Gaudreau vs Gerbe – A Second Look


Last April I did a comparison between Johnny Gaudreau and Nathan Gerbe. It’s a fairly natural one to draw – Gerbe is the smallest player in the NHL (5’6″, 175), came up through the same Boston College system and was a Hobey Baker award finalist in his 20-21 year old college season. 

Before we get into the details, it should be noted that despite the fact that Gerbe is often held up as a reason why the Flames shouldn’t be too excited about Gaudreau, the 26-year old is actually a very capable NHLer at this point. He is scoring at roughly an 18-goal, 40-point pace for the Hurricanes this year and boasts some of the better underlying numbers on that team currently. Those are pretty decent results and the sort of output you celebrate from a 4th round draft pick 10 times out of 10.

That said, Gerbe may not be a great comparable to Gaudreau for the simple reason that the Flames prospect is blowing the BC alum’s offensive stats out of the water. In the last post on the subject we saw that Gaudreau’s second season was nearly as good as Gerbe’s third. With Gaudreau more than half way through his 20-21 year, we can better contrast the two players:

Nathan Gerbe      
Season Points PPG Team rank
18-19 18 0.46 8th
19-20 47 1.15 2nd
20-21 68 1.58 1st
John Gaudreau      
Season Points PPG Team rank
18-19 44 1.00 2nd
19-20 51 1.46 1st
20-21 85* 1.97 1st
*projected based on 43 game season    

Right now Gaudreau is on pace to score almost 20 points more than Gerbe at the same age. If Johnny Hockey manages to keep up a near 2.0 point-per-game pace, he’ll finish with about 180 points in just 122 games. Gerbe had 133 in 123 games, meaning the latter would have managed nearly 50 less points in one more game played over his 3 year tenure.

So yes they are similar players thanks to circumstance and size…but Gaudreau is the vastly superior player. In college, at least.

  • I acknowledge and appreciate the posting comparing two forwards of similar size who attended the same college program.

    Why then can we not make a comparison to Joey Mullen?

    Mullen attended BC in the late 70s and had, in his 20-21 year (1977-78) 34 goals and 34 assists in 34 games, an average of two points per game, same as Johnny Hockey. Granted, he was always quoted as being much taller than he really was, but was never a bruiser.

    Theoren Fleury was listed at the same height, 5’8″, but was probably more like 5’5″.

    I think it all boils down to the size of the fight in the dog, not the size of the dog in the fight. Mullen and Fleury had more fight in them than any average player and their stats proved that out.

    With what we’ve seen from Gaudreau, and while his impact is a ways away, I like his chances of being a solid, contributing NHLer in Flames colors.

    • JL

      One player who plays (played) much bigger than his size is Andrew Ference (at least before he was an Oiler). In Boston the man played like he was 6’3″ instead of 5’11”.

    • beloch

      I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I’d bet a fiver that scoring in the NCAA was a lot higher in the seventies than it is now. If so, that makes Gaudreau’s 2 ppg pace even more impressive than Mullens!

      • McRib

        Peter Sejna in 2002-2003 was the last player to come close to the 2.0 PPG Total with 1.95. Jason Krog in 1998-99 was the last player to break the 2.0 PPG with 2.07. 2.0 PPG is a very rare feat to achieve in the NCAA these days clearly as it has been 15 years since it last happened.

        Lets hope that Johnny Hockey has a better pro career than those two, although Jason Krog & Peter Sejna were both 24 years-old when they achieved that feat, both were three years older than Johnny Gaudreau (only 21 years old) the only true freshman of the three when he entered the league. Martin St. Louis was the last true Junior that I could dig up to break the 2.0 PPG plateau in 1996. Elite company to say the least.

    • McRib

      Really a trivial point but I’ve met Theo after he talked at my high school before I graduated and 5″7, 5″8 sounds a bout right for him as he was about the same height as me. It sounds super funny but he actually looked pretty jacked / barrel chested.

  • WaIter White

    Too small..even a guy with limited skating ability like the great WW could knock this kid off the puck. Stickhandling and deking don’t mean too much when you could get swept up in a gentle breeze. Burke knows this. He only wants Gaudreau to sign to pump up his trade value, then ship him off for someone with more than zero testosterone.

  • Byron Bader

    Walter White’s ability to stir the pot is amazing. He reminds me of Vince McMahon in his hay day.

    Gaudreau’s going to be a beast. I like the Mullen and Theo comparables.

  • Skuehler

    Seems like Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel and Martin St. Louis can all hold their own and contribute in the nhl

    I’d rather see people excited about who we have (Johnny Hockey) than the players we don’t have (Conner McDavid). We don’t need to tank intentionally, gambling for jackpot if good drafting can produce prospects like this. Here’s hoping we manage and develop our guys well

  • McRib

    “So yes they are similar players thanks to circumstance and size…but Gaudreau is the vastly superior player. In college, at least.”

    Not only are Johnny Gaudreau’s College numbers far superior, but Nathan Gerbe is tiny… He is only 5’4″-5’5″ at the most. Johnny Gaudreau is small at 5’7″, but those extra couple of inches got to mean something!!!

    Man I love that Gaudreau photo he is so deer in the headlights…. He has to be thinking something along the lines of…. “What did I get myself into… I just got drafted into the NHL?!?!?!”