Nikita Nesterenko had actually awakened from an afternoon nap on Monday when he got a mobile phone alert. Nesterenko, a previous Boston College forward now betting the American Hockey League’s San Diego Gulls, saw the name of previous college colleague Cutter Gauthier turn up in a post sent by the Anaheim Ducks
” Initially, I seemed like they were simply congratulating him on the world juniors or something,” Nesterenko stated. “Something odd. Perhaps some type of connection. And after that I saw they got him. I resembled, ‘Wow, that’s insane.'”
The Ducks had actually traded Jamie Drysdale, a defenseman they prepared with the No. 6 choice in 2020, and a 2025 second-round choice for Gauthier, the No. 5 choice in 2022. The offer sent out shockwaves throughout the hockey world, leaving the Philadelphia Flyers disillusioned and infuriating big swaths of their enthusiastic fan base.
A near-sellout crowd at Wells Fargo Center accepted the 21-year-old Drysdale today in his remarkable Flyers launching. On the other hand, Gauthier emerged on Wednesday in 2 interviews to go over the trade, though he didn’t offer particular responses about how things broke down with the Flyers. Gauthier stated he got death dangers through social networks after reports emerged that he didn’t wish to bet Philadelphia.
So, who is Gauthier? Is the 19-year-old possibility being unjustly reviled for desiring a say in his future? And are his abilities sufficient to validate all this debate? Some individuals who have actually hung out with him, and have actually seen him carefully, think he’s not getting reasonable treatment in some circles.
” He’s got an excellent character,” Nesterenko stated. “He’s not scared to speak his mind. Individuals are seeing that.
” Certainly, the Flyers’ fan base and company is going to be a little salted and pissed off that they didn’t get such a star gamer. Immediately, when you’re type of pissed off, your very first impulse is to trash the kid and state that he’s entitled and he does not wish to exist. He’s an excellent kid.
” He decided for himself where he believes he’s going to suit much better. Have a much better advancement for his profession and the future. The reality that individuals are pointing fingers stating he’s entitled and all this things, it’s simply insane to me since he was never ever like that at college. He simply desires what’s finest for the group. Simply an excellent gamer and fantastic kid off the ice.”
Craig Button, a TSN expert and a previous NHL executive, does not like how the Flyers responded in the trade’s after-effects, with pointed remarks from group president Keith Jones and chairman CEO Dan Hilferty, who stated on a Flyers-themed podcast: “It’s gon na be a rough trip here and he made it. We’re Philadelphians and we desire individuals who wish to be here with us.”
To Button, the Flyers had some complicity in staining Gauthier’s makeup.
” I have actually been around Cutter for a variety of years,” he stated. “I believe Cutter is an elite gamer. I do not understand what took place. Does it truly matter? The Philadelphia Flyers had the ability to make a trade. What astonishes me is they were going to secure a kid by not stating anything till they traded him. Then they began a defamation of character.
” It’s a lot of B.S. as far as I’m worried. … At the end of it, take the high roadway. I do not understand if Cutter will ever have a talk about it or if he ever requires to discuss it. Bottom line is, I got all the time in the world for Cutter Gauthier. The Philadelphia Flyers acknowledged that he wasn’t going to play there, and they went and made a trade. Commemorate what you simply did. You do not need to smear the kid.
” It’s amusing. I didn’t see any person in the Philadelphia Flyers company discussing Eric Lindros selecting where he wished to go. A lot of trash is what I believe it is.”
Nesterenko played 9 video games with the Ducks last season after ending his BC profession and is working to return to Anaheim. He’s intending to be colleagues with Gauthier once again and feels that, in Gauthier, the Ducks will have a gamer who will be understood for a lot more than declining the group that prepared him.
” When he pertains to Anaheim, he’s going to be fantastic,” Nesterenko stated. “He’s incredibly competitive. He wishes to win. That’s what we’re pursuing. I have actually got absolutely nothing however advantages to state about him, truthfully.”
The very first response of Boston College associate head coach Brendan Buckley, when he saw the response of others to the trade, was to consider Gauthier, who he understood had a lot going on, beyond the trade. The Eagles personnel had actually offered their 6 members of Group U.S.A.’s gold medal-winning world juniors team a long time off before going back to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to rejoin the group and reboot their college seasons. Some had actually gone back to school on Jan. 8. Others were still making their method back on Tuesday.
For his part, Buckley has “absolutely nothing however fantastic things to state about him and what he has actually provided for our program over the last 2 years.”
” He has actually been an excellent colleague, an excellent guy to coach, he’s competitive in practice, he presses himself, he wishes to improve, he desires the group to do well,” Buckley stated. “In 2015, we weren’t where we most likely wished to be, and after that we had a good class can be found in with some excellent skill and he assisted them out and assisted get them up to speed.”
He understands the Ducks are getting an excellent gamer, too.
” The very first thing that enters your mind with Cutter is an elite release and shot,” Buckley stated. “He can score from all over the ice and it leaves of his stick rapidly. I believe it surprises goalies, how rapidly the puck can get to them. That semifinal objective on the power play at the world juniors was an excellent example of how he can simply rip a puck and alter a video game. “
Buckley stated Gauthier has actually likewise striven to complete his video game and get ready for the NHL over the last 2 seasons.
” He’s simply a more fully grown gamer now and I believe that simply features being a bit older and physically developing, and after that likewise playing in high-compete video games, which he has actually constantly done the last 2 years for us,” Buckley stated. “He has actually done a truly excellent task. He strives and he’s an enjoyable guy to coach since he wishes to improve each and every single day.”
