The Charlotte Checkers begin their playoff berth on the road tonight against the Providence Bruins at 7:05PM EST. Before the puck drop, however, this week’s installment of One for the Future focuses on yet another promising offensive prospect, Julien Gauthier.
Julien Gauthier was selected 21st overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Gauthier’s professional hockey career began with the Val-d’Or Foreurs, when he was drafted 6th overall in the QMJHL Entry Draft in 2013.
Gauthier registered 27 points in 23 games in his fourth season with the Foreurs before being traded to the Saint John Sea Dogs. After attending the Carolina Hurricanes training camp in 2017, Gauthier was assigned to the Charlotte Checkers for the 2017-18 season, and would turn in a 25-point performance in 65 games played.
This season, however, Julien Gauthier seems to have found his groove, as the young forward finished the 2018-19 regular season with 41 points (25 of which are goals) over 75 games played. Gauthier has been absolutely phenomenal when paired with Martin Necas and Andrew Poturalski.
Gauthier may not be as NHL-ready as the past few prospects featured in this series, but he has been compared to current NHL-er Rick Nash by quite a few different outlets. Curtis Joe of EliteProspects had this to say about Gauthier in 2016:
"[Gauthier is] an explosive power forward who boasts an elite-level skill package. Takes nothing for granted and plays with hard-nosed work ethic. Tremendous vision and outstanding hockey sense; thrives under pressure and doesn’t stray from the high-percentage play.Willingness to play physical and win battles in his own end makes him a vital asset, stepping up at the game’s key moments.Exceptional skating ability allows him to stay with, if not ahead, of each unfolding play. Refined puck handling skills allow him to maintain puck control at breakneck speeds. All-in-all, a prolific scorer whose attitude and innate abilities will constantly propel him into dominance"
The future is indeed bright, Caniacs. With prospects like Aleksi Saarela and Patrick Brown drawing into the Hurricanes’ lineup due to injuries, we are offered a glimpse into the potential that these young players have to impact the roster in the coming seasons.
Question for CC Readers: Which Hurricanes prospect(s) are you currently the most excited for, and why?