The Philadelphia Flyers Select Cutter Gauthier 5th Overall
After a truly brutal season for all involved, the time rolled around to the NHL Draft where GM Chuck Fletcher, firmly on the hot seat, would be tested with the 5th overall selection that could dramatically change the fabric of the Philadelphia Flyers for years to come. While the pick itself was anyones guess, Shane Wright’s dramatic “fall” surely scrambled some teams jets, the Flyers chose the soon-to-be Boston College centerman, Cutter Gauthier.
Gauthier, a quick riser in through the NHL Draft cycle was always depicted as one of the more volatile prospects in the first round, with potential to go incredibly high or find himself landing closer to the middle of the round.
Performing at over a point per game as a member of the U.S. National Development Team, Gauthier would always find himself in the first round conversation, but had a torrid performance at the under 18 World Juniors where he put up 9 points in 6 games en route to a silver medal.
As a player Gauthier provides a lot to be really excited about. Drafted as a winger, but expected to play center for the Boston College Eagles this coming year, Gauthier has already shown an offensive versatility that would be valuable for a Flyers team that boasts a ton of players who can slot in at multiple positions.
Described as “the modern power forward” the 6’3” Gauthier weighs in at just shy of 200 pounds, and manages to both fill that role and defy it. A solid puck handler with a wicked shot, Gauthier is ready and willing to get down and dirty, especially driving the net. He also is an incredible skater given his size and play-style, which, while his skating is far from flawless, is incredible for a prospect of his skillset.
If Gauthier has any potential weaknesses, it comes in his passing game, which can be best described as lazy and worse described as unwilling. Not liking to throw the puck through tight windows, Gauthier prefers to carry the puck himself, which can be both a blessing and a curse.
Gauthier also has a pretty solid two-way game, which, while not necessarily being a strength of his, is certainly something that can be said to his favor. He does impressively in the transition game, but can occasionally seem flat-footed once the opponent has set up in his defensive zone.
More-so than anything, Cutter Gauthier is a prospect intended to swing for the fences. If he breaks properly, the Flyers may have a big-bodied offensive star on their hands, but his floor is far lower than a number of other prospects that were on the board. Based on Chuck Fletcher’s previous moves, he clearly values the physical edge Gauthier definitely provides, but with Cutter’s likely several year development still to come, any definitive statements are hard to make.
Either way, Gauthier is as volatile a prospect as he ever was, and his development will definitely be one to monitor as the Flyers try and re-discover their identity in the post-Giroux era.