On Julien Gauthier’s future with the Rangers

As lineup decisions take center stage with the Rangers, the focus has been on Vitali Kravtsov, Kaapo Kakko, and Alexis Lafreniere. These are three top-ten picks that will likely dictate any future success. Not lost in the shuffle is Julien Gauthier, who might see his future with the Rangers come to an end sooner rather than later.

This isn’t a slight against Gauthier, who has been better than most give him credit for lately. It’s just a numbers game. They aren’t getting rid of Kakko, and if Pavel Buchnevich gets extended then it’s between Kravtsov and Gauthier. The only way Gauthier wins that battle is if Kravtsov is involved in a trade for a top center.

Complicating things is the emergence of Colin Blackwell, who has gotten the compliment of being compared to Jesper Fast. David Quinn’s affinity for putting him in the top-six aside, Blackwell is almost a perfect fourth liner for this club. He’s cheap, he’s effective, and he can play up the lineup in a pinch. Gauthier, on the other hand, is much more skilled, but also much more raw.

Trade or Expansion Draft

There are only two real situations for Gauthier, and that’s to be traded or be lost via expansion. Looking at the latter first, the Rangers are going to have to choose between Gauthier, Blackwell, and Brett Howden for that final expansion protection spot. This of course assumes no trades in advance.

If it unfolds like this, then it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a fortune teller to know that Gauthier is a distant third on that list. The only real decision will be whether the Rangers protect Blackwell or Howden.

As for a trade, well Gauthier still has some value. It may not be Joey Keane value, as Gauthier has been bouncing around the lineup, but it’s still value. He could perhaps be a nice little sweetener in a trade. On his own though, he may not bring in much. On the bright side, Joey Keane isn’t doing much in Carolina, sitting on the taxi squad.

The writing might be on the wall for Julien Gauthier and any potential future with the Rangers. Much like Brendan Lemieux, he will most likely get more ice time elsewhere. He’s supremely talented, but he’s not a priority on the development cycle. The pending roster crunch and an expansion draft may make him the odd man out.

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    • I love how I can say Howden will be protected over Gauthier and no one questions it anymore.

      And by love, I mean hate.

  • For the Rangers to Keep Howden or Blackwell over Gauthier would fall in line with the Rangers adding JT Miller as a sweetner to get Libor Hajak.

    Good organizations don’t make terrible decisions like this. I love the Rangers and I will take hockey over all other major sports…but the guys in charge of the Rangers never seem to quite figure out how to put it all together.

    When it became clear that Cally was going to be traded…the correct move was to trade him to San Jose who was offering picks and prospects. That is how you keep an organization fresh.

    It’s like them making a move for Eichel…you “bottom” out to replenish then give away all that you worked hard to acquire for a flashy name.

    I never works for the Rangers yet they do it over and over and over again.

    • JT Miller played five seasons for the Rangers, was a terrible defensive forward, and scored 1 goal in 40 playoff games as a Ranger. Tampa gave up on him after 94 regular season games. Miller didn’t deserve a longterm contract from the Rangers, and then failed with another contending team in Tampa. Tampa dealt Miller and immediately won the Stanley Cup. And now Miller is comfortably positioned with a loser franchise in the Vancouver Canucks. Player and team have found each other and made each other happy. Miller and the Canucks go together like Kevin Hayes and the Flyers—loser player meets loser franchise, and they are happy together.

      Complain all you want—Miller is an empty-calorie snack as a player, occasionally tasty but nutritionally worthless. Any team that wants him can have him, he’s a completely overrated player. So tired of hearing about this guy like he’s Rick Middleton. He ain’t.

      • That might all be fine and dandy…it is, was and always will be a poor use of an asset.

        and as much as he sucks…he had 72 points last year and 29 points in 34 games this year.

        How has namestnikov, howden and Hajak performed?

        I would take empty calories over hot garbage any day.

        • Do you like Panarin, and consider him a better player than Miller? I sure do. The Rangers wouldnt have Panarin if they’d kept Miller.

          And I love how people expect every single trade to work out. They don’t. How long have you followed sports? A good GM succeeds more than he fails. Gorton has done this.

