that happens, I am ok with Gauthier.

          • Seriously, what do you get out of making all these impostor comments?

            The operators of this website can see your IP. They can see what is coming from the prairie provinces and what isn’t.

            Most of the regular readers here can distinguish between your short, often badly written comments and mine.

            Maybe the impostor comment was a little bit funny the first few times, but now that we are hundreds of posts later…it’s just annoying.

            So what is the point?

  • Don’t forget Freddy already has the tools to play in the NHL. I think his offence will translate to the showore than most prospects due to his style of play and size. He looks very comfortable at informal skates at MCC so far this summer, stealing pucks from both nykander and kadri at different times. I see him a little bit like zezel

    • I have the feeling that the Truth Observer comments and the impostor comments are coming from the same IP.

      It matches previous patterns. Fake comment shows up then Truth Observer or some other name shows about 3 minutes later.

  • Gumby

    It’s funny because are irrelevant as this is, it’s always simple to tell who the imposter is… Pretty much based on the fact that he can’t even pretend to make actual comments.

    His grammar is pretty laughable …

  • In today Nhl having a solid number 3 Center who can fill in the number two role in case of injury isn’t a bad thing for a 21’s pick, is it? Especially being so defensibly sound, good face off guy decent passer , what does it matter if hes not a 30 goal 70 point guy.If he can pop in 15-20 goals 30 assists for a 21st pick I’ll be more than happy.