Following the team’s seventh consecutive loss, reality is settling back in for Philadelphia Flyers after a surprising and impressive start to the season. With a 7-8-4 record and quickly tumbling towards the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, it’s time to get an update on one of the pieces that could be part of the Flyers future, 2022 first-round draft pick Cutter Gauthier.
After struggling at center, Boston College head coach Greg Brown decided to experiment by putting Gauthier on the wing in early November. The good news for both the young prospect and Flyers fans is that the experiment didn’t last long, only one game in fact.
Gauthier made the transition back to center and has shot out of a cannon ever since. After the switch, Gauthier has four goals and six points in his last four games, which was highlighted by a two-goal, three-point performance against Northeastern.
“After I started playing my own game, not really thinking about all that nonsense, that little stuff, then I could start playing my way and it’s been showing and it’s been helping a lot,” Gauthier said to the Athletic earlier this week.
There’s evidence in Gauthier’s game that he can be a major scoring threat. While playing for the U.S. National Development U18 Team, Gauthier scored a total of 34 goals and 31 assists for 65 points in 54 games with a plus-33. While only a freshman at BC, Gauthier is off to a hot start scoring with six goals and nine points in eight games.
Although his offensive abilities have been off the charts, Gauthier has still been getting used to winning draws at the face-off circle.
“Just getting back into the center position where you’ve got to take faceoffs again, play a good defensive game, help break out pucks from the D-zone,” Gauthier said.
Despite having a three-point night against Northeastern, Gauthier was only 3-for-12 in face-offs that night. Overall, he has won 42 of 62 draws, putting him at a 67% face-off rating eight games into the season. This is certainly an encouraging sign for GM Chuck Fletcher, who was in attendance for the 18 year-old’s game against UMass-Lowell on Tuesday, and company.
Moments after being drafted fifth overall by the Flyers, the Swedish native Gauthier strived to“play in the National Hockey League as soon as possible.” He was recently asked again, with theanswer remaining the same.
“If that’s one year, two years, so be it,” Gauthier said. “But I see myself playing in the National Hockey League pretty soon here and trying to help the Flyers win games soon.”
Brown has also shown confidence in his freshman star.
“There’s not one part of his game that’s lacking that he really needs to improve,” Brown said. “But he’s not a finished product, either. So I wouldn’t specify one specific area that he’s in dire need to improve, but he will have to improve to be the player the Flyers want him to be. Just have to get stronger in everyarea to be sure, like all 18-year-olds.”
Gauthier is certainly on the right path to the NHL, however if he wants to make it there, he certainly needs to continue making the steps in the right direction. His strength, speed, and size are already impressive, but he needs to keep at it with his scoring ability, and continue to work hard on his face-offs to ensure those qualities are NHL ready. It’s a large jump to go from high school to college in general; it’s a whole other animal to go from college hockey to the NHL.