The sky is the limit for Johnny Gaudreau, hailing from Carney’s Point, NJ. He is a 5’7, 155 lbs left winger and while some scouts turned their heads the other way because of his size and weight, the Calgary Flames proudly selected him in the 4th round of the 2011 NHL draft.
He was recently a candidate for the ESPY award for the Best Male U.S College Athlete for his performance at Boston College after mustering up 80 points in 40 games and winning the Hobey Baker award for being the best player in the NCAA.
Gaudreau already got his first taste of the NHL last season scoring a goal in the only game he played for the Flames. Due to his size and low center of gravity, he has unbelievable control of the puck and can fool the defenseman for a split second by going to the blind side and scoring a goal.
If he were to be put in the AHL for next season, there is no doubt that Gaudreau will be a point producer. A comparable is Andy Miele, 5’8 forward, who has done well for himself at that level although he is still trying to find his way into the NHL. Miele dominated the NCAA as a 22 years old in the 2010-2011 season and racked 71 points in 39 games for Miamu University.
Gaudreau on the other hand led the NCAA as a 20 year old scoring 9 more points than Miele, leading the next guy, his Boston College teammate (and perhaps soon to be a Flames teammate as well) Kevin Hayes, by 15 points. The upside on Gaudreau is huge and some might argue he is a better prospect than Sam Bennett.
Another player to look at is Nathan Gerbe who FlamesNation.ca took time to compare him with Gaudreau. Gerbe was another player like Miele who led the NCAA in scoring as a small 5’6 forward and made the NHL despite having a pretty low profile career.
Now its undeniable that Gaudreau will continuously be analyzed on his size until he translates his game in the NHL. He does have great hockey IQ and hates to give up on a play as he showed in the World Championship (another competition he did extremely well in with 10 points in 8 games) playing for Team USA.
The player who all Flames fans are hoping Gaudreau to be was the very player who they chose to sign as a free agent in 1998, Martin St. Louis. Whether he will reach that level is yet to be seen. Though he might not reach the Hart Trophy and Art Ross status of St.Louis’, the Flames still have a heck of a player at their midst.