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Photo Credit: © Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy’s 2018 “Midterm” Prospect Rankings #4: Adam Gaudette

The Canucks’ scouting department played one hell of a hunch when they drafted Adam Gaudette in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Even for a fifth-round pick, Gaudette’s 30 points in 50 USHL games didn’t exactly jump off the page. What did stand out to Judd Brackett was Gaudette’s engagement level. He believed that a player who looked as involved as Gaudette on a shift-by-shift basis was poised to break out at any time; and as one of his final moves before being promoted to Head of Amateur Scouting, he played a hand in making sure the Canucks selected him when he was available with the 149th pick.

Flash-forward to the present day, and the Canucks’ bet has paid off in spades. Each of Gaudette’s seasons with Northeastern has been more impressive than the last, as he capped off his college career by winning the Hobey Baker Award for the NCAA’s most valuable player. All of Gaudette’s hard work eventually culminated in a pro contract and a five-game stint with the big club at the end of the 2017-18 season. While he failed to register a point, he didn’t appear out of place, and he looks to be a shoo-in to make the roster out of camp next season. He may not be the most dynamic player in the Canucks’ system, but he looks like a surefire NHLer at this point, which is enough to net him the 4th spot on our midterm rankings.

Numbers

After a lights-out sophomore season with Northeastern University that saw Gaudette finish with a 50/50 shot of becoming an NHL regular, Gaudette’s expected success percentage via the prospect Graduation Probabilities System (pGPS) took a bit of a hit, falling to 21.4%.

The biggest reason for the drop is simply that Gaudette elected to spend another year in the NCAA rather than making the jump last season. Judging by his increase in production and the fact that he managed to play a handful of pro games last season, pGPS likely undersells Gaudette’s chances of becoming a full-time NHLer.

When looking at matches, Gaudette’s cohort is all over the map, with everything from role players to legit top-line forwards popping up as statistically similar. Canucks fans will make note of the fact that Brendan Morrison is one of Gaudette’s closest matches.

While Gaudette’s college resumé is impressive, it’s worth noting that his teammates didn’t really seem to benefit from playing with him consistently when looking at on-ice  goal-differential. Scouts may also be underestimating the effect that Dylan Sikura, a great prospect in his own right, may have had on Gaudette’s performance.

I’d caution against reading too much into these numbers, however. Goals can be a very random occurrence over a 38-game sample, and luck could be as much to blame as anything Gaudette was doing at the NCAA level.

Scouting Report

There isn’t much not to like about Gaudette’s game. He’s positionally sound and reliable in his own zone. He’s got a good stick, and his speed makes him effective at puck retrieval and in transition. He’s comfortable and effective in all three zones, which made him a fixture in all situations for Northeastern. Offensively, he lacks high-end skill, but has an enviable toolkit. All the physical tools are there: speed, stickhandling, passing, and the release on his shot is particularly deadly.

He’s a smart player, but not particularly creative with the puck, so he often seems more comfortable generating offence off the rush than through zone time. This was even more apparent in his brief audition at the NHL level, where Gaudette had a couple of nice scoring chances but wasn’t particularly effective at using his linemates. Gaudette is very much a straight-line player, who relies more on his speed and skill with the puck than his vision or hockey sense. That’s not a knock on him – he’s been tremendously effective offensively at the college level- it just means it’s unlikely he becomes a high-end offensive contributor at the NHL level. That being said, it bodes extremely well for his chances of being an effective NHLer that I even feel the need to add that disclaimer. Just because it’s unlikely doesn’t mean it’s out of the question. At this point, no development should surprise Canucks fans. Gaudette’s shattered expectations at every level. He’d only have to do it one more time.

CanucksArmy’s 2018 Midterm Prospect Rankings

#5: JONATHAN DAHLEN #6: KOLE LIND #7: JONAH GADJOVICH
#8: MICHAEL DIPIETRO #9: WILL LOCKWOOD #10: PETRUS PALMU
#11: JALEN CHATFIELD #12: EVAN MCENENY #13: ZACK MACEWEN
#14: GUILLAUME BRISEBOIS #15: JACK RATHBONE #16: MICHAEL CARCONE
#17: COLE CANDELLA #18: BRETT MCKENZIE #19: MATT BRASSARD
#20: LUKAS JASEK #21 – #22 #23 – #24
#25 – #27 #28 – #31
  • Killer Marmot

    It would seem that the most optimistic prognosis for Gaudette is Horvat 2.0. Not flashy or elite, but solid in all aspects of the game and very tough to play against. More realistic is a sound third-line centre.

