Skip to main content

Headlines

prospect

Gauthier OK with being the center of attention

Top 2016 NHL Draft prospect has uncle to help with any questions

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / NHL.com Correspondent

Julien Gauthier has had his fair share of showcases in front of scouts.
 
But the Val-d'Or forward isn't stressing as each one brings him closer to the 2016 NHL Draft.
 
It helps that he has gotten some good advice along the way.

Denis Gauthier, Julien's uncle, spent parts of 10 seasons in the NHL, playing 554 games with the Calgary Flames, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings.
 
"He always said not to put too much pressure on myself and just play a simple game," Julien said. "He's been there before me. He knows how it works. I try to listen to him as much as I can. He's always giving me good tips and tricks."
 
Gauthier, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2016 draft, has gotten used to having eyes on him by now.

His showcase season began in August as the only draft-eligible skater at Canada's national junior team summer development camp. It continued when the 6-foot-3, 225-pound right wing was one of four members of the 2016 draft class to represent the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the Canada-Russia Series in November.
 
In December, he was the only draft-eligible player to skate for Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
 
Gauthier then was one of 40 top draft-eligible players in the Canadian Hockey League invited to participate in the 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 28 in Vancouver, a showcase designed for NHL scouts and general managers to evaluate the top CHL talent for the draft.
 
Beyond the big events, Gauthier has 34 goals in 36 games with Val-d'Or.
 
"He's a skilled power forward that can score," said NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr. "Very good skater with size and strength. Has a strong, fluid stride with deceptive speed. He plays a physical game, is willing to battle for pucks down low and positioning to the net. He has adept hockey sense, offensive instincts and playmaking skills to get open on the play and finish his chances. Responsible and hard-working in all zones."
 
Nerves would be understandable for an 18-year-old in the crosshairs of 30 NHL teams. But Gauthier said he isn't bothered, even when talking with the scouts piecing together critiques of his game.
 
"They want to get to know you, I think," Gauthier said. "We talk about hockey a little bit, but we talk about my off-ice training a lot. We talk about how I am as a person and my family. They just want to get to know you. When you meet them again after, you talk a little bit more about hockey. But for the most part, they just want me to talk about myself."
 
If Gauthier is nervous, he doesn't let on. Instead, he said he has absorbed each experience.
 
"Of course there's pressure when you're at those events," he said. "But you need to take it positively. It's not bad for you. Yes, for sure there's pressure. But I think you just have to put it away and play your simple game.
 
"I'm just making sure I'm taking care of what I can do on the ice. When you think too much on the ice, that's when you play bad and you start thinking too much and you're not in your game. You have to focus on the little details. It'll make you better on the ice."
 
It's advice heeded from his uncle.
 
But not all the tricks work. Being one of the top prospects for the 2016 draft remains an unavoidable topic of conversation.
 
"Every day my friends and family or my teammates talk about it to me," Gauthier said. "I'm not watching it by myself, but they always tell me. I cannot avoid it, but I try not to think about it too much."

View More