‘Johnny Hockey’ as he is affectionately known by his fans, will play left wing on a line with Boston College Eagles teammate, Bill Arnold while Paul Byron will occupy the right wing. Both Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke and head coach Bob Hartley have urged fans to be realistic in their expectations for the 20-year-old Gaudreau. Burke and Hartley are absolutely correct in trying to temper the expectations for Gaudreau, just as they did with Sean Monahan earlier in the season. While it’s natural for fans to get excited over top prospects, it’s important to remember that they’re playing in a new league — the best hockey league in the world.
Who is Johnny Hockey?
Gaudreau lit up the 2013 World Junior tournament in Russia. His seven goals in seven games helped Team USA claim the gold medal. Many thought he would make the jump to the Flames to begin the 2013-14 season after being a Hobey Baker Award finalist in 2013. However, Gaudreau returned to Boston College for his junior season and paced the Eagles with 36 goals and 44 assists in 40 games this past season en route to capturing that elusive Hobey Baker Award this time around. His three year collegiate career saw him rack up 78 goals and 97 assists in 119 games. Whether it be in college or at the World Junior level, Gaudreau has been a goal scorer with plenty of points.
Depending on the source, Gaudreau will be listed at anywhere between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8 and just north of 150 pounds. What he lacks in physical stature, he more than makes up with in hockey sense and speed. Keep in mind, being the smallest player on the ice will be nothing new to Gaudreau. Of course, NHL players are bigger, stronger and faster than college hockey players, but it’s not as if the size issue is uncharted water for the New Jersey native.
Heading into the season finale in Vancouver, Flames fans will get to see Johnny Hockey don the flaming ‘C’ jersey, much to their delight.