    • speering major

      Sorry but this is just so laughably bad. Not just on who is on the roster but where they are deployed. You have a rookie scorer and offensive bottom 6 winger playing with a high minute shutdown center. Gaunce and Labate will be in the press box or minors even with the shallow depth pool of the Canucks

      • Gaunce has shown himself to be an effective bottom-six forward and will likely cycle in and out of the lineup, but otherwise, agreed, more or less. An issue highlighted by Bob’s lineup and your criticism of it is – who else? Horvat is the only centre currently signed with real offensive upside. Gaudette may get there, but it’s not something the team should count on. Sutter, Gaunce, and Granlund are all offensive black holes and Gagner is just much more effective on the wing than he is at centre.

        The Canucks have two elite wingers in Pettersson and Boeser, and then a whole bunch of middle-six players in Leipsic, Baertschi, Gagner, Dahlen, Goldobin, Eriksson, Virtanen, with Lind and Gadjovich coming as well. Unfortunately, wingers who can score 20-40 points and don’t have a lot of defensive upside have practically no trade value. You’re not going to move any of these guys for an offensive centreman or a top-4 defenceman, so the Canucks seem to be in a bit of a bind here.

        • TD

          This would be my line-up:

          Baer Bo Brock
          Gaunce Sutter Erikkson
          Goldobin Granlund Pettersson
          Leipsic Gaudette Virtanen

          Bo’s line will provide reasonable first line scoring, but far from elite. Green has shown he wants a shut down line and Sutter did a good job last year in actual goal differential. Sutter’s deployment as a shut down line will take pressure off of Horvat to have to face those match ups and also protects the Granlund and Gaudette lines from bad match ups. Granlund is good defensively and showed he could score when he played with the twins two years ago. The offence runs through Pettersson on the line which could produce some secondary offence with Pettersson and Goldobin. I think the Gaudette line could also add some scoring. I liked the way Virtanen finished the season and I think on any given night there could be scoring on three of the lines.

          It’s not a playoff team by any means, but it dumps the heavy defence on Sutter and gives Bo the heavy minutes as a first line. The bottom line get to learn without the pressure to produce. Depending on how Pettersson plays or trades things could and would likely change, but I think those lines could play the uptempo game Green wants to play and would be fun to watch. Gagner in the press box.

          • Ser Jaime Lannister

            Do teams have until June31 before RFAs turn to UFAs and can be talked/signed for by other teams? Looking on Cap Friendly atm at the RFAs would love for the Canucks to target Boone Jenner, Paul Statsny, Jacob Trouba, Collin Miller.

            Jets are going to be in cap trouble, can we take on a bad contract or a Tanev/Lind for Trouba? Collin Miller on Vegas had a career year and looks like a stud, id lock him up 6×6 in a heart beat same with Trouba.

            JB has two years to turn this around, hes gotta be bold this off season, really hope he can get one of those Two D and a second line C like Statsny shouldnt be too expensive. And a player like Boone Jenner could help out Sutter on that checking line/our bottom 6 to be harder to play against and chip in offensively.

          • TD

            Players contracts end June 30 and they become free agents as of July 1. Whether they are UFA’s or RFA’s depends on their age and years of service or games played. Their status as a UFA or RFA will remain the same until the end of their next contract.

    • wojohowitz

      There is a noticeable lack of speed. Maybe Jasek or Molino. Labate is a UFA and probably won`t be signed. Archibald addresses a need but became invisible late in the season. Lots of wingers but defence needs an upgrade.

        • DeL

          I’m wedded to the idea of Leipsic with Gaudette and Virtanen I think it could be a good fit. I like Ser Jamie’s second line but we don’t have Statsney. Yet? Actually except for my minor change I’d agree it looks good.

        • Kootenaydude

          Watching Gaudette, Virtanen and Leipsic play together last year at the end of the season was a pleasure. A very fast yet creative line. The coach Green isn’t going to have the veteran leaders that he had last year (Sedins). Having Stastny would give him a veteran player that is very aware of the nuances of the nhl game. Not to mention he would retire in 2-3 years. Perfect mentor for Pettersson.

      • argoleas

        The idea of getting Stastny is intriguing. But, what kind of contract would that be, and would he be interested in a team that is nowhere near being done rebuilding? I just do not see him signing anywhere except a team that is a SC contender, even if he gets a ring this yr.

        But if he is willing, and its at most 3-4 deal, then they can throw all kinds of money at him.

    • Rodeobill

      I would rather see Loui in the top 6 in a non-shut down role. I know he can do it better than most other guys on the roster, but I would love to see him on a line with Petterson in the G spot (garbage goal spot, that is)

    • DeL

      Why have Pettersson with Sutter? He’s terrible at distribution. The Canucks definitely need another offensive centre. I would give Dahlen a shot on your second line instead of Gagner and on your third insert the pickup from Phoenix instead of Eriksson.

    • argoleas

      I would probably go with something like this:

      Goldobin-Horvat-Boeser
      Eriksson-Sutter-Granlund
      Baertschi-Gagner-Pettersson
      Leipsic-Gaudette-Virtanen
      Archibald

      I do see some advantage to putting Granny with Pettersson over Gagner, but Gagner has to go somewhere. But one line Gagner is absolutely not going on is Sutter’s, which will get the toughest defensive assignments.

