Despite my lack of interest in the whole hoopla that surrounds these occasions, yesterday’s NHL Draft in New Jersey wasn’t too bad. The Leafs actually had a pretty decent day, although I won’t go as far as to give it a grade. (What’s the point, when it may take years to work out the impact on your organisation?)
However, what I will do is tell you eight things that you may or may not know about the Leafs first round draft pick, Frederik Gauthier:
1) HE’S FRENCH-CANADIAN
However, despite being born and raised in Quebec (come on now, let’s not hold it against the guy), Gauthier speaks perfect English. Okay, so it’s not perfect per se, but it’s still better than mine.
2) HE’S 6FT 3IN AND 193 LBS
Or 6ft 4in and 219 lbs. Or 6ft 5in and 210 lbs. Or 6ft 5 ins and 215 lbs. It depends on who you ask. Regardless, the kid’s pretty big for an 18-year old and he should make for an extremely intimidating presence on the ice for the Leafs.
3) HE RISES TO THE OCCASION
Gauthier scored the winning goal for Canada in their gold medal game against the USA in the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. He also had three assists in his seven games at the tournament, which all came during the playoff rounds. Just the type of clutch player the Leafs could have used in game seven against the Bruins. (What, you’re kidding me?! It’s still too soon to mention that?!?!)
4) HE HAS ALL THE TOOLS
Gauthier may well never be considered a top offensive threat, but this is countered by scouting reports that say his defensive game was among the best in this year’s draft class. He is “an incredible back-checking centre, who has too many tools to ignore”. Fine, just as long as he’s not arrogant with it.
5) HE COULD IMPACT TYLER BOZAK’S FUTURE IN TORONTO
Mr Bozak would do well to take note of this statistic: During the 2012/13 season, Gauthier led all first-year players in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with a face-off winning percentage of 46.6%. He also ranked fourth among first-year players, with 60 points (22 goals & 38 assists) in 62 games.
6) FUN FACT NUMBER ONE
Not sure how much this really matters, but his mum, Sophie Normandin, was an international swimmer. As long as Gauthier doesn’t have a tendency to dive at the first sign of contact, we should be okay.
7) THE LEAFS WERE LUCKY TO GET HIM
In some respects, the Leafs were fortunate Gauthier was still available for the 21st pick, having been ranked number eight by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. The Bureau is the department within the NHL that ranks prospects for the entry draft, based on how well they will translate to the professional game. And as we all know, you can always trust any company with the word ‘Bureau’ in it’s title.
8 ) FUN FACT NUMBER TWO
Gauthier’s favourite TV shows include Prison Break and Suits. Someone really needs to introduce him to Game of Thrones or at least get him onto reruns of Lost on Netflix.
Photo credit: @NHL_rumor_mill
If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk
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