Since the Vancouver Canucks drafted Adam Gaudette in the fifth-round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, his stock has risen among the team’s prospects over a fantastic 18 month stretch in the NCAA.
Originally known for his relentless work ethic and two-way game, Gaudette’s offensive capabilities have exploded over the last two seasons making the Canucks look like bandits taking him with the 149th overall pick.
This meteoric rise has the Braintree, MA, native coming in as the seventh ranked prospect in the Canucks organization.
We’ve changed the qualifications up just a little bit this year. Being under the age of 25 is still mandatory (as of the coming September 15th), but instead of Calder Trophy rules, we’re just requiring players to have played less than 25 games in the NHL (essentially ignoring the Calder Trophy’s rule about playing more than six games in multiple seasons).
Graduates from this time last year include Brendan Gaunce, Troy Stecher, and Nikita Tryamkin, while Anton Rodin is simply too old now, and Jake Virtanen is not being considered solely as a result of his games played.
As mentioned off the hop, Gaudette has risen up the rankings, and rightfully so. Seen as bottom six player when the Canucks took him in 2015, the young pivot has quickly shown there is more to him as a player than he showed in the USHL.
He has a relentless work ethic, a deceptive shot, good offensive instincts and underrated shot. The scouting report from Elite Prospects provides a similar outlook:
An all-around forward that loves to compete and can play multiple roles. Strong and fast on his skates and is hard to knock off the puck. Likes to go hard to the net, where time and space is reduced. Offensively, there is a lot of flare to his game as he doesn’t give the opposition a lot of time to react; gets shots off quickly and thinks ahead when making plays. Doesn’t shy away from the physical game either and looks for different kinds of opportunities to create energy. Responsible defensively and transitions up-ice quickly. Gaudette is the kind of player that can be a difference-maker in a game in multiple ways.
He did start the 2015-16 slowly, but has exploded offensively since January 2016 and hasn’t looked back.
He ended last season with 52 points in 37 games – which was good enough for 9th in the NCAA. His 0.70 G/PG was ranked 4th, and his 1.41 PPG had him in 9th as well. He led collegiate hockey in power play goals and was 5th in SOG with 162.
That’s all to say he was in the upper echelons of production in the NCAA.
If there was one concern about his output, it’s that Gaudette scored 25 of his 52 points on the powerplay. That was the eighth most PP point by a player in the NCAA. If there is one specific part of his game that he can work on this year, it is creating more offense at 5v5.
At the Canucks Summer Showcase this summer, Gaudette was fantastic for Team White. He and Griffen Molino were racing up and down the ice creating chances almost every time they were on the ice. That was the first time that I had seen Gaudette in person (aside from development camp practice earlier in the week), and even I was impressed despite seeing him regularly on video over the last two years.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) July 7, 2017
Using the pGPS lens, Gaudette looks like a good bet to pan out as an NHL forward.
Gaudette represents the highest percentage of success with 85.4% of comparable players going onto becoming successful NHL players. Furthermore, the expected production of 63.4 points per season at the NHL level is also the highest amongst Canucks prospects.
Gaudette’s meteoric rise is shown in his pGPS with only 2.3% of comparable players going onto being successful after his draft season. After a very productive season in the NCAA in 2015-16, Gaudette’s stock rose to 19.7% and then skyrockets after his draft plus two seasons coming in at the 85.4 % listed above.
Although Gaudette has higher statistical expectations than the other prospects coming up in this series, there is still some questions about what the overall upside. His offensive explosion has also only been happening for the last 18 months where other players have seen more sustained offensive production throughout their development. Neither are of huge concern but does explain why the pivot comes in as the 7th best prospect in the organization.
We won’t see Gaudette at Young Stars or any other Canucks event in this part of the season as he heads back to Northeastern University. With some graduation there, Gaudette will be relied upon even more to be a leader offensively, and that’s exactly what he needs.
This will be his third year in the NCAA, and he hopes to take that next step.
With the NCAA season usually ending before the NHL season, we may see Gaudette sign an entry level contract and play some games for the Canucks before the season ends but that is long ways away, and things could change.
Until then, Gaudette will be a fun player to watch this season as he cements himself as a top prospect within the organization.