2016 NHL Draft: Julien Gauthier Has Brawn, And Plenty Of It

Julien Gauthier has the brawn, but what about the hockey IQ?

  • Position: RW
  • Shoots: Right
  • Height: 6'3" (via NHL Combine)
  • Weight: 231 (via NHL Combine)
  • Team: Val D'or Foreurs (QMJHL)
  • Hometown: Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec
  • Birth Year: October 15, 1997/

Julien Gauthier has the skill, but does he have the smarts to match?

Julien Gauthier is from a family of body builders (his dad was the former Mr. Canada) and that was no more evident than at the NHL Combine when he finished second in overall weight, first in the standing long jump, second in the vertical jump, and seventh in the duration bike test. If any player in the draft has NHL size it's Gauthier and he could probably even afford to get a little bit leaner in his muscle.

You don't get that big without having a fantastic work ethic and Gauthier definitely has that. Furthermore, he has one of the better skillsets of the players who might be available to the Predators at 17th overall. Despite his size, Gauthier has fantastic speed, good hands, and a pro-level shot and scoring ability to boot.

So, why would a player who is so big and so skilled be projected as far back as the mid-twenties? It all comes down to one word: consistency. Many scouts who viewed Gauthier have, quite frankly, been unimpressed with his ability to make a significant impact on a game-to-game basis and that has been attributed to his hockey IQ. The deciding factor in his draft rankings is whether or not the scout in question believes Gauthier has the hockey IQ to make a consistent impact in the NHL.

Is Gauthier Worth the 17th Overall Pick?

Whether or not the Predators should pick Gauthier is really up to who they side with on Gauthier's ice-Q. They should have a pretty good idea about how highly they view Gauthier having watched him playing alongside Nashville Predators' 2015 draft pick Anthony Richard. Furthermore, last draft the Predators used three of their first four picks for QMJHL players and Gauthier would continue that trend.

If the Predators take Gauthier they would be getting a player with legitimate top three potential in the NHL and, from that perspective, you definitely could not argue with the pick.