Vancouver Canucks on the trend: Adam Gaudette

VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 10: Adam Gaudette #88 of the Vancouver Canucks and Mario Kempe #29 of the Arizona Coyotes face-off during their NHL game at Rogers Arena January 10, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n
VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 10: Adam Gaudette #88 of the Vancouver Canucks and Mario Kempe #29 of the Arizona Coyotes face-off during their NHL game at Rogers Arena January 10, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n /

In this very first entry in my first ever series at The Canuck Way, I take a look at how Vancouver Canucks’ forward Adam Gaudette has been trending thus far in his career and will be comparing him to similar players past and present of a close level.

In this series, I will explore in-depth how players on the Vancouver Canucks are trending in comparison to past players as well as other similar players around the league.

Adam Gaudette quietly had a very successful rookie campaign for the Vancouver Canucks.  His numbers did not shine out the way other recent rookies have, but he showed lots of heart, passion and his effort was never lacking on the ice. Winning the Hobey Baker award lofted very high expectations on the Northeastern University alumnus, with past winners such as former Canuck Brendan Morrison breaking into the league with good numbers there was reason for optimism.

Something that I feel is quite often overlooked when looking at players who had won the Hobey Baker in the past and made immediate impacts for their teams is that, lots of the later round picks (aside from Johnny Gaudreau) played four full seasons with their college team before turning pro, Jimmy Vesey, Will Butcher both played four seasons; Gaudette played only three and that extra year can do wonders for development and confidence.

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The thoughts of what I believe Gaudette is for the Vancouver Canucks need to be stated before I can delve into the numbers and opinions; Adam Gaudette is a utility third-line center for the team, nothing more. Gaudette is a middle 6 player, he will not play on your top line and doesn’t belong on your bottom line. If Bo Horvat was to go down with an injury slide Gaudette in there for a temporary filler, but he would thrive in a mainly third line utility environment. When you think of third-line centers with great utility who comes to mind? Manny Malhotra.

Manny was a part of the deepest Canucks teams in recent memory and that was a very solid third line. If Gaudette can contribute to the team the way Manny did during his tenure here that would give Travis Green many options for who to throw out against who, especially in a playoff line matching war.

Adam Gaudette is 22 years old and scored 12 points with 55 shots in 56 games; when Malhotra was 22 years old he scored 10 points and had 62 shots in 59 games. Now before you guys all bite my head off with the “Malhotra carved out his niche in the face-off dot”, look at who the assistant coach is, the Manny himself. If Gaudette can improve his face-offs to above 50% on a regular basis, the Canucks will have one of the best third liners in the league.

One of the better third lines in the league that season had to be the Winnipeg Jets, and the center of that line was Andrew Copp. Copp is 6’1″ 201 lbs, Gaudette is also 6’1″ but only weighs 170lbs so he has the room to fill out that frame and play a more physical role as a third-line center. Does Gaudette have it in his game to add that aspect in order to excel? He has yet to show it.

On paper Copp broke into the league as a 20 year old after his University season at Michigan, he played one game and recorded one assist. Gaudette broke in as a 21-year-old and played five games but recorded no points. In their first year in the NHL Copp recorded 13 points and Gaudette 12. If Gaudette grows into his frame as well as maintaining a high skill level that he showed in University then he can trend upwards just like Copp has since he broke in.

Travis Green had Gaudette’s ice time starting as low as 7:18, that was in his third game of the season and it got as high as 16:26 in his 45th game of the season, this was a trend that followed this year and shows the growth in Green’s confidence for playing Gaudette.

Gaudette thrives from games where he’s given the time and space to shoot the puck on net, three of his five goals this past year came from games where he took three shots on goal. A deeper roster this year will hopefully allow for him to play with more skilled players and get that shot off more often, he averaged less than a shot a game last season and that’s not enough.

Adam Gaudette heated up in the middle of the season and scored all five of his goals in 16 games, that was during a few stints in Utica where he also scored 11 points in 14 games. Consistency is a key factor for Gaudette to maintaining his upward trend towards becoming that important factor in the Canucks lineup; just like Malhotra was for the 2011 Canucks and like Copp was last year for the Jets.

Next. Vancouver Canucks’ Micheal Ferland: A modern day enforcer. dark

With another year of training and after gaining some confidence I am very excited to see where Gaudette can take his game to next season, I have no doubt that Gaudette is trending up and will become one of the most dangerous third liners in the game. Stay tuned for the next addition to this series, where I look at Brock Boeser!