After a wildly inconsistent and disappointing lock-out-shortened season, the Phoenix Coyotes will look to continue to build their roster through the draft. The 2013 draft is very deep even after the top prospects (Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin) are off the board. Over the next few weeks, Five for Howling will break down a handful of prospects that could be available for the Coyotes with their pick at number 12 in this year's NHL entry draft, and discuss how the players might fit with the team.
The fifth edition of the 2013 draft profiles focuses on a defensively-gifted forward from the Q. To see all of the previous draft profiles click here.
Today's prospect: Frédérik Gauthier- C (Rimouski Oceanic- QMJHL)
What separates Frédérik Gauthier from the majority of draft eligible players? Defense and the way he thinks about defense. For many teenagers entering the NHL Draft, defense is a secondary concern or a necessary evil. Gauthier not only excels in that aspect of the game, he enjoys it.
"It's easier to go on the offensive than playing defense. But I know that if you play good defense, you're going to create good offense," he told NHL.com, "You're a team ... there's a defensive end and offensive end and you have to chip in with both. I learned that every time you're on the ice you have to give it what you got, and on the next shift give it what you got."
His penchant for defense has not gone unnoticed by scouts. Chris Bordeleau of NHL Central Scouting told NHL.com, "I've never seen a kid get back and play defense like he does in 20 years. In his own end, he's always around the puck. A kid that can play defense like he does at his age, with that kind of maturity, is very rare."
The Mascouche, Quebec native can provide some offense, albeit inconsistent. Gauthier scored 22 goals and accumulated 60 points in 62 QMJHL games last season, which ranked fourth among first-year players. After turning 18 one month ago, Gauthier stands at 6' 5" tall and weighs in at 210 pounds. The size and defensive game is NHL ready right now.
Central Scouting: 8th in North American skaters
Hockey Prospectus: 31st overall
International Scouting Services: 18th overall
Mike Morreale from NHL.com believes that Gauthier resembles Phoenix-native Sean Couturier.
Fit in Phoenix
A big, defensively-minded forward can always find a way onto a Dave Tippett team. Gauthier provides security in his own end unmatched by any player likely to be taken mid-way through the first round.
The combination of his size and skill set may allow Gauthier to see some playing time with the main club next season, even if it is only a handful of games before being sent back to Major Juniors.