          Gorton acquired the Rangers’ first & second line centers for a bottom-six center and a guy who lasted six more months in the NHL. Will take these trades as proof of Gorton’s ability. You can keep crying about a one-dimensional attitude case like JT Miller, I’ll enjoy watching Panarin instead.

        • The McD JT trade looks terrible as of now. But if Nils turns out to be half the player Fox is then it will not be that bad after all. Don’t forget that we absolutely robbed the Bruins with the Nash trade and the Hurricanes with Fox. You can’t win them all trades. IMHO the worst trade of recent times is the Ryan Graves one. As for the rest JG did well.

          • Add Zee for Bras to this list.
            working out just fine for the Blueshirts…

      • almost forgot…he had 18 points in 17 playoff games in 19-20.

        Miller was 19-23 years old when he was with the Rangers.

        Tampa couldn’t afford him and still got a 1st and 3rd rounder for him

        • Miller in the playoffs as a NY Ranger: 1 goal in 40 games played. Who in their right mind WOULD give a longterm contract to a top six winger with this kind of playoff record?

          You’ve gotta make bets on the future of players, and Gorton went with the evidence Miller compiled in NY up to that point.

          • Again, not sure if you need me to clarify more…I didn’t say he needed to be signed long term…I said, if your going to trade him…make sure you get assets in return…

            Not every trade works out…maybe your new to the game…but I am not…my point is…the Rangers have one cup in 90 years…and for as great as Bread is…how were the other 30 big name free agent signings worked out?

            How did the Graves trade work out? How did the Eric Staal work out? How has the Trouba trade worked out?

            Sometimes you swing and miss…but Gorton hasn’t proved to be nothing more than an average GM so far.

          • It took JG LESS than 3 years to transform the franchise from having the lowest ranked farm system to the highest. Add the haul from the Nash trade, the Zib steal, and Adam Fox and you can place the few misses you’re focusing on in their proper context. To call this the record of an “average GM” is simply wrong.

          • So, Miller was traded in 2018, Kevin Shattenkirk was signed in 2017, but Miller would have prevented us signing Bread but Shattenkirk was a good signing.

            Always the shinny new toy that never works out.

          • I think Panarin has worked out decently, yeah? But please, keep bringing up the past….I noticed Shattenkirk won a Cup with the Lightning after leaving the Rangers. Is that Gorton’s fault too?

            Funny though, that JT Miller was traded by Tampa before they won a Cup. But Shattenkirk won one. Ironic even.

          • Gorton drafted Miller, Kravtsov, Chytil, Kakko, Lafreniére, Schneider, Robertson, and Lundkvist. Most Ranger fans will be cheering this crew on for the next 4-5 years. You can keep complaining about Miller and Shattenkirk though, it’ll be quite relevant at that point in time.

            You can’t hold the history of terrible GMs like Glen Sather and Phil Esposito against Gorton. I’d put the future of this team against anyone in the league.

          • this all started with me saying I woudn’t trade Gauthier over Blackwell or Howden and used Miller as an example of a wasted asset.

            You went on this tirade like i don’t know what i am talking about and how i am focusing on the past…what i am focusing on is…under Gorton’s watch…he has some very good moves…Fox forced his way here and did Bread, so, u can chalk that up as him doing something spectacular…I don’t see it that way.

            Miller was a great pick, Lias was an awful pick.

            Shattenkirk won a cup on a loaded team…what a shock.

            Krastsov has potential, but the 4-5 directly picked after him will determine if it was the right move or not.

            Trading Graves away for nothing…great move.

            Signing Trouba to 8mm for 8 years & Kreider for 6.5mm for 7 years, sure smells like he leaned under Sather and I am sure we will have to sell low on other assets because of thses contracts and the one he will give to Zib…

            So, has he done good to great things, yes, has he done some awful moves…yes, put them together and you get an average GM.

          • You keep saying he’s an average GM, and ignore the 2 most important moves he’s made as GM (Zibby and Strome, for loose change and pocket lint, basically). These 2 trades are literally the defining moments of Gorton’s tenure, and you focus instead on JT Miller and Shattenkirk. Selective evaluation of Gorton at its best.

