|Gabe Gauthier is LAKings.com's Prospect of the Month |
The list of places that Gabe Gauthier has spent significant time in over the last 12 years is long and extensive.
There were the 14 years he spent growing up in California, followed by the year living playing hockey in Massachusetts. Then he went to Chilliwack, British Columbia where he spent three seasons with the Chilliwack Chiefs, a Tier II Junior A hockey team that has since relocated to Langley Township, British Columbia.
Then Gauthier went to Denver and spent four years playing at the University of Denver until he signed with the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on July 12, 2006.
The next two seasons were spent with stints in Manchester with the Monarchs and in Los Angeles at the NHL level with the Kings. The past two seasons Gauthier has spent the full time in Manchester, where has proven to be a crucial part of the Monarchs success.
With a team-leading 20 assists this season, Gauthier is this week's LAKings.com's Prospect of the Week.
In 49 games this season, Gauthier has amassed 28 points on eight goals and 20 assists, and is a critical component of a Monarchs team that has remained atop the Atlantic Division despite an immense amount of roster transition.
"It's difficult, especially this season with all the injuries and the call-ups to the Kings," Gauthier said. "The main thing myself and the coaches talked about is that no matter if we have the same lineup from the start of the season or a different one, the team goal is to play like the Kings do under Terry Murray."
Los Angeles Kings Director of Player Development, Nelson Emerson, said that the veteran leadership Gauthier brings is invaluable to a young Manchester team.
"Every team needs that," Emerson said. "It doesn't matter what level or probably even what sport. It's real crucial to have a guy that's been in situations and has experience to come in and play the way he's playing so its been real beneficial to the team, not just him."
For parts of the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, Gauthier spent time with the Kings. In eight total games with the Kings Gauthier did not register a point. Yet more important than getting in the box score, Gauthier said he learned greatly from playing with players such as Anze Kopitar
and Dustin Brown
"I learned a lot of things but the thing I learned the most was how defensive minded every player is," Gauthier said. "Even the top goal-scorers, they concentrate on defense first and that translates into offense. They take pride in their defense."
Emerson said that he believes Gauthier has the talent to play at the top level. He also pointed out that during his time with the Kings, Gauthier learned, as do all young players making the jump to the NHL, that the pace of the game is different.
"One thing about all the players when they come up is I think they see how hard these guys work, not only in the games but how hard they work in practice and how hard they work off the ice as far as conditioning and their habits," Emerson said. "They take everything that they do very professionally and I think that's what they've all learned."
In his fourth year with the Monarchs, Gauthier said that he has gained a level of confidence that has translated into a higher level of production, something not lost on Emerson.
"He's really matured and he's taken this leadership role and the fact he needs to be good every game for the Monarchs to a high level," Emerson said.
Over the past 12 years, Gauthier's goal to play in the NHL has taken him across the United States and even to Canada, thanks to a difficult decision made by him and his family.
"It was a sacrifice to me and my family had to make for me to leave home at 14 to pursue my dream," Gauthier said. "It was tough but it was necessary for my goal to be achieved."VEY, BERNIER EARN ACCOLADES
Manchester Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier
and Medicine Hat Tigers forward Linden Vey
earned accolades this past week for their high-level of play.
On Feb. 1, Bernier was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for stopping 85-of-87 shots in three appearances, including consecutive shutouts. This season, Bernier has played in 38 games and has a record of 21-11-5, a 1.90 goals-against average, a .942 saves percentage, and six shutouts.
On Feb. 2, Vey was named the HUSKY WHL Player of the Month for January. In the month of January, Vey notched 25 points on eight goals and 17 assists, in addition to a rating of plus-4. On the season, Vey has 63 points on 21 goals and 42 assists in 56 games for the Tigers.