When Will Johnny Gaudreau Turn Pro?

 

 

In sports, as is in life, a lot of attention is paid to what’s fresh and what’s new. When what’s new becomes what’s current, attention shifts to what’s next. In hockey, that involves prospects. And once Sven Baertschi became a full-time member of the Calgary Flames last month, Boston College winger Johnny Gaudreau became the best Flames prospect.

So when the heck is he going to get here?

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

A native of Carney’s Point, New Jersey – a township on the Pennsylvania side of New Jersey – Gaudreau played most of his hockey in that area. He moved to Dubuque, Iowa to play for the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints and finished high school in that city.

After being drafted by the Flames in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Gaudreau joined the NCAA’s Boston College Eagles. According to the Boston College website, he’s enrolled as a communications major in the College of Arts and Sciences.

A PRETTY GOOD RESUME

At the end of this school year, Gaudreau will be half-way through his bachelor’s degree.

In the last three seasons, he’s built quite a strong resume outside of his academics. In his one year in the USHL, he won a league championship and was rookie of the year. He also qualified for the all-star game. As a freshman in college, he made his conference’s all-rookie team. He won a Beanpot, a conference championship and an NCAA championship. He was the MVP of both the Beanpot and the conference playoffs.

And this season, he won a World Junior Championship gold medal, was named to the tournament all-star team and will most likely be a finalist for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award.

All of these are enough to give Gaudreau a lot of confidence, but not likely much security.

A LITTLE BIT OF SECURITY

After two seasons, Johnny Gaudreau is well-placed in the Boston College community. He’s the best player on arguably his college’s most prestigious team. He’s won on a national and international level. He has good coaches and good teammates around him. His little brother’s going to be joining him at Boston College next year – both at school and on the hockey team.

And most of all, he’s still small, and the NHL is still in many ways the land of the giants.

Check out this excerpt from the Boston Globe (and the full piece, which is excellent, but requires registration):

There is maturation that still needs to happen, which is one of the reasons Gaudreau’s family is fighting off the advances by Calgary to get him into the NHL. His father says he will play at least his junior season in Chestnut Hill, and perhaps his senior as well.”

Later on, his father is quoted saying “Any player that’s played with him, in the locker room with him, will tell you that he’s still very young. He might be 19, but he’s still probably in the body of a 17-year-old boy.”

When I spoke with Gaudreau during Flames training camp, he noted that his family is strict about his school and that he’s really enjoying his time at Boston College. Another year or two at school will allow him to further pad his stellar on-ice resume, but also allow him to grow into his body a bit and bulk up his off-ice resume.

If Gaudreau somehow doesn’t make his mark in the National Hockey League, he probably owes it to himself to get the financial security that a Boston College degree will provide him with.

THE VERDICT

Two years ago, I would’ve said that a 5-7 college prospect should spend all four years in the NCAA, simply because there are too many obstacles from them turning pro sooner.

Now? It’s no longer a necessity that Gaudreau sticks around at Boston College, it’s merely a smart idea for his future. If he succeeds at the NHL level, it’s fantastic and he has a degree in his back pocket for when he retires. If he struggles, he has a safety net.

Plus, it’ll probably be fun for him to play for a couple years with his little brother. 

  • Parallex

    My big fear… he decides he wants the security of the college degree and his senior year people “not” affiliated with the Bruins, Devils, or whomever keep on mentioning how if he just hangs on a few more months he can play closer to home, or closer to his college friends, or other such sweet nothings. I would really hope that the Flames can get him to sign on the dotted line after his Junior year. He can finish off his degree in the offseason if he really wants it and he’ll make enough to off-set the scholarship money I’m sure.

  • i am certain little johnny is being carefully groomed by dear ole dad, one thing is for sure the kid needs to grow a bit. nate gerby looks like a giant besid johnny. kid has skills but can he survive the nhl rigors. a hobey baker then join the flames i presume.

  • I hope Gaudreau ripens in College. I think he still has things to learn at that level. My original opinion was that he should stay for all 4 years, and now I’m still thinking he should stay for his Junior year, but I’m not so sure about the Senior anymore. He probably should, but does he need to? Well, I’m no expert.

    not at all related, but I was looking at the behindthenet page for the Wild for no particular reason.

    Spoiler: they still suck.

    http://www.behindthenet.ca/nhl_statistics.php?ds=30&f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=MIN&c=0+1+3+5+4+6+7+8+13+14+29+30+32+33+34+45+46+63+67

  • I certainly hope we don’t have another Tim Erixon situation developing here??