            The guy has drafted good player after good player for this team. He’s reshuffled the farm team and cleared out all the salary deadwood from the Sather years. Yet you’re hung up on the Tampa trade, without mentioning the money and term involved in the contracts ultimately signed by McDonagh and Miller. All while you ignore Lundkvist’s drafting as part of the same trade.

          • Speaking of selective evaluation of Gorton, while the Andersson pick was certainly a mistake, name the player selected after Lias with the most goals in the NHL: Filip Chytil

          • no, not selective at all…

            If he drafted Robert Thomas, Gabriel Vilardi, Martin Necas, Josh Norris, with Chtyil, then you say, he did a good job…so, when u get one right and one wrong…that equals to average.

            From a hockey writer…Adam Gretz, from 11/30/20:

            The middle ground
            14. Jeff Gorton, New York Rangers. There have been some missteps here and there, but overall there is a pretty clear plan in place and a lot of impact talent added to the organization. Some draft lottery luck has helped (a top-two pick in each of the past two years!) as did a huge free agent score in Artemi Panarin.

            Wait until we overpay for Eichel…

          • Had to jump in here. You are (also) forgetting that Gorton is mostly responsible for the juggernaut team in Boston.

          • Gorton was an interim GM, with a GM, peter chiarelli coming in and you think the Bruins owners and peter chiarelli, gave Gorton carte blanche to draft whoever he wanted?

          • Unlike you, I recognize the good he has done.

            But I also recognize that he has made some boneheaded moves.

          • All I ask from a GM is intelligence and a better than 50% rate of success on transactions.

          • Same. Listen, at the end of the day…we are all diehard Ranger fans…i want him to be the best GM…not rooting against him.

            And he has done great things.

            Like I have said in the past…the Rangers should have the best scouts, the best developers, the best of everything…

          • I’m not saying gorton didn’t do anythng good but, luck is also very much involved, I’m a die hard rangers fan, but get lucky to draft kakko, and laf next isn’t any special finding steals in the draft is good like drafting lindqvist and KMiller is what impresses me, but can’t complain for getting the future right we have top 3 prospect pool with a very talented squad what is there to argue ? We are in prime position to win atleast one cup in the next 3-7 years, Gorton jus my can’t F**k up any trades

          • Sure, act like there wasn’t a need for a first-pair RD on the Rangers at the time. And that Hayes was rightly judged to be not worth the money or term. You’ve argued disingenuously throughout here, why stop now?

          • ok, trying to be nice…before the guy steps foot on Garden ice…you overpay him by at least 2mm dollars…so, the need was there…but why not let the guy play a year on our ice to see if he can handle the pressure…Winnipeg Ice is a lot different than Garden Ice.

            Obviously , that was a critical mistake on Gorton’s part.

            Have you criticized anything Gorton has done? or are you just man crushing.

          • Everything we’ve just engaged in is criticism of Gorton. Criticism isn’t always negative, though yours really seems to be.

            Trying to be nice? How bout you just engage in a debate without taking it personally?

          • we had a need…traded the wrong dman and the pick was used on a dman, who by all accounts is going to be a very good NHL dman,so, I ask again…was this a good or bad trade?

          • I like Trouba as a player. I don’t think he had a good first year in NY, and I don’t think he’s worth $8 million, but he’s a 1st pair RD—they always get paid in this league. If RD Tyler Myers is getting a $6 million annual salary, then all is permitted, I guess.

            Pionk wasn’t great as a rookie, but has developed nicely. So yeah, I’d say the Jets won this trade so far. But Trouba fills a role for NY that Pionk didn’t, and there were players like Fox and DeAngelo last year who could play the same offensive style game as Pionk. So you take a slight loss to fill a need, sometimes it happens.

          • I gave debating Perk. He love Gorton for some reason and only sees his better trades which he overemphasizes. He avoids all the facts no matter what presented to him. He will drive his narrative with Miller scoring one goal without mentioning his assists total in those playoff games and his role being more as power situational winger. Surprised how Nash avoided his scoring judgements.

