With the fifth pick in the draft, the Philadelphia Flyers have selected forward Cutter Gauthier from the US National Development Program.
Gauthier is a big player, listed at 6-foot-3, and despite playing on the wing for his entire season, rumors started to spread that he will be able to play down the middle in the future. It is still to be seen if he will play at center when he laces up for Boston College this fall. The Sweden-born American is praised for his rush offense and ability to use his size to his advantage, which will be a welcome addition to any future edition of the Flyers.
And some scouts have certainly grown to love him as a realistic top pick this year.
As the season progressed, Gauthier’s athletic build and pro-built game pushed him from projected first-rounder to top-10 consideration for some teams. And while I’m not quite there, the appeal is obvious. Gauthier has always been a net-focussed shooter but he has worked to turn himself into a net-driven one, playing a more intentional game that knows what it is. On the puck, he uses inside body positioning to get to the middle off the cycle or the rush. Off of it, he finishes his checks and looks to help his line get it back. I wouldn’t say he’s a menacing power forward type, but he has learned to play a very engaged, imposing, speed game. Gauthier’s a decently-smooth skater and despite his heavy skew toward shooting and goals, I find he sees the ice well, hits seams when they’re there, and makes a lot of short little plays as a passer off the wall (including off his backhand).
His greatest strength is his catch-and-release. He can sling it. I do think he shoots a bit too much (a lot of his shots miss the net or are taken from low-percentage areas), but you can live with that and that should drop out as he gets even strong over his NHL frame. He’s a favorite among scouts for the readymade projectability of his tools and his ability to put the puck in the net. — Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
For us at Broad Street Hockey, we had him tied at no. 10 in our 2022 Community Draft Board.
While Gauthier is widely known for his strong shot and his ability to pepper any goaltender from the mid-range, set-up via a cycle or on the rush, he can certainly dish the puck around the ice and create scoring chances with any amount of ice
Will the potential of Gauthier as a rough-and-tumble top-six center make the Flyers’ miserable 2021-22 season worth it? Only time will tell.