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2020 Canucks Top 25 Under 25: #5 Adam Gaudette

The third-year centre remains an integral part of the Canucks plans moving forward.

Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Seven
Adam Gaudette #88 of the Vancouver Canucks attends warm up before playing against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Seven of the Western Conference Second Round of the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on September 04, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta.
Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome to the Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings, the series that makes you wish you were under 25 again. The list includes all players born after January 1st, 1996. Five staff writers (Beggsy, Westy, CanucksAbbyFan2, Trevor Connors, Markus Meyer) and one former staff writer (Daniel Gee, Elite Prospects) cast votes for the project.

2019-20 was a season of monumental proportions for Adam Gaudette, but the microscopic evaluation of his play will only intensify in 2021.

The Braintree, Massachusetts native took a massive step towards becoming a successful, everyday NHL player last season. After treading water through most of his rookie year in 2018-19, Gaudette erupted offensively with 12 goals and 33 points in 59 games.

His 1.84 points-per-60 signifies a second line scoring rate, which is interesting because Gaudette was largely deployed like a fourth-line, energy centre throughout the season. The 24-year-old ranked 12th among Canucks forwards in average ice time on the season, largely because he wasn’t trusted to play against the other team’s top players.

Hell, he wasn’t really trusted against the middling guys either.

Gaudette ranked among the top 2% of players who had the easiest match-ups in the league last season. You’d logically think that might have inflated his on-ice results, but we recently learned that Gaudette has something else working against him last season as well.

“This off-season has been weird,” Gaudette told the media earlier this week. “I discovered I had some sort of stomach problem that prevents me from eating full meals and I would get sick in the mornings randomly. This has been going on for years and it’s always been a struggle for me to put weight on.”

He mentioned dealing with this issue since he was in high school, but the 24-year-old is finally starting to feel normal — just in time for his biggest season in hockey yet.

“I just feel so much better and it’s such a heavy weight off my shoulders,” he said.

This is a monumental season for Gaudette. Based on the way training camp has unfolded, one of the big takeaways is that Gaudette is locked is as the third-line centre — while Jay Beagle has been playing on a line with Loui Eriksson and a rotating door of NHL wingers.

It also sounds like the Canucks are trying to groom Gaudette more as a penalty killer — something he had success with at Northeastern in the NCAA.

The Canucks truly need Gaudette to develop as a third-line centre, or else they’ll have to look at bolstering this position during the 2021 offseason.

Montreal Canadiens v Vancouver Canucks
Adam Gaudette #88 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates after scoring during their NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at Rogers Arena December 17, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

What’s Next for Gaudette?

Ideally, the next step for Gaudette, as mentioned above, is for him to blossom as a sturdy, two-way, third-line centre who provides an offensive punch.

The Canucks can’t afford to shelter Gaudette any longer, especially if the 20-year-old Nils Hoglander starts the season on Bo Horvat’s wing.

Entering his third NHL season, on a cheap one-year, $900,000 contract, this is a typical “prove-it” year for Gaudette to prove that he’s the Canucks long-term solution as their third-line centre.

Catch up on the rest of our 2020 edition of the Canucks Top 25 Under 25 list.