Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Frédérik Gauthier Autographed Card

With leading rookie scorer Mitch Marner again on the injury list, the Toronto Maple Leafs have recalled their first-round draft pick from 2013 (21st overall) Frédérik Gauthier to fill a roster spot.

Though he may develop into a regular contributor, Gauthier so far hasn't shown any signs of becoming the next Cam Neely; he was close to but never a point-per-game performer in Juniors with the LHJMQ's Rimouski Océanic but still made Team Canada twice (U-18s and World Juniors) on the strength of a 6'4" frame carrying around 215 pounds of muscle. He's hard to take off the puck, although he doesn't do much with it (a single assist in 7 games at each of the 2014 and 2015 World Juniors, 1 goal and 5 assists for 6 points in 26 AHL games with the Toronto Marlies this season). He also seems to lack grit and combativeness; he may find it in a couple of years, which could turn him into a 40-point producer, probably a third-line center with the possibility of perhaps becoming a middle-six power forward winger.

Essentially, I see him having a career of ups and downs like Lars Eller.

The Leafs don't need him to surpass expectations à la Jamie Benn, what with the likes of Marner, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Morgan Rielly already on the roster, but the fans may always be vocal about the team spending a first-round pick to draft him instead of a second-round one, although that is not Gauthier's fault.

Here he is on card #50 from Upper Deck's 2014 Team Canada Juniors/Women set:
He signed it in blue sharpie last year, in the midst of a season that saw him post 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists and just 10 penalty minutes) in 56 AHL games in his first professional season.

Thus far, he has 4 points (2 goals and 2 assists) in 25 career NHL games, with 21 penalty minutes, 15 of them coming against the Montréal Canadiens.

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