Welcome to the Bench: Freddy the Goat
Born: 4/26/1995 (20 years old) Laval, QC, Canada
Drafted: 1st round (21st overall) in 2013 by Toronto Maple Leafs
Teams: Toronto Maple Leafs (2016)
Weight: 215 lbs
March 19, 2016 the Toronto Maple Leafs called up Frederik Gauthier on an emergency basis.
What he brings to the team
Being a devoted listener of Leafs Lunch (Hayes, Noodles, O Dog era), I am way more excited for Freddy the Goat’s debut than I should be. TSN’s Mark Masters has been hot on the “Goat Tracker” today.
TSN: they may not have NHL TV rights but they give you unparalleled access on C level Maple Leafs prospects. Gauthier is a massive center who is great in his own end and uses his huge frame to dominate the face off circle. While the offense has yet to translate from junior to pro, Gauthier seems more likely than not to carve out an NHL career. He was selected twice to represent Canada at the World Juniors and has been a prominent playoff performer for the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL. His biggest weakness has been his skating. But it is known that he has been putting in work with former Olympic figure skater and Toronto’s skating consultant Barb Underhill.
Here are Mike Babcock’s thoughts on Gauthier:
Why he’s on the bench
After the 2013 draft I read one article–I can’t for the life of me remember who wrote it–that compared Gauthier to Patrice Bergeron. I bit on that one hard. Just as I no longer believe Tyler Biggs is the next Milan Lucic, I now realize that Gauthier will never be anything resembling Bergeron. His ever lowering ceiling and increased organizational prospect depth has wiped him completely off the Leafs’ top prospect board. I can’t tell if Burke and Nonis were just fantastic sales men or if I’m just completely naive.
Gauthier is too slow and too offensively challenged to be the two-way second line center that Dave Nonis envisioned him as. There is still time for his skating to come around, but the odds are that Gauthier is destined for a bottom six role and I have come to terms with that. His size and defensive instincts give him a shot at carving out a niche as a faceoff specialist and a go-to penalty killer. These types of players are always in demand come trade deadline. In a salary cap world, the teams that can draft and develop their own role players (like Chicago and Detroit) tend to be ahead of the curve.
In a season full of losses you have to find something to hold your interest. The big, hat-wearing, Chipotle-eating, puzzle-solving center is sure to keep me interested in the Leafs for at least a couple more games. We the Tank!