An opponent's perspective on Gauthier, a Flyers prospect who doesn't go away


After Providence saw Cutter Gauthier up close the night before, its game plan was to get after the Boston College freshman standout in Game 2.

Make him uncomfortable, make him work for everything and make him feel your presence from the drop of the puck.

Maybe it would throw off the 2022 No. 5 overall draft pick.

It didn't.

In the second game of a back-to-back set during early December, the Flyers' prospect seemed to relish the Friars' approach.

It's what caught the eye of Providence head coach Nate Leaman, who has a national championship (2015 — Providence) and world junior championship (2021 — U.S.) on his résumé.

"The second night we hit him twice hard the first shift and it just seemed to charge him up and he responded," Leaman said last Friday in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "I think that’s obviously a positive for Philly that when things got a little physical, it seemed to get him more competitive."

The Friars were vigilant in keeping the 18-year-old Gauthier off the score sheet Dec. 3 in a 2-2 tie against the Eagles. After not recording a shot in the opening frame, Gauthier had three in the third period and finished the game with five.

"He's a difference-maker at our level right now. With difference-makers, you want to make it hard on them," Leaman said. "We got a piece of him a couple times that first shift of the game. I just remember seeing him in the third period just fully charged.

"On the second night in college hockey, it's tough to be consistent. Sometimes on that second night, to get a piece of guys early, they tend to disappear. That wasn’t the case with Cutter."

The night prior, Gauthier buried a one-timer for a power play goal as Boston College tied Providence, 1-1.

The Flyers have liked what they've seen from Gauthier, who is currently competing as a first-line winger for the U.S. at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship and has starred for Boston College. Through 13 games, he leads the Eagles with 10 goals and 16 points. He entered Monday ranked 20th in the country with 1.23 points per game.

With his size (6-2/200), explosiveness and ability to play center or winger, Gauthier climbed draft boards leading up to July. The Flyers made him the fifth overall pick at Montreal's Bell Centre.

"I'm a two-way power forward with lots of skill, extremely versatile, can play the left, right or center position," Gauthier, when asked for a scouting report, said after being selected by the Flyers. "Love throwing the body and I'm a great leader, as well."

It's possible Gauthier will be a one-and-done at the college level. The Flyers will see how he fares at world juniors and the rest of his freshman season with Boston College. Gauthier will also make that call.

But, similar to his draft year, he has looked like a fast riser this season.

"Good burst of speed and excellent release," Leaman said. "Reminded me a lot of Phil Kessel at that age. He can just burst and his release is elite. Those are two things that I thought were … it just reminded me of Phil Kessel when I saw Phil at that age."

After one season at Minnesota, Kessel was the fifth overall draft pick in 2006 by the Bruins and turned pro.

"I think everything he does translates quick, just because of the burst and the release," Leaman said of Gauthier. "I do think what he does translates quick, that’s for sure."

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