Johnny Gaudreau (Left Wing) - Midseason Grade: A-
Our Individual Grades:
Gaudreau had his hand hacked off a quarter of the way through the season leading to some games lost and some lost production. Nothing became of the 21 slashes to his hand in that game because the N.H.L. is a trash organization that uses rubbish tactics to help prevent its stars from getting injured and then wonders why its ratings are dropping into the toilet quicker than a roll of Cottonelle. He still managed to be productive with the assists, carried an incredible penalty differential on a team that very much needed it, and managed to be the lone forward on the team with a higher CF Rel with Troy Brouwer than without him, though one would like to see more goals and better possession metrics going forward.
It was not a banner year for Johnny Gaudreau, but considering how much he seemed to struggle at times, he still put together a pretty respectable year. He finished scoring 0.85 points-per-game, good for 28th in the league. A far distance off his previous season in which he finished in the top 10 in the league, but it was not a horrible season. He had a slow start after missing training camp and that was exacerbated with Monahan struggling to start the season and Alex Chiasson as his other linemate, making it difficult for Gaudreau to create. He bounced back for the rest of the season before having a difficult playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks. I think he will be better for all of this in the end and expect him to push back toward the top of the league scoring leaders again next season. The fact he produced at such a rate while not playing at his highest level, says a lot about how dominant he can be when he reaches his peak game again.
Yes, this was Gaudreau’s “worst” point total for a season since coming into the NHL. But I think most players would take Gaudreau’s “worst” year and be thrilled with it. In 72 games this season Johnny Hockey had 61 points. There were times this season where Gaudreau was maddeningly inconsistent, but overall it’s not like he was hot garbage. Whether the league figured him out or he struggled a bit under the pressure of the hold out and then new contract, I think he’d admit it wasn’t his best work. Whatever the reason for the drop in his numbers, I don’t think he was a bad this season as some people made him out to be. With that said, for the contract he signed in the offseason, he needs to play like an “A”, not a “B.”
For a lack of a better term, I think a lot of the NHL “figured out” Johnny Gaudreau this season. He often faced a lot more pressure right after crossing the offensive blue line which regularly backed him into a corner. When he was able to find space in the offensive zone, he looked as deadly as ever. The biggest issue with Gaudreau is that if he’s not producing offensively, his small stature often means that his defensive game is lacking which makes him somewhat of a liability. I think another big reason he struggled was the inability for the team to find a true top line RW to divert some of the attention away from him. If they can do that, Gaudreau will pick it up next year.
Our Final Grade: B
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