With the NHL season starting up again after the Olympic break, what better way to start it off than getting an inside look at one of the hottest Flames prospect right now: Johnny Gaudreau!
To start off, I must say that I'm pretty impressed by the fact that the Flames drafted him in the fourth round. It seems like a huge steal, which is great considering that before 2013 they hadn't really had many highly touted prospects in the system. Along with Bill Arnold, another prospect in the Flames system, he is currently riding a 28 game point streak!
Born: August 13, 1993 (Age 20)
Height: 173 cm (5'8'')
Weight: 69 kg (153 lb)
There is obviously no question that Johnny Gaudreau is an elite prospect after everything he has done over the past few years. Going into the 2011 draft, he generated 72 points in just 60 games, but his height and build scared some teams away from selecting him. Of course in the end it doesn't matter when he was drafted, because the Flames chose him and they get the bragging rights if he becomes a successful player in the NHL.
The year following the draft, he got a chance to play for team USA in the 2013 World Junior Championships along with fellow Flames prospects Jon Gillies and Patrick Sieloff. He led Team USA with seven goals, tying for the lead in points (9) and helped his country win gold. As much as I hate the fact Canada lost to the United States, I was happy that in that game Gaudreau got two goals and an assist.
Johnny Gaudreau possesses tremendous skating and puck handling abilities that help his teammates find him on the ice to set up a quick goal in many situations. He has proven that he can score in many different levels of hockey such as junior leagues and college and most importantly on the international stage. This will help him as everyone has seen players rip it up in the the juniors, and then when they come to the NHL they just can't seem to find the back of the net. Many scouts are also saying that his small build gives him an advantage when it comes to evading checks.
Despite being a sneaky hockey player by avoiding many checks, Gaudreau must must must work on improving his size and weight if he wishes to get a roster spot with the Flames. This can help him improve his ability to battle in the dirty areas which is a skill that many coaches like to see. He also needs to improve his defensive play by getting contributing more on the backcheck. The last thing we need is for him to become another Nail Yakupov.
Martin St. Louis, Theoren Fleury, Alexander Semin