One of a handful of Canucks prospects hitting the ice at the 2016 Canucks Development Camp this week in Shawnigan Lake is Adam Gaudette, a centre with Northeastern University who tallied 30 points (12-18-30) in 41 games, finishing 11th among all NCAA freshman in scoring.
“He had such a strong season with Northeastern,” said Canucks Director of Player Development Stan Smyl. “Winning the Hockey East Conference was a big confidence booster for him as he was a big part of it. He is a strong, two-way centre that can also play right wing for you. He contributes everywhere such as the penalty kill and power play, but what impressed me was his play five-on-five. He stood out in that area and to me five-on-five makes a difference in a player and is going to make a difference in his game.”
Overall, his 30 points as a first-year player looks good. But what makes his season even more impressive was the work he did after January 1, scoring 25 points in his final 23 games, as opposed to just five points in his first 16 games.
“I knew I was going to come in and play a little bit,” said Gaudette, who spent the majority of the season as the second line centre. “I just tried to play my game so I could stay in the lineup and have a good spot. I started to produce a little bit and got more time on the power play, which helped. I just felt right out there and every game I got more and more comfortable.
“My linemates and I found what worked with each other. We got comfortable with each other, had more confidence out there and it just came more naturally.”
All of this for a guy that wasn’t even supposed to be playing in the NCAA last season. The plan was to spend another season with Cedar Rapids in the USHL, where he had 30 points (13-17-30) in 50 games during the 2014-15 campaign, then enroll with Northeastern for the 2016-17 season. But things changed.
“I chatted with the Northeastern coaches a bit earlier the previous season and they talked about perhaps bringing me in a year early,” said Gaudette, a fifth round pick in 2015. “I had a good season and they decided to bring me to Northeastern a year early and it was great for me cause I could come back and play so close to home.”
The decision worked out well for the Braintree, MA product. Northeastern captured their first Hockey East Tournament Championship since 1988. Gaudette tallied a goal and assist as they got past Thatcher Demko and Boston University in the semifinals. He then had another goal in the Championship game, a 3-2 win over UMass-Lowell.
One thing that was evident in watching those games was his motor that didn’t seem to ever stop. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder was noticeably one of the hardest working players on the ice shift after shift, something he says has been a part of his game since he was a youngster.
“It’s always been there since I was a little,” said Gaudette. “My parents really put that through me and my brother’s brains. It’s how we grew up. We were taught to work hard at what you do and you will get great results.”
He may not have been a first round pick, and he may not have posted record-breaking numbers, but with a couple more seasons in the NCAA, Adam Gaudette could develop into a steal of a fifth round pick for the Canucks.