While the thought of drafting a solid two-way forward may not be appealing to the average hockey fan, judging by his steady rise in the 2013 NHL Draft rankings, it looks like hockey scouts are excited about the potential of Rimouski Oceanic center, Frederik Gauthier.
Gauthier made the most of his first season in the QMJHL, finishing fourth among all rookie scorers and earning a berth on that league's All-Rookie Team. In 62 games for the Oceanic, Gauthier scored 22 goals and added 38 assists for 60 points. But the Laval, Quebec native wins his highest marks for his already well-defined defensive skills, as evidenced by his +22 rating during the regular season.
At the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship, Gauthier used his turn on the international stage to boost his draft stock a bit higher as he and his Team Canada teammates took home the gold medal from that tournament for the first time since 2008. Gauthier played particularly well in the playoff round, notching three assists in Canada's three playoff games.
At 6'5” and 209 pounds, Gauthier is already an imposing physical specimen. But, while some younger players of Gauthier's size seem to struggle with awkwardness, that hasn't been the case for Gauthier. His combination of size, defensive awareness, and smarts are the attributes that make Gauthier an almost certain top 20 selection at this year's NHL Draft.
Gauthier spoke with the media at the 2013 NHL Combine, some of which is captured in this Hockey's Future video.
Hockey's Future will be dripping out video interviews from the 2013 NHL Combine over the next few weeks as part of our coverage of the 2013 NHL Draft. You can keep up with these videos as they are released by visiting the HF home page on a regular basis, or by following the HF Twitter feed at @HockeysFuture.