Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day our LWOS Prospects Writers will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2023 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow Ben Kerr, Kyle Pereira and Frederik Frandson on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! Today we bring you our Ethan Gauthier Scouting Report.
Ethan Gauthier was the first overall pick in the 2021 QMJHL Draft. He put up 18 goals and 21 assists for 39 points in 65 games. Gauthier also scored one goal and three assists for four points in 11 playoff games. It was a solid, but unspectacular rookie season.
Gauthier really broke out this year and put together an impressive draft season. He started off hot with six goals and seven points in just five games at the Hlinka/Gretzky Cup. Gauthier lead the tournament in goals and helped Team Canada to a gold medal, making a real statement. He also put up 30 goals and 39 assists for 69 points in 66 games with the Sherbrooke Phoenix. Gauthier won the QMJHL’s Mike Bossy award as the league’s best pro prospect. He scored four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 11 playoff games. This off-season Gauthier was traded to the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
His father, Denis Gauthier, had a long NHL career and is most known for his time with the Los Angeles Kings. His cousin, Julien Gauther was a first-round pick and has played for Carolina, the New York Rangers, and the Ottawa Senators.
Ethan Gauthier Scouting Report
Right Wing — shoots Right
Born January 26th, 2005 — Phoenix, Arizona
Height 5’11” — Weight 175 lbs [180 cm / 79 kg]
Gauthier is an excellent skater and this helps him to play a 200-foot game. He has a textbook skating stride which gives him excellent acceleration and very good speed. He wins races for loose pucks. His strong skating allows Gauthier to get in quickly on the forecheck as well as to get back defensively. Gauthier also has very good edgework and agility. He can maneuver in and out of traffic, both with and without the puck. This allows Gauthier to be dangerous in the transition game as well as to get to open areas to take a pass in the offensive zone. Gauthier could add more muscle to his frame though. He plays a physical and gritty game at the junior level but will need to bulk up to play this style in the pros.
Gauthier is willing to play a physical and gritty game. He gets to the front of the net and scores goals in tight with good hands. He can score off rebounds, deke goalies in tight, use his hand-eye co-ordination to get deflections and bang in short passes from teammates. Gauthier can also score from further out with a good wrist shot and quick release. He is more than willing to play in the dirty areas of the ice. Gauthier goes to the net, with and without the puck. He gets in quickly on the forecheck causing defenders to turn the puck over. He is also able to win battles on the boards and control the puck in the cycle game.
Gauthier plays a straightforward but effective game. He is not the most creative playmaker. Instead, Gauthier makes short safe passes on the cycle game, looking to keep possession of the puck and waiting for a defender to get caught flat-footed or make a mistake to create a scoring chance. When an opportunity presents itself, he will cut to the net. He is a bit skinny to play this style in the NHL, and will need time to add muscle to his frame. He could also work on carrying the puck through the neutral zone and creating zone entries.
Gauthier is a hard worker and brings his gritty play in all three zones. He supports the defence down low and uses his physical game to keep attackers on the outside when defending against the cycle. He also uses a quick stick to poke-check opponents and create turnovers. Gauthier is a smart player. He reads the play extremely well and uses his stick to cut down passing lanes. He is also willing to put his body on the line to block shots. When a turnover is created, Gauthier is quick to gather the loose puck and make a smart first pass to start the transition game.
Projection and Comparison
Gauthier’s skating and work ethic make him an intriguing prospect. It is unlikely that he will have enough offence to be a true play driver in the NHL. However, his skills and gritty style could see him develop into an excellent support piece in a top-two-line role. Even if the offence doesn’t develop, he could still make the NHL in a bottom-six role thanks to his strong defensive game and willingness to play a physical game. Gauthier’s style is reminiscent of Alex Burrows but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on his skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Ethan Gauthier that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Ethan Gauthier with his 5th goal, 14th point in 7 games.
His stock is going to be rising for the 2023 draft on this wildly dangerous line with Joshua Roy and Justin Gill. pic.twitter.com/BT8zuzl8SL
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) October 9, 2022
2023 Draft prospect Ethan Gauthier with a beautiful skate, cut to the middle and he cuts the Mooseheads lead to two. pic.twitter.com/cWi3GoC3Ly
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) May 3, 2023
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) April 30, 2023
Check back later for our latest draft article.
Main photo by: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports