Prospect Profile: Cutter Gauthier

Photo: AP

By Thomas Harrington

With Anaheim’s offseason upon us, it’s time to begin the summer prospect write-ups. This summer, I’ll be starting with the profiles for prospects that Anaheim has acquired over the past year. First up is forward Cutter Gauthier.

Acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers for defenseman Jamie Drysdale and a 2025 2nd round draft pick, Gauthier made his NHL debut after finishing his college career at Boston College. The Flyers had originally selected Gauthier in the first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, fifth overall.

After being drafted by Philadelphia, Gauthier spent two seasons at Boston College. As a freshman, he scored 16 goals and 37 points. This past season, he scored 38 goals and 65 points in 41 games and was nominated for the Hobey Baker Award. He ended up losing to Macklin Celebrini, the presumptive top pick at the upcoming draft in June. He led the NCAA in goals and finished second in points. Twice, he matched his career high in points with four and at one point had a 14-game point streak. He helped lead Boston College to the National Championship game, but they lost 2-0 to the University of Denver. Gauthier was the first Boston College player since Johnny Gaudreau to score 30 goals in a season. Gaudreau scored 36 goals in the 2013-2014 season. Gauthier’s 38 goals tied a Boston College record for goals scored in a season.

Gauthier also played for Team USA at the World Junior Championships. At the 2023 tournament, he played in seven games and scored four goals and 10 points, finishing tied for sixth in points and helping the US win the bronze medal. At the 2024 tournament, he scored two goals and 12 points in seven games, tying for the tournament lead in assists and points while helping Team USA win the gold medal.

After his college career ended, Gauthier signed his entry-level deal with the Ducks and played in their final regular season game against Vegas. He didn’t look out of place in the NHL and played 15:24, recorded one assist, and took three shots on goal. Gauthier played on the first line with Leo Carlsson and Alex Killorn

Gauthier is a high-end offensive player, but also a smart defensive player. He’s got a strong shot and isn’t afraid to use it. With Boston last season, he took five or more shots in 25 games, and had 10 or more shots twice. He can play both center and wing. Given the number of young NHL centers the Ducks have, I think Gauthier will probably play wing more often than not with Anaheim, but having a player who can play both positions is always valuable.

Gauthier has already made his NHL debut. At this point, the question is whether or not he’s ready for a full 82 game season with the Ducks, or if it would be better for him to get some time in the minors to further develop his game. To me, there’s no question that he’s going to get time with the Ducks, and similar to Carlsson this past season, I think Pat Verbeek will want him in Anaheim for the entire year. However, if Gauthier hits a wall, struggles, or gets injured, I could see him playing some games with San Diego, but I don’t think it will be significant time.

I have two sets of expectations for Gauthier next year, one for him in the NHL and one for him in the AHL. If he does play with the Gulls, he simply needs to be one of their best players on a nightly basis. He’s good enough where if he plays in San Diego next season, I’d expect him to be one of the team’s offensive leaders. When he’s in Anaheim, I expect him to put up some points. In Trevor Zegras’ rookie season, he scored 23 goals and 61 points in 75 games. In Mason McTavish’s rookie season, he played in 80 games and scored 17 goals and 43 points. If Gauthier is truly ready for the NHL and gets a lot of time on the top line, I think he will probably finish somewhere between Zegras and McTavish in terms of points. If the Ducks decide to give him some nights off like they did with Carlsson early in the season, then Gauthier might finish closer to what Carlsson did when he scored 12 goals and 29 points in 55 games this past season.

After playing a game at the end of the season, Gauthier has two more years left on his entry-level contract. When it’s over, there’s no question that the Ducks will re-sign him. If he has a truly phenomenal rookie season, Anaheim could extend him as early as next summer. However, I think it more likely they’ll wait until his current contract is up before extending him. Depending on how his game develops, he could get a bridge deal, similar to the one that Zegras signed last fall. But if the Ducks think he’s even further along than Zegras was, then they could try to extend Gauthier on a seven or eight-year deal.

The next prospect profile will be on forward Jan Mysak.

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June 2nd, 2024



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