We're back for the Buffalo Sabres second of two first round picks, and after fortifying the blue line earlier by taking Darnell Nurse, we decided to add another big body by taking Frederik Gauthier, forward from the Rimouski Oceanic in the QMJHL.
Height - 6'5''
Weight - 210
Shoots - Left
Age - 18 (born 4/2/95)
From - Laval, Quebec
Frederik Gauthier fits the Sabres recent draft mold of big, tough draftees who can play both ways. He's well known for his size - at 6'5'', 210lbs, he's already a monster on skates, and has above average skating ability for such a big man, showing an easy stride and good agility. He's not a guy who's going to hit everything that moves, but he does know how to use his size to protect the puck and push people around on the penalty kill, though he needs to keep improving in that area and its consistency.
He's also got the offensive skills. As you can see below, Gauthier scored 22 goals and 60 points as a rookie in the QMJHL, finishing fourth in rookie scoring and being named to the league's all-rookie team. He played on the power play, and contributed nicely for his first year out of midgets.
His specialty, however, is his defensive game. Gauthier played against other teams' top forwards all season, and prides himself on playing a 200-foot game. He took more faceoffs than any other rookie, and 7th most in the league, winning 47% in his first year in the Q. He's a penalty killer, has great hockey sense, and plays with an intelligence well beyond his years, especially in his own zone. His shutdown role this year make his offensive numbers look even better, and he should only improve in that area as he adds more muscle on to his frame and learns to use his body more effectively.
Gauthier played for Team Canada's gold medal winning U-18 squad, and is ranked 8th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
We'll finish up with a quote from Ross MacLean, head of International Scouting Services.
The prototypical 2nd/3rd center that every team covets. Gauthier has great size, works hard in both directions and can really shut down opponents top offensive players well. He thinks the game incredibly well and is a valuable asset in just about every situation. While he is at his best and most appealing in the defensive side of the game, he is no slouch offensively either and is a capable goal scorer and set up man. He uses his size well to protect possession and battle out plays around the net and in the corners.
Follow the rest of the 2013 SBN NHL Mock Draft right here, and look for continued draft coverage all week on DBTB.