World Junior Hopefuls: Johnny Gaudreau

Ryan Pike
November 27 2012 09:36AM

Every year, the annual IIHF World Junior Championship tournament provides young hockey players with a great opportunity to show their wares against the best players from the age-group from throughout the world. It's a great development tool and players as varied as Jarome Iginla, Roman Horak and Leland Irving have had the chance to represent their nations at the World Juniors. Over the next few weeks, we're going to take a look at the chances of the various Flames prospects vying for World Junior roster spots.

Next up is Johnny Gaudreau.

WHO IS THIS GUY?

Calgary's fourth round selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Gaudreau is a small man. Initially listed as 5-5 and 135 pounds by NHL Central Scouting, the New Jersey native has gradually grown. He's not a towering presence quite yet, but he's now roughly 5-8 and probably 175 pounds. He joined the NCAA's Boston College Eagles last season.

On the ice, Gaudreau is a towering presence, though, and it's mostly due to his play. Flat-out, the kid has got skills. He's also pretty clutch. As of this writing, he has 19 points in 11 games this season and a combined 63 points in 55 college games. Oh yeah, and he was the MVP of both the Beanpot Tournament (between Boston-area schools) and the Hockey East playoffs. Finally, he scored a bunch of awesome goals in the NCAA championship tournament, which his team won.

He's a pretty great hockey player, is considered a contender for the prestigeous Hobey Baker Award, and will not be legally able to drink in the United States until August 2014.

IS HE ON THEIR RADAR?

Gaudreau was invited to the selection camp for the American World Junior team last winter, but was one of the last cuts – something he credits for motivating his tremendous play in the second half of the season. He was invited to the summer evaluation camp this past August and reportedly looked very good, to the point where the coaching staff were putting him on a line with Montreal Canadiens first round pick Alex Galchenyuk.

You don't do that unless you're auditioning somebody for a top-line job.

WHAT ARE HIS CHANCES?

A lot of pundits, including our friends at the United States of Hockey, are saying Johnny Gaudreau is a lock for a roster spot.

Given his resume, we can't really disagree.

He's driving play and scoring really cool-looking goals against guys that are both much bigger and much older than him. He's arguably the best player on college hockey's best team. He already has a national championship under his belt, and he was a key factor in his team winning it. And he's leading his conference in scoring.

Based on these things alone, it's hard to imagine USA Hockey brass aren't a bit curious to see what he can do against guys his own age.

VERDICT

One of the best (and smallest) prospects the Flames have had in awhile, all signs seem to point to Johnny Gaudreau suiting up for the American entry at the World Junior Championship.

As hard as it will be for Flames fans to cheer for the United States, I'd like to see them try to stop themselves if Gaudreau has nearly as good a performance on this stage as he has had so far in his college career.

 

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Now in his fourth season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers and the Wrestling Observer.
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#1 Kent Wilson
November 27 2012, 09:41AM
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Can't wait to see him at the WJ's this year.

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#2 T&A4Flames
November 27 2012, 12:12PM
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Yep, I think the American team may be the most interesting part of the WJ's for me. Hopefully Sieloff makes the team and Gillies steals the starter job. And of course, I expect Johnny G to be pumped and I'm already feeling the excitement that he could bring.

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#3 Clay
November 27 2012, 12:53PM
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I am actually not cheering for Canada alone this year, but the US as well.

My Gaudreauby Baker shirt came in the mail yesterday. If Brossoit makes Team Canada I'll obviously be cheering for him, and for Canada in any games that don't impact Team USA.

Sorry for the lack of Canada spirit, but the Flaming C supercedes the maple leaf at the world juniors.

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#4 Kent Wilson
November 27 2012, 01:37PM
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@Clay

Let us know how the shirt looks/fits. I may have to contact that website, see if we can promote that stuff here for them.

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#5 Ed Ward
November 27 2012, 02:28PM
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Here's hoping 2011 is this generation's 1984

Sven, Gaudreauby Baker, Wotherspoon, Granlund, Brossoit

=

Roberts, Hull, Suter, Hrdina, Ranheim?

Ok so maybe the Ranheim and Brossoit don't quite match up and the styles of the others aren't perfect fits.

Still, we have legitimate prospects! You can't fault my excitement, prospects not named Kris Chucko are just not something I'm used to.

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#6 Clay
November 27 2012, 02:36PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Let us know how the shirt looks/fits. I may have to contact that website, see if we can promote that stuff here for them.

Will do

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#7 xis10ce
November 28 2012, 07:52AM
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@Kent Wilson

I got a Gaudreaubey Baker and found it fits very well and think it looks damn good.

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#8 Kent Wilson
November 28 2012, 10:00AM
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@xis10ce

Awesome!

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