Lately, the John Gaudreau Sweepstakes has been a bit more interesting to follow in part because he’s on Twitter and because he’s one of the big names out there looking for a place to play next season.
Gaudreau, a Calgary Flames draft pick, spent last season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints scoring 72 points (36 goals, 36 assists) and was committed to Northeastern before getting released from his National Letter of Intent. Since then, he’s traveled the northeast looking at campus with the intent of playing next season.
Adam Micheletti, director of hockey and business operations for the Fighting Saints, said to me Friday that eight schools were interested in Gaudreau and that Gaudreau would not be returning to Iowa for a second season.
“Between us and the Flames, we agree that he is ready for college hockey,” Micheletti said.
That has led to what schools have become favorites to land Gaudreau and the consensus appears to be Boston College, New Hampshire and Vermont. Here’s a look at why all three schools have a good chance at landing him.
1. Boston College: Chris Heisenberg has BC with six incoming forwards and the Eagles lost two senior forwards along with Cam Atkinson and Jimmy Hayes from last year’s team so it appears things would be open for Gaudreau. Gaudreau would give the Eagles a forward that could come in and be a high-end scorer as the season progresses. Some may argue that his 5-8, 141-pound frame could be an issue, but it certainly wasn’t last season when he faced much larger competition in the USHL. That and think about some the players Jerry York has developed and in this case, the one that stands out is Nathan Gerbe given the similarities with Gaudreau. Plus, BC is one of the nation’s best at developing pro talent and that was evidenced by the 11 NHL Draft Picks on last season’s roster. Now, the “red flag” that comes up with BC is, how would they be able to get Gaudreau in for next season? The Eagles recently told Fargo Force defenseman and former Northeastern commit Garrett Haar they didn’t have the money to bring him in for next year. It would certainly be interesting to see how it all works out if Gaudreau picks BC.
2. New Hampshire: UNH is losing four senior forwards and Heisenberg has the Wildcats bringing in five forwards for the upcoming season. That being said, it looks like Gaudreau would have a stronger chance of getting playing time at UNH. Not to mention that coach Dick Umile and his staff are high on guys who play in the USHL as 16 players from last season’s team did play in the league before arriving to Durham. Also, when it comes to the development aspect, UNH has that covered with guys such as James Van Riemsdyk being an example. Another one would be a guy in Paul Thompson, a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect, that certainly had a solid career at UNH. Thompson was one of four NHL Draft Picks the Wildcats had last season.
3. Vermont: The Catamounts lose four senior forwards and have five forwards coming in, according to Heisenberg. Gaudreau would appear to get quite a bit of playing time at Vermont. Like UNH, Vermont is a school that has a fondness for USHL players with 10 of them being on last season’s roster. Vermont also had four NHL Draft Picks on its roster last season so obviously the fact there is development going on is a plus. Another factor to consider is Zemgus Girgensons. Girgensons, who will return to Dubuque this season, played with Gaudreau last season on a line with Northeastern’s Vinny Saponari. Girgensons and Gaudreau got along well on the ice and off it and maybe that’s something that could help lure Gaudreau to the Green Mountain State.