Julien Gauthier knew from a young age what he wanted to be when he grew up.
He’s sought out the path ever since.
At nine years old, Gauthier knew he wanted to try the road to becoming a National Hockey League player.
And headed into the gym.
“When you’re young, you don’t know what it takes to play in the NHL, right?” Gauthier said. “You just play hockey for fun and you don’t know what it really takes. When my father said, “If I really wanted it, well you should train,” that’s where it started. Since then, I saw it was really something I wanted to do later. I want to play in the NHL, to be honest, and have a good career. I want it to be my job forever.”
He’s off to a good start.
The Val-d’Or Foreurs forward is the second-ranked Quebec Major Junior Hockey League skater, and ninth overall, in Future Considerations’ February ranking for the 2016 NHL Draft.
Not that he’s paying attention to the scouts lingering in rinks
“Well, I try not to think about it too much to be honest,” said Gauthier, whose showcase began in August as the only draft-eligible skater at Canada’s national junior team summer development camp, continued as one of four members of the 2016 draft class to represent the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the Canada-Russia Series in November, and represented Canada as the lone draft eligible at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“I just try to play my game and focus on the little details. With my coach I work a lot on things I need to improve. That’s how I’m going to be better. If I don’t think about the scouts or the pressure too much it’s going to be better for me.”
But there’s plenty for the scouting community to like in Gauthier.
Especially in his 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame.
“Gauthier is already built like a tank, hitting the gym at such a young age with his bodybuilding father Martin,” Future Considerations scouting director Dan Stewart said. “He is athletic and strong, willing to battle for space and the puck as well as his spot in front of the opposition goaltender. Once there he has the hands and determination to make an impact. He will have no problems playing against those big defenders at the next level. He displays strong instincts and ability to finish off plays from the circles on in to the crease.”
Thirty-six goals in 38 games doesn’t hurt, either.
“Circumstance is key,” said Gauthier, who also participated in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January. “Last year I was good on the ice and I was scoring goals, but not as often and as many as this year. Maybe it’s because I’m with really good passers this year. My teammates work really hard for me, so I try to do the same for them. We’ve got a good chemistry so we can score goals and just keep going and good things will happen for me for the rest of the season.”
Circumstance has helped.
Gauthier himself has, too.
And it’s got him down the path he’s been seeking since age nine.