Frederik Gauthier is precisely the kind of player that the Toronto Maple Leafs need right now. The 19-year-old was given the QMJHL’s Guy Carbonneau award last night, which is the league’s version of the NHL’s Selke Trophy. Given the Maple Leafs’ struggles in their own end this season, this is great news for the organization.
Frederik Gauthier was awarded the QMJHL’s Guy-Carbonneau award last night as the league’s best defensive forward. pic.twitter.com/mLIZOppuJW
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) March 28, 2015
Drafted with the 21st-overall pick in 2013, Gauthier has been touted as a talented two-way center since his draft year. While less flashy than some of the forwards selected ahead of him (Anthony Mantha, Max Domi), the 6’4″, 215-pound center is a dog in all three zones.
When a guy as big as Gauthier hustles like a Darren Helm or Marian Hossa, it tends to get the attention of scouts. Chris Bordeleau of NHL Central Scouting had this to say about the pivot during his draft year (via NHL.com):
I’ve never seen a kid get back and play defense like he does in 20 years. In his own end, he’s always around the puck. A kid that can play defense like he does at his age, with that kind of maturity, is very rare.
It seems that both Bordeleau and the Maple Leafs were spot on in their projections for Gauthier. Toronto’s top line has been scorched frequently and repeatedly as the wheels have fallen off the team since January. With talented finishers like Phil Kessel in place, forwards with more of a two-way sensibility are needed to round out the roster.
Given Gauthier’s highly advanced defensive ability, will he earn a place in the NHL for the 2015-16 season? Accolades like the Guy Carbonneau award should only help his case. What do you think Leafs fans? Do you want to see Gauthier in Toronto next October?