There is little doubt that Johnny “hockey” Gaudreau is a talented young hockey player and he’s shown that throughout the preseason and regular season with the Calgary Flames. However, it might be time to put the breaks on the Johnny Gaudreau show with the Flames and take a look at what he really is; a young, unproven, college hockey standout.
Now I’m not saying he’s an incredible talent, all I’m saying is the hype might be a bit much for Gaudreau. Let’s take a look at Gaudreau’s career history through to Boston College.
If you take away his last year at Boston College where he dominated with 80 points winning the Hobey Baker and a unusual year with 51 points in 35 games, what do you get? You get roughly a point per game player and former 4th round NHL draft pick, trying to make a name for himself in the NCAA. Starting from his Midget AAA to USHL days, Johnny Gaudreau has always been roughly a point-per-game type of player.
Flame for Thought
However, let’s look at the most telling fact, the fact he was taken in the 4th round 104th overall. Normally kids taken in the 4th round of an NHL draft don’t turn into NHL superstars and they definitely don’t do it overnight. 4th rounders have to go through growing pains of playing in the NCAA (or CHL) and the AHL before they make their mark in the NHL.
Right now the 5 foot 9 Johnny Gaudreau is in over his head at the NHL level on most nights and despite the fact the Flames have a low bar for him internally, he can’t be meeting that bar with his current level of play. What Johnny hockey needs is some nice time in the AHL
For whatever reason it’s just not working for Gaudreau in the NHL as of yet, I have no doubt it will work based on his flashes of brilliance, but the time isn’t right as of yet. Believe it or not, there is a very large gap between NCAA hockey and the NHL and it’s important the Flames don’t let Gaudreau fall through the cracks while they expect him to be something he’s not ready to be as of yet.
Since the NHL regular season started, Gaudreau has been quiet as other NHL players take their game to the next level. During preseason Gaudreau was playing in his top gear and that’s why he was so impressive. Once other players put their game into top gear, he was simply left behind.
In the season opener Gaudreau had 16 minutes of ice time, now before he was a healthy scratch, he’s seeing roughly 10 minutes of ice time a night and has just 1 shot in 5 games. The kid is simply not ready yet and that’s alright. Flames fans need to stop calling this kid the hero, he needs time to develop and 3 years at Boston College with one standout year is not enough time for a 4th round draft pick.
It’s important to remember that he’s just 21, a young pup in the NHL and his rookie jitters are something to be expected. He’s excelled at every level he’s every played at, including his time with team USA at the World Juniors where he brought home a gold. It’s time to send him to the AHL where he can learn to play against other top notch talent and get solid ice time every night.
He has the potential to be an incredible NHL player but he needs to be granted the development, every other 4th round player would be given. The AHL is the perfect place for him right now to fine tune the adjustments from NCAA to the NHL and to refine his once dominate scoring abilities.