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2016 NHL draft profile: Julien Gauthier a big, powerful skater who can score

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The big, strong, goal-scoring winger would make a lot of Flyers fans happy.

Ken Andersen/Getty Images

Julien Gauthier, the big winger from the Val-d'Or Foreurs of the QMJHL, is an imposing player. His size plays a large part in that fact, but it’s his play that really makes him stand out. He’s a classic "bull" that wrecks havoc the closer to the net he gets, and has no problem going full speed into the dirty areas on the ice.

Gauthier is going to be a fan and coaches dream because of his ability to use his body in all three zones effectively.

Julien Gauthier

  • Born: October 15, 1997
  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Height: 6'4"
  • Weight: 225 lbs
  • Team: Val-d'Or
  • Position: Wing
Statistics


Fun play-style with game-changing scoring

The first thing you notice about Gauthier is his presence on the ice. Every draft has multiple "size" prospects, but simply having size doesn’t translate to a single play style. With Gauthier, he uses his body as an advantage going in transition, something that many other players of that build lack as prospects. I was very impressed at his ability to skate with the puck down ice instead of letting his team move it down and just get in front of the net.

This pairs well with his smooth skating. When in straight transition, he uses a long, strong stride that, while not lightning speed, is still capable for professional leagues. What’s more impressive is his skating in tighter areas, where he can dip, dodge and dangle defenders as well as the small play-making forwards in his class. Add this trait into his size and willingness to crash the net, and its no wonder Gauthier has scored 79 goals over the last two seasons.

And scoring is what he does best. Looking over some clips, he is a sniper that’s more effective from the circle -- and I didn't expect to see that going in. He shoots with decent speed and accuracy with a tendency to go top shelf, not bad for a 6’4, 230 pound kid. His work in close may be among the best in the draft class, and that’s where he’s going to excel most making it into the NHL. In transition, he always breaks full speed towards the net, making him dangerous in odd man rushes. With offensive zone possession, he’ll make a living between the circles and in the trapezoid, where he gobbles up rebounds and loose pucks like it’s Thanksgiving dinner.

As a defender, he’s a willing back checker. He only had 24 penalty minutes on the year which makes me think he was more effective then not with that back checking. He also uses his size to take away lanes and block shots when needed.  He played on the penalty kill as well, though I’m not sure a pro team will want their big scoring winger to be taking blasts into his shins by the time he makes an NHL roster. He makes the effort and doesn’t take bad penalties, so at the very worst I don’t think he will have a negative impact on defense.

Is he a fit for the Flyers?

I know Gauthier is considered a "faller" right now. He was considered an almost top 10 selection a few months back and now some scouting departments are ranking him in the 20s. I’m not really sure why this is, honestly. He plays a game that should transition into the pros effectively. I was never skeptical of him as a prospect, but if anything, a deeper dive into his game has made me like him even more. I don’t know how the Flyers draft board is going to look, but I wouldn’t be surprised or disappointed if they call Gauthier at No. 18 if he’s still there.