Fletcher chose the best available forward while adding quality depth to the left wing. Already lacking depth within the system, Gauthier is a dynamic power-forward who protects the puck, skates hard, and finds the back of the net with a quick snap.
Committed to Boston College in 2022-2023, he was ranked third amongst North American skaters per NHL Central Scouting Rankings. His stock improved from a mid-first-round selection to a legit top-five prospect in the entire draft class. Gauthier proved to be a goal-scorer with USNTDP in 2021-2022, scoring 34 in the campaign. Now, he’s the first selection of the John Tortorella era with the Flyers.
Heading into training camp, Gauthier could become faster and smoother with his slapshot. He needs the final bit of polishing before cutting his teeth in the NHL. Quite frankly, Tortorella might be the best coach for Gauthier to adapt to the NHL under.
Philadelphia has to become cheaper and draft talented prospects. Oskar Lindblom is playing for an extension this season, needing a recovery season. James van Riemsdyk is the top contract Fletcher needs to move for cap space. Gauthier is an intelligent selection, replenishing the LW prospect pool with quality depth. Following his time with Boston College, he’ll make an aggressive jump to the AHL.
Gauthier is a prospect who could provide a required spark on the Flyers’ powerplay and penalty kill. The addition of Brad Shaw as an assistant coach on Tortorella’s bench fits Gauthier. Tortorella made it known how hard he wants Philadelphia to play, noting that he’ll physically and mentally test his roster. Gauthier can lead a counterattacking special teams unit. After all, that is the method under Tortorella and Shaw.
Think of a healthy Kevin Hayes. Remember how clutch he was on the penalty kill in the 2019-2020 season? Gauthier can be that kind of power forward. He can cloud the vision of a goaltender in the offensive zone and jump the pass from the defensive zone, using his reach to create a breakaway.
Next, the Flyers may address their lack of depth at RD. They found their dynamic forward. Gauthier fits as a top-six forward with the ability to play the middle of the ice.
The offseason is only beginning for Philadelphia. Maybe Fletcher makes a trade for a star who will welcome Gauthier into the NHL.
Broad Street welcomes you, Cutter Gauthier!
(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)