It’s OK if you are a little confused about where Cutter Gauthier is from.

The newest Flyer, drafted fifth overall in the 2022 entry draft Thursday night, has a recognizable French-Canadian surname.

His dad, Sean, was born in Sudbury, Ontario though, and was a professional goalie who only made it to the NHL for three minutes with the San Jose Sharks in the 1998-99 season.

Otherwise, he was a career minor leaguer, who spent his 15 years toiling in professional leagues from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to Moncton, New Brunswick, to St. John, Newfoundland, then through South Carolina, Louisville, Louisiana, and Pensacola.

There was a quick pit stop in Reading, where Sean would meet his wife, and Cutter’s mom, Kim. Kim is from Reading, and her mom is from Philadelphia.

Sean and Kim would get married, but the end of Sean’s hockey career took him to Sweden, where Cutter was born.

Cutter was raised in Arizona, but now lives in Michigan, and was playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program, and is headed for Boston College next month.

Try Google mapping all that.

(Kinkead: challenge accepted) – 

(I ran out of entries, wouldn’t let me add more cities)

Nevertheless, it became a bonus that the Flyers drafted someone with so many family ties to the area. Gauthier said a lot of her mom’s family is still in the area too, which is good for a young guy in a new town – to have relatives nearby, just in case.

But the Flyers didn’t draft Gauthier because he’s got local connections. No, they drafted him because they feel like he’s a bit of a steal.

Wait… how can you be a “steal” when you are picked fifth overall?

I talked to two amateur scouts, neither who work for the Flyers, and asked their opinions on Gauthier.

One said, “He’s mature enough physically and emotionally that he could potentially play in the NHL next season, if he and the Flyers wanted him to.”

The other said, “The Flyers see him as a center. That’s smart. That’s outside the box thinking. If all of us (scouts) had a chance to see him play center – maybe at World Juniors, or something – and his current skillset translated like I think it would, we would have viewed him as an even higher pick. Maybe top two or three.”

So, the Flyers may have been a little crafty with their selection of Gauthier. This shouldn’t surprise as Chuck Fletcher and his assistant GM Brent Flahr have a track record of finding something under the radar about prospects that turns out to be successful.

Usually, it’s in the later rounds though, not the first round.

Consider their greatest success, selecting Kirill Kaprizov in the fifth round in Minnesota. He received a bunch of Hart Trophy votes this season.

Even here with the Flyers, although these guys have yet to reach the NHL, they have been praised for their selections of players like Elliot Desnoyers and Zayde Wisdom. Even guys who have cracked the Flyers lineup like Cam York and Bobby Brink were thought to have been taken a little early. Emil Andrae, a Swedish defenseman, is another fast-moving riser as a prospect in the organization that Fletcher and Flahr drafted.

Time will tell on many of these guys, but Gauthier, at 6-foot-2, and 200 pounds already, could be an impact player sooner than most being drafted this year.

And if he develops as he sees himself – as a Pierre Luc Dubois or Marc Scheiffle-type center, or even as TSN draft guru Craig Button sees him – as a Max Pacioretty type – the Flyers likely will come away with a first round win in the 2022 draft, and be thankful they didn’t trade out of the spot as many, including me, thought they’d do.

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