      BTW, I put Sutter as the “2nd” line only in terms of expected minutes’ share and load of being deployed vs oppo top lines. Expect it to be the lowest scoring line.

      Goldobin and Baertschi could and likely will be interchangeable on those 2 lines. Should Baertschi be traded, then Eriksson could go on Gagner’s line w/ Pettersson, and Gaunce would take his place on Sutter’s.

      Archie would draw in on the games vs. heavier teams. I do not want him playing 82 games. Possible MacEwen will displace him in 2019-2020 season.

  • Fred-65

    I think when some suggest a third line centre it put’s things in perspective. He’s not going to blow any ones socks off but he’ll be a NHL player. I really like his shot but I’m not sure he’ll get the chnace to use it, checking is a lot tighter in the Big’s. He’s a cross your fingers sort of player

    • speering major

      I think the idea that Guadette could be a replacement for Sutter (who they scooped up in the 5th round and will be under a manageable contract circumstance for another 5 years) is reason to be excited. A high end 3rd line center is a big piece. The issue with Sutter is that he plays 2nd or 1st line minutes at even strength and is paid like a higher end second line center.

      If there was a time machine and the Sedins were closer to their prime and Horvat had developed his game to the present then everyone would be praising Sutter and management for his contribution at $3.5 million per season. It’s just expectations. Who knows where Gaudettes development will end, but if it replaces Sutter, that’s a home run. Even for a second rounder.

      • North Van Halen

        Sutter, is not even close to paid like a high end # 2 centre. Just in our division Kesler $6.85mil, Draisatl $8.5 & Nugent-Hopkins $6mil for as a 3. Carter $5.27, Backlund $5.35, San Jose has Thornton at $8mil and both Couture & Pavelski at $6.
        Seriously, Sutter isn’t even paid as much as the high end 3rd line centres as shown above. He’s literally paid to be a better than average 3rd line centre. Every teams second line centre is either $5mil+ or on an entry level or bridge deal.
        So if we are ever to get real about how overpaid Sutter is, it depends on if you think he’s not even a better than average third line centre. I don’t actually think thats a huge stretch.

        • speering major

          “Higher end” is not the same as “high end”. I just scrolled through the eastern conference on cap friendly to get a more clear picture. Sutter is paid as about the average #2 center. He’s paid comparably to the leafs centermen. Similar to the Lightning. Much less than the Penguins or Capitals. More than a bunch of other teams. It really does look middle of the road. Maybe the west is deeper down the middle . The teams like EDM, PIT, WAS, SAJ, etc are top end. Way above average. Sutter surely isn’t “high end” or even “higher end”, it looks like he’s close to middle of the road.

          • North Van Halen

            Again, based on non-bridge or entry level deals, he’s a very, very low paid 2nd line centre. As in not paid like a 2nd line centre at all. Name 2 second line centres based on where he is in his contract cycle (long term deal after team control ends) that are paid the same or less as Sutter next season(I couldn’t find one though some are better deals for sure).
            He’s really not even paid like a low end #2 but a high end #3 which is about how I view him.

          • North Van Halen

            BTW The only reason he’s paid comparable to Leafs centre is because all of Marner, Mattews & Nylander are on entry level deals. Leafs have one more year to take advantage before all 3 are making waaaaay more.

          • speering major

            Kadri and Bozak are paid about the same as Sutter. When I say average I’m not factoring in the contract status because it doesn’t matter. Other than future stars on an ELC, it doesn’t matter what situation the contract was signed under. Sutter is paid what he is paid and so are other non ELC centermen. I would guess if I wanted to waste some time I could scroll through the league and find 10 #2 centers who were not on ELC making 4.5 or less. Probably closer to 20 #3 centers making less than $4.3

            4.5 Looks to be middle of the road for a #2 center. A bunch make more and a bunch make less. Many make similar

          • North Van Halen

            So you’re saying I shouldn’t be comparing Sutter to comparbles, as in players of similar age, position but just any 2nd line centre? It’s ridculous to compare the salaries of players at different points in their contract cycles. Thats like saying the Leafs are brilliant at contracts because their 1st line centre makes $850,000. If you wanna do that, we should all model ourselves after the Leafs, they got their top 2 centres for less than $1mil each per year, what brilliant work.
            But let’s use your logic. According to Capfriendly.com, by players listed as centres, Brandon Sutter was the 59th highest paid this past season,. For the 2018/19 season he is the 56th highest paid listed centre. This before any free-agents restricted or unrestricted are signed.
            In other words, even using your logic that all centres should be looked at as a whole with no consideration to age or contract status,Sutter is paid as a very low end #2 centre or a high end #3.

  • Killer Marmot

    I’m trying to get my head around a tool like pGPS where a player’s predicted chance of success drops in the year that he wins the Hobey Baker award.