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Gauthier cleared to return to Oceanic lineup next week

by Mike G. Morreale

Rookie forward Frederik Gauthier of the Rimouski Oceanic is expected to return to the lineup Monday following a seven-game absence with an upper body injury.

"Fred will be 100-percent cleared to play starting next Monday," team vice president Philippe Boucher told via email. "It could happen that he plays this weekend, but I would be very surprised."

Gauthier, who reportedly suffered a broken jaw in a Nov. 3 victory against the Quebec Remparts, is an A-rated skater in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of players to watch in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Prior to his injury, he was opening some eyes this season with 10 goals, 20 points and a plus-12 rating in 18 games for the Oceanic.

"He goes right through the middle and knocks over players like they were bowling pins," NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau told "Some say he could go among the top 15 in the draft."

Rimouski is scheduled to play Chicoutimi on Friday before back-to-back meetings with Baie-Comeau. Gauthier would then resume play Nov. 23 against Drummondville.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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