Julien Gauthier of the New York Rangers Take the Opportunity

In the NHL, adversity breeds opportunity. Forward of the New York Rangers’ Julien Gauthier, that expression couldn’t be more precise. When Sammy Blais With a terrible knee injury that will keep him out for the rest of the 2021-22 season, head coach Gerard Gallant has agreed to let Gauthier take over his role. Since the injury occurred on November 14 in a game against the New Jersey Devils, the Rangers have won 4-1, beating the opponent 18-11.

Gauthier played a key role in stabilizing the attacking lines, as demonstrated by his stellar two-assist display in Friday’s 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins. The Rangers, currently 13-4-3 in the season, have a new youth weapon to add to their arsenal with the 24-year-old winger.

Side by side with Filip Chytil and Alexis Lafreniere, Gauthier demonstrated a willingness to throw around his massive frame (6 foot-4, 227 pounds). But the most impressive part of his play to date is his speed and superior skating ability, which allows him to beat defenders from the outside and use his massive body to net driving. Fans saw glimpses of that speed and driveability last season, as evidenced by the Quebec native’s goal against the Philadelphia Flyers in March.

Gauthier has made headlines in every game he’s played, forcing him to become an NHL regular. As for the first pick of 2016 by the Carolina Hurricanes, it’s the title he’s been desperately searching for since he was picked.

Gauthier’s Play By The Numbers

The ability to finish has yet to match Gauthier’s game, as the striker has scored only 4.2% during the season. However, he had four points (one goal, three assists) in 11 games, creating nightly chances. Although not an everyday player until Blais’ injury, Gauthier was fourth above Rangers in terms of individual scoring opportunities, with 28, each Natural Metrics Trick.

What his ability to create is open to the ice for his teammates. Just like Blais in testing and generating revenue, Gauthier’s skill level allows him to blend seamlessly with Chytil and Lafreniere. The trio have played so well that of all the lines that have played at least 50 minutes together this season, they ranked second in terms of target rate expected, according to MoneyPuck.

With an extended attacking time zone and constant opportunities, goals will start to arrive quickly and often for Gauthier and the third line. Not to mention that in his limited games and only 11:13 on ice per game, the winger led the Rangers with 22 personally dangerous chances.

“I just think growing up and being confident is the biggest thing for Julien” – Gerard Gallant on Julien Gauthier https://t.co/nCBi3oP4af
New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant on Julien Gauthier’s play

In search of a player comparison for Gauthier, we don’t have to go far. His amazing speed and long range reminded me of a young Chris Kreider. The longest-serving Ranger has entered the league and is tantalizing with his combination of speed and skill. Fast forward to the 2021-22 season, Kreider played his entire game, leading the Blueshirts with 15 goals and penalties.

Related: Players Acting as Rangers Help Win the End Game

That complete game is the next step for Gauthier, who continues to be annoying. Being a 200-foot tall player will allow him to have even more impact in the rush. His two main assists in the 5-2 win at TD Garden both came in a rush. Gauthier can become an excellent NHL striker if he can learn to play responsibly defensively and turn the defense into quick opportunities.

Gauthier’s Play offers Rangers . options

The importance of Gauthier’s appearance cannot be denied. With the tinted relationship that Rangers now have with former selector in the first round Vitaly Kravtsov, which is essential for another young striker to dominate the front three. Not only does Gauthier fill a huge void in the roster right now, but he could be a logical choice for Rangers given their impending cascading crisis.

But in the immediate future, general manager Chris Drury now has a number of flexible assets due to trade this season. If the relationship with Kravtsov cannot be salvaged, Gauthier’s play could allow Rangers to move the former in part of the package for a top six winger. As good as Dryden Hunt has been this season, adding a legitimate top-six striker could upend what is already a dangerous offense.

Now, it depends a lot on whether Gauthier can maintain this playstyle consistently. However, deciphering which prospects will emerge and which options will be most suitable as commercial bait is a puzzle that the Rangers senior office has been trying to solve for some time. But say Reilly Smith, striker of the Vegas Golden Knights becomes available. Kravtsov could be an attractive piece for the Golden Knights, especially after the potential transfer of Peyton Krebs to Buffalo Sabers in the Jack Eichel deal.

Vitali Kravtsov, New York Rangers
Vitali Kravtsov, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/ Hockey writers)

There is no such thing as having too many talented young players. Gauthier, who has scored 69 goals in 184 games with the AHL, is a young player with a lot of talent. Now, it looks like he’s starting to pull it together at the NHL level, giving Rangers even more versatility and depth with their roster.

This group of Rangers isn’t perfect. They have their flaws and have their needs addressed by the deadline. But they are winning, and now the arrival of Gauthier gives them another weapon to add to their roster of talented forwards.

https://thehockeywriters.com/rangers-gauthier-taking-advantage-of-opportunity/ Julien Gauthier of the New York Rangers Take the Opportunity

Subhankar Mondal

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