Rocco Zappia is a former scout with ISS who will be writing some draft articles for Recrutes between now and the 2022 NHL Draft. Here is his first report, featuring USNTDP forward Cutter Gauthier:
Cutter Gauthier is a low-risk high-upside power winger who can contribute in all situations on the ice. Boasting NHL caliber size and speed, combined with a lethal shot that can beat goalies from distance,
Gauthier brings a lot of the raw tools that scouts covet when drafting a prospect. His best attribute is his shot, which he will use as often as he can from all areas of the ice. He is equally dangerous in tight, with good awareness around the crease and an ability to bury loose pucks. His stickhandling ability is a plus attribute, although not truly elite. He lacks the truly quick hands, but is excellent at making one or two moves in stride to create shooting or passing lanes for himself.
Although very much a shooter first with an excellent release, Gauthier is able to make plays to his teammates when the situation calls for it. He’s not overly creative from a playmaking perspective, but it’s far from an area of weakness. His skating ability is also a plus attribute, although again not quite truly elite. He has a really good top-end speed, is able to beat defenders wide, and has enough quickness to capitalize in transition or to jump a pass in the defensive zone.
He is very solid on his feet, difficult to knock off the puck, and good along the boards. Gauthier is also a highly effective, and dangerous, penalty killer. He reads and anticipates the play well and is able to create plenty of offensive opportunities for himself on the PK. His ability on the PK, and willingness to play with heart in any role, is what makes him a very safe bet to become a contributing NHL player.
Even if the offensive ceiling doesn’t become as high as it should, he will still find a role to play and be a valued teammate in the middle of the lineup. Gauthier’s ceiling is that of a first-line goal-scoring power winger who contributes in all three zones, while his floor is likely as a third line “Swiss army knife” who can chip in offensively, play up and down the lineup, and contribute on both special teams. Gauthier is a player likely to go in the middle third of the first round, but don’t be surprised if a team falls in love with the package of tools and drafts him within the top ten.