            Gorton record is terrible. He is lucky Ponarin signed with the team. Otherwise him and DQ would be looking for the job now

  • On a team full of wingers, Gauthier may be the odd man out, even though he is the only full-bodied right winger. He needs more ice time and that won’t happen with the NYR. He needs to be a sweetener in a deal.

    I would prefer that he play over Howden, but impossible under DQ.

    The NYR need to deal away a winger for a center. Not sure who goes, but the return needs to be a center, which Julien surely is not.

  • Gaithier and DeAngelo could be a nice trade or we can keep him and play him and Barrron and Blackwell as a fourth line it would match islanders 4 line but would be better with the offense they will score I want 4lines on this team

    A talent without ice time, as far as I am concerned. But with so much talent right now, an getting less then10 minutes a night to prove it very hard to see what He can do. Keeping him right now is the right wait an see until deadline passes.

  • Gauthier may be a good player to move to a team like the Devils. Cheap, young talent that could blossom into a middle six winger. Get a 3rd rounder from them and lets call it a day.

  • If it weren’t for the ridiculous playoff chase, I would hide Blackwell and feature Gauthier — a possible win if he improves as trade bait (this summer, as part of a package or for picks).

  • If they are swinging a trade for a top 1 or 2 C and he’s not involved, they should look to move him for a center prospect that’s a year or two away. No point in losing him for nothing in the expansion draft.

    • There is no concept of losing someone for nothing in the expansion draft. Seattle is paying the Rangers a lot of money to join the league and get one player. Giving up a player is not losing someone for nothing, it is paying your bill. If you lose Gauthier, it means you don’t lose someone else. The big losers are the teams that try too hard to avoid losing stuff.

  • Julien Gauthier is a big player with speed and little overall skill. You can’t help but like is potential, but will be 24 soon and hasn’t proved that he is a consistent goal scorer at all in the NHL. Enough with the excuses about the ice time and the coach. So far the guy just isn’t that good overall. I like his size and speed, but his hands are slow and he is not a net presence like Krieder. Carolina seemed to give up on him for a reason. With that being said, I’m afraid that if he goes to the Islanders, or another team, he may break out and score 40 goals, who knows. So far he is a disappointment and time is running out for him. Maybe a potential package for a trade at this point.

    • right, lets move him but keep Blackwell, who is 28 years old?

      Or Howden who has played over 150 games in his career.

      Gauthier has played 44 games in his career, gets 8 minutes a game…but you have seen enough to know that he isn’t worthy of protecting…make sense.

      • Howden has played 165 professional games, Gauthier 228.

        For the record, neither is worth protecting. With six top first and second year players exempt from the draft, the Rangers have the luxury of protecting everyone who merits it and some who don’t.

      • First of all, I never said, “protect Howden”. Right now Blackwell is a much better player then Goat and a cheap valuable part of the team. He is a few years older at 28, which is not that old. Gauthier hasn’t proven anything so far in his 44 games. I said he may develop eventually and score 40 goals, but nobody knows for sure, but right now he is a crapshoot. So far, we have PLENTY OF EVIDENCE that his play overall is not that impressive and given his age, somewhat of a disappointment. There is a chance he may be a slow developer. What good is size and speed if you can’t put the net? If you really read what I said, it does make sense.

  • DQ is trying to win first, and groom the youth second. DQ feels that Blackwell gives him the best chance to win. Once Blackwell slips up or if the NYR fall out of the race, I expect Gauthier to get some more time.

    There are 4 players that fall into the “outsider” group. PDG, Gauthier, Rooney and Howden. Only 2 can dress. DQ will play who he feels gives him the best chance. Howden and Rooney can play center. PDG & Gauthier can’t.

    I think we try to move 2 of these players at the deadline.

  • I’ve been saying for months now … the Rangers should keep Gauthier over Howden and even Blackwell — the latter pains me a bit, but Gauthier has upside and is still young. Yes we’re loaded on the right side if we resign Buch (we should), but again … assumptions. Injuries, prospects that don’t fully realize their potential, etc. this is the type of depth you need, plus it keeps everybody on their toes.

