When Canucks fans are asked about college prospects, Adam Gaudette isn’t usually one of the first names you hear. But the way his 2016-17 campaign has started, the Braintree, Massachusetts native is certainly making a case for himself.
The Canucks selected Gaudette in the fifth round (149th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft, after a 30 point season in the United States Hockey League with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. That summer, Gaudette made the jump to the NCAA and joined the Northeastern University Huskies for the 2015-16 season.
Gaudette’s freshman season with the Huskies was nothing short of a success; he played in all of the team’s 41 games and scored 30 points in the process. The club would go on to win the Hockey East championship, but bowed out in the first round of the NCAA tournament to North Dakota. Gaudette notched five points in the Huskies’ seven postseason games, including a crucial goal against UMass Lowell in the Hockey East final.
It makes sense to assume that Gaudette would build on the successes of his first college season, but he’s done more than that. In just 14 games Gaudette has scored eight goals and 12 assists, two-thirds of his full season totals last year. His 20 points puts him ninth in scoring among all Division I players and third on the Huskies. While those totals may be due to having a larger veteran role with the Huskies, Canucks fans should definitely keep tabs on him this season.
Gaudette leads all Northeastern players in shots on goal with 65. The Canucks’ prospect pool lacks players that have a shoot first instinct, an ability which could vault Gaudette over more highly touted players on the depth chart. His team-leading shot totals are mostly due to his constant net-front presence and aggressive attack, another style of play at short supply in Vancouver and Utica.
But Gaudette’s most important attribute is his hardworking, high octane play. The Canucks have plenty of skilled young prospects, but not many of them bring such tenacity to the ice than Adam Gaudette. His energetic play can lift his team out of a funk single handedly and create scoring chances out of nothing.
While Gaudette’s potential ceiling isn’t the highest due to being a late draft choice, there is definitely the chance that he could become a fantastic depth player on the Canucks roster down the line. If he continues on the excellent pace of development he’s on in the NCAA, he just might even end up playing a pivotal role in Vancouver’s future success as a top goal scorer. But if there’s one thing that is certain about Adam Gaudette’s future, it’s that he’ll stop at nothing to get to the top.