Massimo Rizzo to face former Flyers prospect Cutter Gauthier for national title

Apr 11, 2024; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Boston College Eagles forward Cutter Gauthier (19)
Apr 11, 2024; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Boston College Eagles forward Cutter Gauthier (19) / Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

There was always going to be a chance that this would happen. The Cutter Gauthier story is well- known so we won't dive into that. But Flyers' fans haven't been able to stop seeing their former top prospect make headlines at the collegiate level.

After scoring in the Frozen Four against Michigan, Gauthier tied the franchise record at Boston College for the most goals in a single season. His 38 goals are also the most in the NCAA since 2005-6. He is four goals from tying the most by a U20 player in NCAA history. Unless Gauthier has a monster outing in the title game, he won't reach that.

But the sophomore has put together quite the season for Boston and could soon turn pro with the Anaheim Ducks next season. That still hurts to say. But first, he will have to face a current Flyers prospect.

Massimo Rizzo and Denver will go for their second title in three seasons. Bobby Brink was a part of the Denver team that won in 2022. Rizzo, an unsigned Hurricanes prospect at the time, was a freshman. He returned to the lineup after missing over two months due to injury. The team fared extremely well in his absence.

Rizzo did not end up recording a point in their 2-1 win over Boston University, but he was on the ice for both goals. He was also credited with a block. It's uncertain what will happen with Rizzo after his junior year. The Flyers seem to have interest in him as he was the expected return in the Tony DeAngelo deal that fell through due to cap circumvention concerns.

Rizzo was a top playmaker for Denver this season, registering a career-high 34 assists. His goal-scoring, however, regressed. He posted just 10 goals a season after scoring 17. Rizzo did play in 10 fewer games this season. However, he did go through a few droughts this season, including seven games in November. He did register eight assists, though.

Going into his draft year in 2019, NHL Central Scouting ranked him 84th, while others had him much lower. He ended up being the second to last pick in the draft. His trajectory since that has been a good one for a player taken that late. Scoring goals has never been Rizzo's top asset. He has never topped the 20-goal mark in his junior or collegiate career. Most of his points have come on assists, frequently topping 25+ a season. Unless you count the 60 goals he scored on a U15 team in 2015-16, Rizzo has always been more of a playmaker than a scorer.

Unfortunately, only being a playmaker isn't a skill that will get Rizzo to the NHL. The Flyers hold his rights until next summer so they could wait another year to see if he rounds out his game more Even so, Rizzo is likely destined for the Phantoms to begin his professional career if he is signed in Philadelphia. The ceiling doesn't seem high for him at the NHL level. That's not to say he couldn't have an impact. It may just be as a bottom-six forward, but teams covet those types of players if they can help. His size is also an issue, but we have watched smaller players succeed at the highest level so that isn't his biggest hurdle.

But first, Rizzo and Denver will have to find a way to shut down Gauthier and BC.