The first round of the NHL entry draft is to take place on Thursday, July 7 in Montreal. At 8th overall, the Detroit Red Wings will be making their first-round selection. Based on talking to scouts, GMs and other hockey people, as well as studying the mock drafts of top NHL draft experts, Detroit Hockey Now is looking at players who could potentially be Detroit’s selection. Today, we look at Team USA’s left wing Cutter Gauthier.
American Cutter Gauthier has the size, shot, strength and skating ability to be a top NHLer. And if that isn’t enough, the big forward happens to be one of the top physical specimen’s in this year’s draft class.
Gauthier ranked in the Top 10 in six different categories at the NHL Scouting Combine and ranked No. 1 in the Wingate Test for peak power output.
“As far as potential goes, he has a high ceiling,” said former NHLer John Vanbiesbrouck who is USA Hockey’s Director of Hockey Operations. “Cutter has the power, along with the length, that’s why his ceiling is up there with Juraj Slafkovsky.”
TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the guru of draft analysis, ranked the Slovak Slafkovsky as the No. 1 prospect in the draft. He has Gauthier pegged at No. 5. He’s a 6-foot-4, 229-pound winger. Gauthier is 6-foot-2, 200 pounds.
Cutter Gauthier’s hockey path is similar to @AM34. He says, “It’s fun to see… whether it’s because we played with the NTDP or grew up in Arizona playing hockey. It’s great to see hockey growing in popularity, especially in the desert.”
#NHLDraft: https://t.co/mGDln4Fr8V pic.twitter.com/grE6Lx9Rjg
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 25, 2022
Gauthier played for USA’s U-18 team on a line with with Logan Cooley, ranked No. 3, and Jimmy Snuggerud who will also land in the first round. Vanbiesbrouck said that line is one of the best young lines he has ever seen.
“You get the puck on (Gauthier’s) stick and he gets it off really quickly and that’s the pro game,” Vanbiesbrouck said.
Gauthier netted 34 goals in 54 games this season. He is headed to Boston College, but he could be a one-and-done college player.
Why Might The Red Wings Select Gauthier?
The Red Wings would love to find a big, strong center at No. 8 and there’s been a lot of discussion around the scouting community about whether Gauthier can play center at the NHL level.
Vanbiesbrouck said he has heard Gauthier may play some center this season in college.
“Good players can play wherever you ask them to play and he’s a good player,” Vanbiesbrouck said.
Cutter’s Dad Sean was a pro goalie. He was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets, but never made the NHL. He was playing in Sweden at the end of his career. That’s why Cutter was born there. Even though Sean was a goalie, you can see his influence in Cutter’s game.
He has an innate sense of how to play the game. Even if the Red Wings don’t see him as a center, they would be interested in him at No. 8. There’s always room for a scorer with size and bite.
McKenzie ranks Cutter Gauthier over David Jiricek.
And FWIW, McKenzie's rankings tend to line up best with industry consensus. https://t.co/DTbKVyATEZ
— Charlie O'Connor (@charlieo_conn) June 28, 2022
Why Won’t The Red Wings Select Gauthier?
The biggest reason why the Red Wings won’t take Gauthier at No. 8 is that it is likely that he will already be off the board. Gauthier’s stock has been rising, and his performance at the combine increased the buzz about his potential to go earlier than anticipated.
Because he grew up in Scottsdale, there’s even been rumbling that the Arizona Coyotes might take him at No. 3. But it’s hard to believe they would pass up a chance to take Gauthier’s USA linemate, center Logan Cooley. Cooley could have end up having an impact on par with Shane Wright.
But even if the Coyotes don’t grab Gauthier, the Philadelphia Flyers seem very interested in him for the No. 5 pick. The Ottawa Senators are also linked to him at No. 7.
Earlier in the season, Gauthier was projected to land in the No. 7 to No. 10 range. But today, it seems less likely he will be there then.