Walking the streets of downtown Montreal, forward Nathan Gaucher couldn’t help but think about the possibility of becoming a member of the Canadiens in the next few hours.
The last time the Montreal Canadiens selected a Quebecois in the first round was in 2009 when the organization chose Louis Leblanc as the 18th pick submitted…in Montreal.
Many remember the reaction of the fans in the Bell Center who soon chanted “Louis! Luis! Louis!”, as the striker walked onto the stage to receive his jersey and blue, white and red cap.
Living such a moment would be a dream for the Quebec Remparts forward.
“I come back here to Montreal, I look at the city and I find it incredible. On the day of the draft, there will be 60 people with me, there will be fans who will applaud a guy from Quebec. I know the fans would be excited to see a Quebecer with the Canadiens. He would be great, but there are also 31 other teams.
In 26th place?
If the Habs draft lefties in the first round, it will be with pick no. 26 they acquired from the Calgary Flames, unless a trade comes along, as rumor has it.
If the team doesn’t move, several scouts and observers believe that Gaucher will be available at level 26, while others believe that he will come out sooner than where the public consensus seems to place him.
Photo credit: Joël Lemay / QMI Agency
The 6-foot-3, 207-pound center is trying not to get his hopes up.
“It’s hard for me to predict where I’m going to come out. It’s fun because I know that there are several teams that want me and there may be a surprise. However, there is a wide gap between the ranks where he is expected to be recruited. When I hear my name, I will be happy.”
Although it was in Montreal that he began his professional career, however, the pressure of the market did not scare him at all.
“I think I can handle the pressure and I would go into this challenge with my eyes closed. I play hockey and I like to play hockey. I don’t want to put any more pressure on myself.”
Third line center?
The analysis seems almost unanimous reading and listening to what is said about Nathan Gaucher: he will be a third-row center in the NHL.
“If I’m a third-row center in the NHL, that would be exceptional. That said, I like to defy predictions and I like that a coach can count on me in all situations. I don’t see anything wrong with being a third-row center in the National Hockey League.”
After missing the NHL Combine in Buffalo because the Remparts were still in the QMJHL playoffs, Gaucher has had to catch up in recent weeks by meeting with teams via video conference. On Tuesday he had his first face-to-face meetings with some of the staff.
Hockey reserved for lefties
Nathan Gaucher grew up in hockey. His father, Yannick, played in the QMJHL and is currently an assistant general manager and scout for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies while his brother, Jacob, just completed her five-year internship on the Courteau circuit. However, this season the family conversations have not been very focused on hockey.
Quebec forward Remparts has brought it up several times this season: He sometimes struggled to focus 100% on his season due to the many distractions related to his draft year. Like several other hockey players, he saw a sports psychologist during the season.
“This year, we don’t really talk about his game, said the father, crossed at the Science Center where the main hopes met with the media on the eve of the first round, yesterday. We just stayed positive with him. There was a phase in which the points did not reach him and he consulted a sports psychologist and that helped him. The next game, he scored three goals against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Subsequently, he had a very good run. He understood several things. When the head is fine, the rest follows.
Because, the father confirms: No matter what prospects repeat to anyone who wants to hear them throughout their draft year, they think about it constantly.
“You can say you don’t think about it, but every day you have someone who reminds you. You have interviews, questionnaires to fill out. Plus, everyone is proud of it and talks to you about it all the time.”
Underestimated offensive potential
Beyond the role of father, Yannick Gaucher also looks at his son with the eyes of a recruiter. In his eyes, his offensive potential is not recognized at his fair value.
“He still scored 31 goals this season. We assume that because he is a good player in the 200 feet, he leaves the offensive end. It was the same at the midget AAA level and he still managed to produce. He is not a guy who is going to score 100 points in the NHL but he is going to be able to produce”, predicts the father.
Gaucher added 26 assists to his 31 goals last season for a total of 57 points in 66 games. He added nine in 12 playoff games.
In addition, about sixty family members and relatives of the Gaucher family will be in attendance at the Bell Center on Thursday night.
“We had a lot of requests, Yannick Gaucher laughed. We had to decide and make decisions. I think the most important people and those who have followed Nathan throughout his career will be present.
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