Pipeline: Gauthier’s logged many miles to chase NHL Draft dream
Cutter Gauthier has traveled a lot of miles to end up where he is today.
Starting in Sweden.
He and his younger sister Kennedy were both born in Sweden, where his father Sean played professional hockey at the time.
“My dad finished off his pro career over in Sweden. Skelleftea in the Elite league in Sweden,” Gauthier told The Pipeline Show‘s Guy Flaming. “I lived there for a few years, then we moved over to Arizona.”
Yes, that’s right.
Gauthier ended up in Arizona during his youth and started his hockey career in this unlikely desert state.
That’s a bit of a trek.
“Not many people grew up playing hockey in Arizona, but I was fortunate enough to have a supporting family. Arizona is not such a big hockey community,” Gauthier said.
From Arizona he was recruited by the Honeybaked AAA program in Michigan.
Another drastic change for the youngster.
“I had the opportunity to move out to Michigan when I was 10-years-old to play for Honeybaked, the AAA program out here,” he said. “It was a tough decision as a family. We looked at all the options and that was the best one for my career and my family was super supportive and they made the decision and it’s been awesome.”
That move paid off.
The exposure of playing with Honeybaked got Gauthier noticed by the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP), which happens to be headquartered in Flint, Michigan.
This time not so drastic.
“I heard about it once I moved out here and they watched some games,” Gauthier said. “They really kinda reached out and started talking to me during my 13-14 year season.”
Gauthier attributes his positive development the past two seasons to the NTDP.
He’s evolved his game while playing there.
“I think just my consistency and overall physicalness,” He started. “I think last year I wasn’t hitting guys or using my body and size as an advantage. I think this year I’ve been using it a lot more consistently and getting in tight spaces where I can use my great release.”
The 6-foot-3, 194 pound forward has learned how to use his size to his advantage and improve his game.
Especially when it comes to shooting the puck.
Gauthier currently leads the NTDP team in goals with 30 in 42 games, and has 47 points total.
“I think just using my size down low whether it’s protecting the puck or being physical and creating time and space for my teammates to make plays,” he said.
But Gauthier believes that there are deeper levels to his game that he can utilize while on the ice.
He’s more than just a shot.
“I’d say I’m a two-way power forward with lots of skill. If I’m playing at the center, I can play a gritty, defensive game and a great offensive game,” he told Flaming. “I kinda have the overall package, physical, have a great shot, great IQ and great skating ability, and can make plays all over the ice and support teammates.”
The improvement to different areas of his game have propelled him into a potential first round choice in the 2022 NHL Draft.
This has been Gauthier’s goal since starting his hockey career.
“I definitely would say that going in the first round has been my goal since I was young,” he stated.
Gauthier is No. 16 in FCHockey’s Midterm ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft, and is slotted sixth among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm list.
But he doesn’t let the draft talk affect his focus while on the ice.
“I’d say I don’t really look at it too much,” Gauthier said.
“But if something pops on my feed I’ll definitely look at it. For the most part I don’t worry about that outside noise and focus on my game.”
He is also looking forward to playing for Jerry York at the Boston University next year. He is committed to them for the 2022-23 season.
More miles to add to the journey.
“Definitely the hockey is great and the history of the program is absolutely unreal,” Gauthier said. “The coaches, ever since they reached out, they’re nothing but class. They’re great guys and great people. The city itself is an awesome place to play and with great fans. I think all that combined really motivated me to go to such a cool spot.”
Considering where hockey has taken Gauthier so far throughout his lifetime, it still has to be decided where he will end up in the future depending on what team selects him in the 2022 NHL Draft.
And only time will tell where this incredible hockey journey will end.