The Flames Fifteen: #3 - Johnny Gaudreau

Arik
June 22 2012 06:11AM

 

SVEN notwithstanding, Flames fans have had few high skill prospects to get excited about in the last decade. There have been plenty of “Coke Machine” prospects (big, strong, and zero skill) and a few all-around players (Erixon, Brodie, and Reinhart come to mind), but players whose raw offensive skill just dazzles you? They have been far and few between...which is what makes Johnny “Pocket” Gaudreau so special.

Though he flew under the radar for most of the season (despite some outstanding numbers in the USHL), Gaudreau burst onto the scene with an exceptional frosh year in the NCAA.

Player   Kent   Justin   WI   Scott   VF   Arik [NC]
John Gaudreau   4   3   3   4   2   3
[HockeyDB][EliteProspects][Hockey's Future]

*Reminder - The evaluators were asked to rank players, and we sorted the rankings via a simple point scale-number 15 on each list got one point, while number 1 on each list got 15. The criteria for who was included was pretty simple: players the Flames control who are 23 and under (excluding Mikael Backlund, since he's already a bona fide NHLer).

Scoring 44 points in 44 games is nothing short of terrific, especially as a (very) small freshman. Gaudreau checks in at a very optimistic 5' 7" and 150 lbs. And yet to watch him play, you'd think every single one of those inches and pounds was pure kinetic energy.

Gaudreau was a bit of an off-the-board pick when he was selected in the fourth round in the 2011 Entry Draft. He'd had one USHL season where he scored 36-36-72 in 60 games- impressive to be sure, but hardly indicative of the explosive skill he'd demonstrate with the Boston College Eagles.

Even with scoring 21-23-44 in 44 games in the NCAA, Gaudreau has a long way to go before he's NHL ready: he'll need to gain more weight, build more strength, and generally make sure he's capable of playing in a league where everyone outweights him by 50 lbs.

On the other hand, it's hard to argue with this:

 

 

 In that single clip, Gaudreau shows offensive brilliance, the strength to power through much bigger players, puck handling skills, and beautiful accuracy.

Gaudreau's excellence didn't just extend to lots of points: he also won the Beanpot MVP and the Bill Flynn Trophy for MVP of Hockey East, beating out teammates and rivals such as Chris Krieder, Matt Nieto, and Alex Chiasson.

There have been rumors that he was to be offered a contract this summer, but as of yet, nothing has become of them. Personally, I'd be shocked if Gaudreau wore the Flaming C or Heat colors in any meaningful manner before his senior year at BC despite his excellent College debut.

The List

            RANKS                
Player   Kent   Justin   WI   Scott   VF   Arik [NC]   Final Rank
John Gaudreau   4   3   3   4   2   3   3
Max Reinhart   3   4   4   6   5   4   4
Leland Irving   6   5   8   2   7   6   5
Roman Horak   5   8   6   8   9   7   6
Michael Ferland   8   7   7   7   6   11   7
Lance Bouma   10   9   5   14   4   12   8
Markus Granlund   7   6   0   10   13   8   9
Bill Arnold   11   11   0   11   8   5   10
Greg Nemisz   9   13   0   5   15   15   11
Paul Byron   12   10   0   12   11   9   12
John Ramage   14   12   0   0   12   10   13
Chris Breen   0   15   0   13   0   14   14
Tyler Wotherspoon   0   14   0   0   10   0   15

89f9ff18b1b3e325c6f96a48ff40560a
Arik works in Search and Rescue in the United States Coast Guard and is a former managing editor of the SBN Flames blog, Matchsticks and Gasoline.
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#1 ChinookArch
June 22 2012, 06:39AM
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At the moment Johnny Gaudreau is the most exciting Flames prospect to watch. He's a dangerous threat each and everytime he is on the ice. If he can make the jump to the NHL one day, the Flames will never be called 'boring' again. He may the 2nd or 3rd best prospect in the system, but he's the first guy I'm routing for to make it one day (soon).

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#2 everton fc
June 22 2012, 08:08AM
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He is exciting, Chinook. I like him a lot. Tough little kid from Jersey. Accent and all. You gotta love it.

On a line with bigger guys... To protect him... He might actually have a shot at the pro ranks. Time will tell. The AHL experience will really tell - one full season of grind, travel, hard hits and guys running him. He'll need that, and a few more pounds, to have a legitimate shot a the big league...

Still, he's a real gem. Great pick. Probably Feaster's best, as I still think most teams pop Baertschi at 13 last time around.

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#3 Ryan Pike
June 22 2012, 08:32AM
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Fun Facts: -Ranked 193rd by Central Scouting when taken by the Flames. -Philadelphia Flyers fan. (His hometown is closer to Philly than it is to East Rutherford.)

When I interviewed him following the NCAA title win, I joked that the Flames' plan is for him to spend four years in BC, eating and working out.

He said that was, in actuality, basically the plan. Then chuckled nervously.

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#4 everton fc
June 22 2012, 09:45AM
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Abby will tell us all very quickly if Gaudreau is NHL calibre, and if so, is he a scorer like Fleury, a fringe player like Nichol, albeit w/more offencive upside...

Or the next Paul Byron.

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#5 jeremywilhelm
June 22 2012, 09:52AM
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Sven is, as exciting, if not more.

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#6 Baalzamon
June 22 2012, 09:53AM
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ahh yes. After I picked my eyes up off the floor last june, Cheese quickly became one of my favourite prospects.

If he had played the whole season like he did the last couple months, he'd have been a Hobey Baker candidate, and would have been named the best player in several of the American World Junior team's games.

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#7 thymebalm
June 22 2012, 12:40PM
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Does that make Laurent Brossoit your #2 ranked prospect?? Impossible. I must be missing someone.

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#8 Justin Azevedo
June 22 2012, 01:08PM
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you are, thymebalm

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#9 maimster
June 22 2012, 04:45PM
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Ryan Howse, I presume...

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