    The Bruins were his dream team and you can bet his father is aware of the 3 year window to sign players. Sounds like the family is very credible but just the same Feaster and company better stay on top of this!

      • Maybe we should be proactive & try to pry a Couturier out of Philly for him. Just saying, if there was any concern he wants to play close to home & there are any concerns on size. Personally, I think when he finally does break through to the NHL he will be better than Couturier. Just way more risk assoc. with Gaudreau & Cout’s is NHL ready now & would look good with Sven.

    • SmellOfVictory

      It’s easy to get gunshy when stuff like that happens, but it’s quite rare, overall. I can count the number of high profile prospects who refused to sign with their drafting team on one hand of late (Wheeler, Schultz, Erixon) although there are probably one or two that I’ve missed. Erixon was a very special case, and no one can blame Wheeler for wanting to avoid the financial insanity that is Phoenix.

  • My vote is four years at BC even though I’d love to see him turn pro ASAP.

    Questions:

    What’s Bill Arnold’s plan? Will we see him in the AHL next year? I know physically he’s much more ready for the pro game.

    And more importantly, anyone have eyes on his little brother? Size? Skill? When is he draft eligible? If one Gaudreau is good, two must be better 🙂

      • SmellOfVictory

        Not to split hairs but he was 150lbs at usa u-18 when he played.
        I realize you may have been exaggerating…

        Anyways we need all the pounds and inches we can get here.

        Hope he can teach his brother lots and maybe we could draft him too.
        The new sedins!! Lol

  • RKD

    Depends on his ceiling, Theo Fleury is 5’6, Brian Gionta is 5’7. Sure he is small, but I think he could be a crafty player for the Flames.

    He’ll just need to learn how to avoid big hits and be complemented with some more physical linemates.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Mat Gaudreau has 14 points in 35 USHL games this season (8th on his team). The Flames’ most recent 7th round pick (DeBlouw) had 33 in 58(3rd on his team) for Muskegon last season.

    I don’t think the younger Gaudreau is anything to get excited about.

  • McRib

    You people are CRAZY for saying Gaudreau should stay four years. What in the world will he have to accomplish in College after this season…. Its completely counter productive and at the most should stay one more year.

    If he takes summer classes this season he can graduate in three years and just because he turns pro doesn’t mean he cannot continue with school in the offseason, most NCAAers that leave early end up doing the same thing.

    After this season he could easily have TWO National Championships, a WJHC Gold Medal and a Hobey Baker. What’s left for him in college? He also despite his size has never suffered a major injury at any level and honestly smaller guys never put on that much weight.

  • McRib

    After watching Gaudreau play with Rocco Grimaldi at the World Junior, he was easily a couple inches taller than him. Most people list him at 5’6″ honestly I think he is more 5’7-5’8″. People like to compare him with Nate Gerbe, who is 5’5″ at the most. Gerbe played three years in college lit up the AHL for a season and was in the NHL at 21, not to mention Gaudreau has put up better numbers in College to date. Just think four years is out of the question for Gaudreau.

    If he wins another NCAA Championship put him in the AHL next season with Max Reinhart and see what they can do. Off topic but no one else has mentioned it Max Reinhart has had a decent past month in Abby.

  • McRib

    “His father says he will play at least his junior season in Chestnut Hill, and perhaps his senior as well.”

    This quote by his father is hilarious, this is the exact quote that 95% of players who leave the NCAA early same. It actually makes me think its more likely he is leaving sooner than later. If he wasn’t leaving early they wouldn’t even be talking about it.

    • seve927

      Well I can tell you one thing, money always talks. I have a close friend who grew up with Kyle Wellwood, and he told me that when he had a great game he would get handed an envelope with party money (5000 or 10000) in the locker room.

      I can’t speak to how things are done in Calgary (not the center of the universe) but I am guessing that if they really want Johnny G in abby they could easily motivate him.

      That being said would say a $50,000 dollar bonus to finish your schooling in your spare time while making salary in the AHL not temp you?

      • McRib

        “That being said would say a $50,000 dollar bonus to finish your schooling in your spare time while making salary in the AHL not temp you?”

        Good Point, this is something that the media completely overlooks, I know for a fact that a good portion of players who turn pro early, end up finishing their degree’s anyway.

        Its never discussed as its done on their own time, but I even know that certain schools still provide partial financial support once they have left the team.