    I blame DQ for this being an issue, his line management is poor … Howden averages 13 minutes, Blackwell as well, but Gauthier can’t even crack 10 minutes.

    • I would like to see the kid play more in order to find out if he has the hands to be a decent goal scorer in the league. He has size and speed, but if he can’t finish then you don’t need him as a winger on your club unless you play him on the 4th line.

      Hopefully he gets more ice time if and when the Rangers eliminated from making the playoffs.

  • Trade Howden ( if possible ::sad face:: )
    Expose Blackwell.. already 27 and once the rest of the “kids” (already on the NHL squad) mature, he’s relegated to 4th line at best. Most likely Hartford by beginning of next season…
    These kids are talented! Telling me you can’t try Goat on the LW with Vitali on the RW.
    I’d hate to see Goat leave as I see him as Kreider’s lineup replacement in 3-4 years when Kreider inevitably starts to decline/ need to trade him.

  • Carolina traded Gauthier for a marginal prospect (Joey Keane) who plays a position they are already deep at. He is an interesting player, but not someone who demands putting all else aside to focus on him. Why not just keep him and play him as the situation warrants?

    The draft: the Rangers are going to lose something, that is guaranteed. That something I would imagine is worth more than a third round pick. [This century, the only Ranger third rounders who have contributed are Buch and Duclair.]. So it would be wrong to trade a player for a third rounder to avoid losing him in the draft. It just means you lose someone else.

    JFTR, the Rangers must choose between Gauthier, Blackwell, Rooney, and Howden. Unlike most here, I do not believe management protects Howden. I believe Blackwell ranks above Rooney, but Rooney is a real possibility if the Rangers trade Blackwell.

    I would opt for Blackwell over Gauthier for a simple reason. You are not trying to find the most talented players. You are building a team. You need good inexpensive role players, something that Blackwell (and to a lesser extent Rooney) is – and something Gauthier may develop into.

    We want a Cup winner next year that fits under the salary cap. Blackwell and Rooney are a good start because they are respectable players and cheap. Everyone wants twelve Panarins in the forward corps – sorry you can’t afford that.

    • So true. I have reviewed the last 8 games and noticed that Blackwell and Rooney are,most of the time, the only consistent chasers of the puck. They are not afraid of taking a hit to keep the puck moving.They should be 2/3 of the future 4th line.With Barron moving up, say goodbye to Howden and Gauthier will be gone in the draft. The are no trades to be made with them,as their value is negligiable.

  • My ranking:
    Blackwell (trade for a nice/mid pick and be done Great scouting by the way whoever was responsible for Rooney and Blackwell)

  • A crock of crap if Rangers protect Howden, who clearly IMO, does not fit with this team…Gauthier should be given a chance….

  • Its unfortunate for Gauthier that the timing isn’t right. Kravtsov is for real….I know all about small samples. If his play is like the 1 game he has been in, he is top 6. Kakko isn’t going anywhere soon.
    If JG doesn’t include Buch in a package he is a keeper as well. All 25 and younger. Team is going to say bye to Julien.
    It doesn’t matter about any past trades. They are gone. There will always be “if”. JG is forward looking…not always to my taste, but the roster is his. The biggest questions going forward is Nils Lundkist, Braden Schneider and Jacob Trouba, wether Filip Chytil can play center and if coach DQ is the guy.
    I personally cant wait for trade (I don’t think NYR will be very active in terms of adding mainstay roster moves) and Draft day, while really looking to next season. Trying camp and competition on left D and F will be great.

  • Gauthier is a big body that the Rangers have little of. He has talent and I would like to keep him around and use him to develop it. Trade Holden and try to keep the big guy

  • My guess is, for next several years we try to keep Blackwell as a 4th liner who can move up to any line if an injury and he helps us win a cup. No way Seattle wants Howden or Rooney. That leaves Gauthier being lost for nothing. They should work a deal to keep him for another year to see what this guy has or we choke again like Graves giveaway. If management doesn’t like that option, then they will need to settle for a draft pick which will never be the raw talent that Gauthier is and often many years away if at all. Gauthier has size and speed. Give him a chance Gorton/DQ.

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