Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com has submitted his rankings of the Top 30 draft-eligible prospects of 2016. Check back each day as we prepare for the 2016 NHL Draft, which will be held at First Niagara Center here in Buffalo on June 24 and 25.
#19. Julien Gauthier – RW, Val-d’Or (QMJHL)
|(Photo Credit: Getty Images) |
A highly gifted goal scorer with a massive 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame, Gauthier’s hot start to the 2015-16 campaign saw him land a coveted underage spot on Team Canada for the IIHF 2016 World Junior Championship.
The torrid goal-scoring pace continued after the high profile tournament with Gauthier finishing the year with 41 goals, including 11 on the power play and five game-winners, to go along with 16 assists in 54 games with the Foreurs.
While things usually come easy to man-child bodies in the junior ranks, Gauthier’s body of work suggests he’s player who earns every inch of the ice he’s given by employing a full-bore power forward style. He regularly barrels into the corners to assert his size, he protects the puck well using his frame and reach to thwart off defenders.
And he’s a tough player to manage in front of the net due to his quick hands and sniping ability as evidenced by his 19.7 percent shooting efficiency during the regular season.
Much is made of Gauthier’s scoring ability, but scouts are equally impressed with his defensive positioning and commitment to penalty killing duties.
The well-rounded nature of his game is perhaps underrated in that regard, but teams in the middle of the first round will no doubt do their homework and have a good plan to patiently develop this compelling and gifted prospect.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline and an updated organizational depth chart, check out Kris Baker’s website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects).