Ducks Stick It to Flyers by Announcing Signing of 2022 No. 5 Pick

Cutter Gauthier of the Anaheim Ducks and Boston College Eagles

Getty Cutter Gauthier of the Anaheim Ducks and Boston College Eagles

The Anaheim Ducks announced the signing of forward Cutter Gauthier to a three-year, entry-level contract on Sunday, April 14, after acquiring him earlier this season in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Gauthier is expected to make his NHL debut in the Ducks’ final game of the season against Vegas on Thursday, even though that means the Ducks will effectively complete and burn the first of the three years included in his deal.

The 19-year-old was the 2022 No. 5 pick, one originally made by the Philadelphia Flyers. After the youngster informed the Flyers he wouldn’t sign with them and once Philadelphia accepted they wouldn’t convince him to change his position, they traded him to the Ducks.

The Ducks acquired Gauthier on January 8 in exchange for defenseman Jamie Drysdale and a 2025 second-round draft pick.

Cutter Gauthier Will Debut With the Ducks This Season

In fairness to Philadelphia, they traded Gauthier when he still was at the top of his level and took advantage of a bidding war as the Ducks were only one of the many teams reasonably interested in acquiring a recent top-5 pick.

This season, playing for the Boston College Eagles in the NCAA Division I, Gauthier scored 38 goals and 27 assists in 41 games. He was named a Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalist, NCAA All-American, and a Hockey East First Team All-Star for his campaign.

Gauthier helped his college to reach the National Championship game in the 2024 NCAA Frozen Four, but Boston College eventually lost 2-0 to Denver in the Natty on Saturday.

The freshest Duck talked about his time at Boston College after the loss to Denver. Upon further review of his comments, he sounded like he already knew he was leaving the Eagles on his way to the NHL by signing a contract with Anaheim hours later.

“We had one hell of a team. These are going to be my brothers for the rest of my life,” Gauthier said, via The Athletic. “(Expletive) happens when it’s a one-game elimination, you run into a hot goaltender and you play against a strong defense.

“It’s just tough to end it that way. It’s definitely not what we thought coming in. It is what it is and we can’t control anything about it now.”

The Ducks Are Putting Together A Strong, Young Core

The Ducks and their fans are already thinking about next season after failing to make the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year.

Perhaps thinking about the 2024-25 season as the one in which they return to the postseason might be a little exaggerated, but the lineup Anheim will put on the ice next year is a young, exciting one.

Gauthier joins a promising group of centers in Anaheim that includes 2021 No. 3 pick Mason McTavish, 2023 No. 2 pick Leo Carlsson, and 2019 No. 9 pick Trevor Zegras. That makes it four top-10 picks in the team, all of them drafted within five years and clearly in the same competitive window.

New Duck Gauthier also comes with some positional adaptability and flexibility, as he can play both center and on the left wing, which means he could share the ice with some of the top-tier, aforementioned prospects already in Anaheim.

“Thirty-eight goals,” Zegras told Eric Stephens of The Athletic on April 14. “Good goal-scorer. Excited to get him.”

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