After signing a two-year, two-way contract, Frederik Gauthier still needs to show he belongs at the NHL level for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
As per the Leafs’ media relations Twitter account, Gauthier has signed a two-year, two-way deal. The NHL salary of the contract carries an average annual value of $675,000.
The 2013 21st overall draft pick still has a lot to prove with the Leafs. The question is, will he ever make it at the NHL level?
There is no denying Gauthier has excellent defensive skills and an imposing frame, which help him more than hold his own on faceoffs and the penalty kill. However, his offensive game still leaves a lot to be desired.
Last season, the 23-year-old managed just one point (a goal) in nine NHL appearances. Overall, he has played 37 games at the NHL level during the past three seasons, scoring five points along the way (three goals and two assists).
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The ceiling for Gauthier appears to be that as a bottom-six forward in the NHL. However, you have to wonder if even this is possible for him.
The Laval, Quebec native has had much more success at the AHL level and last season helped the Marlies win the Calder Cup. He scored 18 points (seven goals and 11 assists) in 57 regular season games and added eight more points (two goals and six assists) during 20 appearances in the playoffs.
As things stand, Gauthier projects to be little more than a depth piece for the Leafs, only being called up to cover for injuries. However, if he can apply himself better, he has just enough upside to keep his dream alive of contributing regularly at the NHL level.
What do you think the future holds for Gauthier, whether it be with the Toronto Maple Leafs or another organization? Will he make it in the NHL, or have to settle for mostly playing in the AHL? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.