Colorado Avalanche 2016 Draft Prospect: Julien Gauthier

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Mikko Rantanen poses with team executives after being selected as the number ten overall pick to the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Mikko Rantanen poses with team executives after being selected as the number ten overall pick to the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche could possibly draft Julien Gauthier in the 2016 NHL Draft. Gauthier is a big bodied winger with a knack for sniping goals.

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The Colorado Avalanche were “awarded” the tenth overall pick for the second season in a row. I say “awarded” because the true reward would have been the playoffs, but perhaps the pick this year will help toward that goal.

Barring any huge trades (a definite possibility after missing the playoffs again), they can be anticipated to stay at 10 for this year’s draft at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York on June 24-25.

There are a plethora of options available at that pick, but one individual that they may consider is Julien Gauthier from the QMJHL.

Gauthier is ranked a little further back in the first round by most rankings (in the mid teens to even twenties), but Future Considerations has him ranked at tenth.

After the top three picks (Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Jesse Puljujarvi) it’s essentially anyone’s guess who’s going to be drafted. Especially after players like Matthew Tkachuk, Olli Juolevi, and Mikhail Sergachev come off the board and the tenth pick looms.

So Julien Gauthier could very well be on the list for the Colorado Avalanche. Gauthier is from Quebec, which would certainly mean a connection between him and Patrick Roy.

Gauthier’s uncle, Denis Gauthier, also played in the NHL for 11 seasons on and off for the Flames, Coyotes, Flyers, and Kings (1997 – 2008). He was a defenseman, and was drafted 20th overall in the 1995 draft by the Flames.

Julien Gauthier projects to go a bit higher, and contribute a lot more on the offensive end obviously, but his skills defensively are well tuned.

Julien Gauthier Statistics

Position: Right wing

Shoots: Right

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 225

Age: 18

Minor Team: QMJHL Val-d’Or Foreurs

NHL Player Most Like: Rick Nash

Probability of NHL Success: Extremely likely, easily within 1-2 years.

Julien Gauthier Scouting Report

The first thing that you notice about Gauthier is his size, and how great a fit he would be for the current direction of the Colorado Avalanche roster.

He’s only a couple inches shorter than Logan Brown (another option for the Avs at the tenth pick), and he even has a couple pounds on Brown as well, and plenty more time to fill out.

Related Story: Colorado Avalanche 2016 Draft Prospect: Logan Brown

However, the most enticing thing about Julien Gauthier is his defensive responsibility, and ability to play as a very successful power forward at both ends of the ice.

Here’s a great article about the potential of Gauthier floating into the draft as an underdog; the article is a bit outdated, but still gives you a good sense of what to expect from the young winger.

Gauthier is a great skater, according to Today’s Slapshot, but he also possesses sweet hands, and dominate puck control with his speed. He will be a goal-scorer through and through, but also has the hands to contribute on a top line.

He’s also touted as a hard-worker, never giving up on a play, and always in front of the play where he can ensure that he is always a part of how things are unfolding on the ice. Here’s what Elite Prospects has to say about him:

"An explosive power forward who boasts an elite-level skill package. Takes nothing for granted and plays with hard-nosed work ethic. Tremendous vision and outstanding hockey sense; thrives under pressure and doesn’t stray from the high-percentage play. Willingness to play physical and win battles in his own end makes him a vital asset, stepping up at the game’s key moments. Exceptional skating ability allows him to stay with, if not ahead, of each unfolding play. Refined puckhandling skills allow him to maintain puck control at breakneck speeds. All-in-all, a prolific scorer whose attitude and innate abilities will constantly propel him into dominance. (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)"

And, if you want to see what people around the scouting world have to say about him, and what he has to say about his own game, check out the video below:

The thing that stood out to me in that video is that the Buffalo scout had him ranked as high as No. 2 overall.

That’s obviously not the case now with Patrik Laine emerging on the scene, and maybe even challenging Auston Matthews for the No. 1 pick, but it still shows how much upside Gauthier has.

Anyway, here’s some French-Canadian commentated highlights of the young kid. I love the yelling of the announcer.

It’s obvious that he has an absolute rocket of a wrist shot, with plenty of speed behind his slapper as well. So, if the Avalanche do draft Gauthier, they can expect a real good goal-scorer, which the are in need of right now.

Julien Gauthier Potential Fit with the Colorado Avalanche

Gauthier is a perfect fit for the Colorado Avalanche because their depth at the right wing position is abysmal right now.

With the exception of Mikko Rantanen, the Avalanche are short a top six right winger, and they don’t even know if Rantanen is going to be able to contribute at a top six level next season.

If the Colorado Avalanche are able to sign Mikkel Boedker, then their depth at the left wing position will be solidified, especially if they retain Shawn Matthias as well.

With Gabriel Landeskog, Boedker, and Matthias on the left wing, the Colorado Avalanche will be set down the left line.

The right line is another story however.

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Jarome Iginla is probably looking at his final season in the NHL next year, and even with Mikko Rantanen coming in next season, the Colorado Avalanche are still shy one top-six right shooting right winger.

They could sign Alexander Radulov this summer, and would certainly have a bonafide right winger in that case, but he shoots left.

Three out of the four players relatively guaranteed (barring trades) to be in the top six next season also shoot left: Matt Duchene, Mikhail Grigorenko,and Gabe Landeskog with Nathan MacKinnon the lone righty.

Rantanen also shoots left, and he is unproven at the NHL level; in other words, there’s no way to judge what he will contribute to the team next season.

Gauthier will certainly take some time to develop, but he shoots right, and is a right winger, where the Colorado Avalanche are currently struggling for depth immensely.

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Furthermore, Gauthier is also a highly skilled, big-bodied winger capable of playing the game at both ends of the ice, which is exactly what the Avalanche need in their forwards right now.

It’s going to be a fun summer (up until August) and there are plenty of options for the Avalanche with the tenth pick.

Fans can (likely) be sure that the Avalanche will select a forward, and probably one with a lot of size because that is the mold that the Avalanche are currently seeking with their forwards.