The Pipeline: A conversation with Nathan Gaucher
Nathan Gaucher wants to prove something to all the NHL teams watching him this year.
His growth trumps any production.
“I’m trying to be better in different aspects of my game and just trying to be better for the next level,” Gaucher told Guy Flaming of The Pipeline Show. “I don’t mind the points this year, I’m just trying to be a well rounded guy who plays a 200-foot game and just trying to be better in every aspect of my game.”
The 6-foot-3, 207 pound center has 28 points (17 goals, 11 assists) in 32 games for the Quebec Remparts.
He attributes his increase in goal production to getting bigger and stronger, since joining the league.
“Growing up I would like to pass a lot, I wouldn’t shoot,” he said. “But recently, for the last two years, I’ve been trying to shoot. For a big body, I know I have a great shot. I have some confidence in my shot.”
Gaucher is No. 24 in FCHockey’s Midterm ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft, and holds the No. 16 spot among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm list.
“It’s motivation, honestly,” he said. “I find it’s fun to see the list and to talk to teams and be involved with NHL teams. It’s amazing. I find it’s fun and it motivates me to be better and to get the highest pick as I can in the draft.”
Guy Flaming: Nathan, for yourself, 26 points right now through 30 games this year. Are you happy with the way that you’ve played?
Nathan Gaucher: Yeah, I’m happy with the way I’ve played. It’s been some ups and downs and I’m part of that too. I know I can do better after Christmas and I’m just going to prove it on the ice.
Guy Flaming: Last year in a shortened season you had 31 points in 30 games, so you actually have slightly fewer points in the same amount of games. Does that bother you at all?
Nathan Gaucher: Not at all. I’m trying to be better in different aspects of my game and just trying to be better for the next level. I don’t mind the points this year, I’m just trying to be a well rounded guy who plays a 200 foot game and just trying to be better in every aspect of my game.
Guy Flaming: Your father played in the QMJHL. I think he’s still coaching or involved in the league as well with Rouyn-Noranda?
Nathan Gaucher: He played in the Q himself, but now he’s more involved with management. He’s assistant GM and head scout of Rouyn-Noranda. It’s nice to have him involved in the league and my brother being around. It’s nice to have shoulders to lean on sometimes.
Guy Flaming: And your brother Jacob is in the league. This is his, I believe his final year in the league. He played for Val-d’Or for a long time, but he’s in Baie-Comeau now right?
Nathan Gaucher: Yeah, right.
Guy Flaming: Growing up did you and Jacob get to play on the same team at all? There’s a couple years difference, so I’m not sure if you got to have that experience.
Nathan Gaucher: It would have been really fun, but it was always like I stepped into the level and he stepped out. So that was the problem growing up, we didn’t get to play with each other. But we were always at the games supporting each other.
Guy Flaming: Now you never got to be on the same team, but you’ve played against each other now, that must be a lot of fun?
Nathan Gaucher: That is very fun. We’re both centermen, so we get some faceoffs once and a while and it’s pretty fun. We get into some battles. It’s fun playing against him, he’s a great player and he competes. It’s something special.
Guy Flaming: You were drafted very high by the Remparts, eight overall in 2019. I imagine there’s some pressure and expectations from the fanbase that they want you to be a star player in the league. Is it fair to say that you demand the most from you, than the fans or organization?
Nathan Gaucher: Yeah, I demand always to be the best everyday. I kind of work with that pressure, I’m fuelled by that. I’m determined and it drives me to be better and prove that I’m the better player they should have chosen.
Guy Flaming: How are you different now than you were two years ago as a player? How have you evolved as a hockey player?
Nathan Gaucher: It’s the maturity in my game. I was 15-years-old when I came in and I wasn’t too big. I felt a little small on the ice. My biggest asset was my speed coming into Junior. I thought I was a little slow, which didn’t happen to me before. So between my first and second year in the summer I worked a lot on my explosiveness in the gym.
Guy Flaming: We can look at your stats and see 26 points in 30 games. Pretty evenly split, 15 goals and 11 assists. Do you see yourself as more of a shooter or a setup guy?
Nathan Gaucher: Growing up, in Midget, I would have said setting up players, I would like to pass a lot, I wouldn’t shoot. But recently, for the last two years, I’ve been trying to shoot. For a big body, I know I have a great shot. I have some confidence in my shot.
Guy Flaming: I’ll ask players how much they think about the draft. What about for you, Nathan?
Nathan Gaucher: It’s motivation, honestly. I find it’s fun to see the list and to talk to teams and be involved with NHL teams. It’s amazing. I find it’s fun and it motivates me to be better and to get the highest pick as I can in the draft.
Guy Flaming: Central Scouting Midterm rankings have you 16th in North America. That’s got to be pretty nice to hear. Does that push you harder or do you look at that and say you know what I’m pretty happy with that?
Nathan Gaucher: I’m happy with my ranking, but there’s always a place to be better and to grow. And that’s what I’m going to prove in the second half of the season.
This interview has been edited for clarity and content.