Boston Bruins 2016 NHL Draft: Julien Gauthier

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney makes the first of three consecutive draft picks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney makes the first of three consecutive draft picks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Bruins 2016 NHL Draft: Julien Gauthier Would Be The Perfect Addition To The Team

The Boston Bruins have made it clear that improving defense and getting heavier and more skilled on the right side is a priority this offseason. The team can address this need through free agency as well as the trade market, but they can also go the route of drafting-and-developing a player who seems like the perfect fit for the Boston Bruins. This seems to be the case with QMJHL forwrd Julien Gauthier who plays right wing for the Val D’Or Foreurs.

The first thing that stands out with Julien Gauthier is his incredible size. At 6-foot-4 and 224 pounds, it’s hard to look at him and salivate over the chances of him wearing the Black and Gold in years to come. Julien Gauthier is ranked 12th among North American skaters in the NHL Draft Prospect Rankings which likely means he’ll be available once the Boston Bruins are on the clock with the 14th overall draft pick in this years draft.

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Gauthier was productive with nine goals and 21 assists for 30 points in 62 games along with 19 penalty minutes and a plus-nine rating. When the 2014-15 season started and Julien Gauthier was thrust into a more prominent role at the age of 17, however, the young forward from Point-aux-Trembles, Quebec showed that he is a force to be reckoned with. In 68 games that season, Gauthier broke out and scored 38 goals and added 35 assists for 73 points along with 46 penalty minutes and a plus-six rating. In the playoffs, Gauthier continued to produce with five goals and five assists in 17 games. In the 2015-16 season, Julien Gauthier solidified himself among the top draft-eligible players with a solid repeat performance. Julien Gauthier skated in 54 games in the QMJHL last season, but found the back-of-the-net a career high 41 times while adding 16 assists for 57 points to go with his 24 penalty minutes and career-high plus-24 rating. In the playoffs, Val D’Or only played in six games, but Gauthier was able to produce five points and eight penalty minutes in the form of two goals and three assists.

It’s clear that Julien Gauthier has something special that all NHL teams will be looking at throughout the draft process, but the fact that he’s a large power forward will work in one of two ways for his draft stock. Teams will either look at his size and realize that it’s a trait that simply can’t be taught. Combining that with his incredible skill, drive, and hockey IQ should only make him more appealing. At the same time, other teams might look at him and realize that he’s a 6-foot-4 forward skating alongside other teenagers who aren’t quite as big. With a huge size advantage, it seems obvious that he would find so much success, and that’s not guaranteed to translate to the next level. Gauthier uses his body to his advantage but his undeniable skill and impressive hands and skating are also huge contributors to his success.

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The Boston Bruins should take the chance on Julien Gauthier the way they took a chance on Milan Lucic in the second round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Lucic actually posted only 19 points in 62 games in his draft year, but his impressive size and hard-nose style of play was enough to motivate the Boston Bruins to select him so high in the draft. Upon returning to the Vancouver Giants after being drafted by the Boston Bruins, Lucic showed a new side to his game — a skilled side.

In 70 games that season, Milan Lucic scored 30 goals and added 38 assists for 68 points in 70 games. He also played in 22 playof games and scored seven times and added 12 assists for 19 points. His tough-side didn’t diminish, however, as he posted 149 PIMs in his draft year and 147 the following year. Everybody knows how Milan Lucic worked out for the Boston Bruins and his contributions to the team over his eight years with the organization will never be forgotten among fans of the Black and Gold.

Next: 2016 NHL Draft Profile: Charlie McAvoy

There’s no reason for Don Sweeney and the Bruins front office to be deterred from a player based on size, and Julien Gauthier would be the perfect fit for a club who is desperate to re-find their identity. The Boston Bruins have two first round draft picks in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, and Julien Gauthier could very likely hear his name called with one of them.