3 years earlier, when Gauthier was set to sign up with U.S.A. Hockey’s nationwide program, Nick Fohr, among the coaches for the 2004 age, keeps in mind there being “a lot stated about him.”
There weren’t specifics, however he keeps in mind there being “a little bit of an unfavorable undertone from a viewpoint of ‘he may be tough to handle.'”
Therefore, naturally, he was a little thinking about how Gauthier was going to remain in their 2 years together with the group.
In the end, however, “the fact could not have actually been even more from that,” according to Fohr.
” Truthfully, all of this things that was being stated, none of it held true. None of it. He was remarkable, and he was an excellent colleague. He worked his tail off, he was engaging, he had an excellent relationships with everyone, personnel consisted of. He was fantastic. He did whatever we asked him to do and he even desired more.”
Gauthier was billed as one of the stars in his age from the very start. “Everyone was discussing Cutter Gauthier,” Fohr stated. However while he ‘d complete as that guy– a first-liner for the ’04 group– and would end up being the No. 5 choice, that’s not where Fohr and U.S.A.’s personnel began him.
That consisted of using the 2nd power-play system throughout his time at the program since he played the exact same area as a larger star, Logan Cooley “It didn’t hinder him from setting about his company and doing his work and being excellent with it,” according to Fohr.
” It was a very gifted group and he wasn’t played as the emphasize guy. Logan Cooley was the highlighted gamer in the group. And he most likely should have to be on that leading system sometimes however he wasn’t. So he wasn’t handed whatever, he wasn’t offered whatever, it wasn’t everything about Cutter Gauthier. And he was remarkable,” Fohr stated.
” It wasn’t simple for him here and in some cases if you’re the guy when you can be found in and you remain the guy for 2 years like Cooley was, it’s simple for those guys, they never ever truly deal with any difficulty or have minutes where they get annoyed and unexpectedly their real colors come out. Which wasn’t the case for Cutter. He needed to work for the important things he got and it wasn’t constantly simple for him. And by the end of it he’s on that line with (Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerud) and things are truly, truly excellent. I believe it simply reveals his character, and how he worked, and his complete level.”
That hasn’t altered in Fohr’s time with Gauthier because he left the program, either. He coached him at the 2023 world juniors. Before the 2024 world juniors, when Gauthier remained in Plymouth for choice camp, he made time to skate and experiment Fohr’s present U18 group.
” He was remarkable with my present gamers, and there’s no ‘I’m much better than any person else’ kind of mindset to him. He’s simply a modest kid that simply sets about his company and values the important things he gets,” Fohr stated.
Today, as Fohr viewed how all of this played out, he was advised of gamers like Jimmy Vesey and Adam Fox, who likewise chose not to bet the groups that prepared them. On draft day, he keeps in mind seeing Gauthier and his household at the hotel and them being “thrilled” about the Flyers.
” Things might have altered. … It takes place a lot more than individuals recognize. This simply occurred to be at a huge minute with the world juniors and him being a high profile guy. It does not make him an enemy by any ways,” Fohr stated.
” They’re kids. They’re still kids.”
Gauthier will not play his very first NHL video game till he completes his sophomore season with the Eagles, which might be a remarkable one considered that they are ranked No. 1 in the country. It might include the Ducks in April, as he validated that he plans to sign an entry-level agreement with them. And there will be fantastic anticipation for the forward, who can play center or on the wing and is, Button busily thinks, a “multi-dimensional danger” in the mold of Colorado Avalanche star Mikko Rantanen as a similarly harmful shooter and set-up male.
” We take a look at Cutter and believe what an excellent shot and what an excellent objective scorer he is,” Button stated. “He’s likewise a hell of a playmaker. And I believe that’s what keeps challengers off balance when you’re betting Cutter. He can beat you with a play, he can beat you with a shot. And he’s huge. He can skate. He’s got self-confidence in his video game.”
Button calls Gauthier “an elite, elite shooter” with determine precision. That has actually assisted him end up being BC’s leading objective scorer over his 2 seasons, acquiring 29 in his very first 49 video games with the Eagles. He had just 2 in the United States’ march to their 6th world juniors gold medal however had 10 helps to connect Czechia’s Jiri Kulich, a Sabres possibility, for the competition scoring title.
Nesterenko played last season with Gauthier at BC and remembers him as a peaceful kid initially that began to open as he discovered his footing in NCAA competitors. The 2 would thrive as linemates and while the Eagles had a below average 14-16-6 record, Gauthier led them in objectives (16) and points (37) as a freshman.
” On the ice, he’s a talented scorer,” stated Nesterenko, who played 3 seasons at BC and signed with Anaheim after a trade with the Wild “It’s hard at this level to score an objective, so at any time you can protect a guy like that with that scoring touch, it’s a big plus. Off the ice, he’s an excellent kid. He implies well. He’s got an excellent household. He was type of shy entering into college. Was extremely to himself. Certainly, a great deal of guys are shy when they can be found in. New group, brand-new environment. When he type of been familiar with all the guys– and I type of brought him under my wing, teaching him a couple things– he got changed truly fast.
” We had a great deal of enjoyable. We didn’t have the very best group in regards to outcome. Certainly, they’re doing way much better this year. However he was a huge part of our group. We had a great deal of enjoyable. He’s an excellent kid.”
( Picture of Cutter Gauthier: Richard T Gagnon/ Getty Images)