Penguins from A to Z: There’s nothing silly about Taylor Gauthier

With the Penguins’ 2021-22 season coming to a fast end in the first round of the playoffs, Tribune-Review Penguins A to Z, will give every player a look at all 54 individual NHL contract signatories — including those whose deals don’t start until the 2022 season. -23 – With the organization, prospective middle-ranked Niklas Al Mari to top six winger Jason Zucker.

Taylor Gauthier

Site: Goalkeeper

Catch: the correct

age: 21

to rise: 6 feet 2

Weight: 208 pounds

2021-22 WHL stats: 42 games, scored 31-9-0, 2.34 goals against the average, .928 savings percentage, four shots

a necklace: Entering the first year of a three-year entry contract with a maximum salary of $859,167. Waiting for free agent restricted in 2025 season.

acquired: Free agent signature not drafted, March 1, 2022

Last season: Although he wasn’t drafted when he first qualified in 2019, Taylor Gauthier was still on the radar of several NHL teams and even attended a few development camps with the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs in the past years.

So when he entered an over-the-top (i.e. Final) season at the junior level, he needed to put in a solid performance in order to find his way into the NHL.

Opening the 2021-22 campaign with Prince George’s Cougars of the Western Hockey League, Gauthier appeared in 14 games with this franchise and scored consistent numbers, including a 7-5-0 record, 2.75 goals-to-average and 0.923 saves. .

After he was traded to the Portland Winterhawks – coached by former Penguin coach Mike Johnston – on December 27, Gauthier’s season has already begun.

In 28 games with the Winterhawks, Gauthier had an impressive 24-4-0 mark, 2.16 goals-to-average, 0.931 saves and four lockouts.

Part of that success came during February when Gauthier created a franchise record closing sequence with a ratio of 251:11 and was 14:02 below the WHL record hook.

After signing with the Penguins on March 1, Gauthier led the Winterhawks to third in the WHL Western Conference and then looked tight at the net during the playoffs. He played in 11 games after the season ended, and had a 7-4 record, 1.92 goals-to-average, 0.937 savings and one closing percentage before being eliminated in the second round.

the future: Gauthier, who was a reserve on the 2020-21 IIHF World Junior Championships in Canada, will turn professional next season. It remains to be seen if he will take those first steps in his professional career with Wilkes Barr/Scranton of the American Hockey League or Wheeling of the ECHL.

The Penguins have a few things to sort out with their target depth – who would be the backup on the NHL roster – and that will influence how things rank with their prospects for the position like Gauthier and Filip Lindberg.

As a charming goalkeeper, Gauthier is a “naive jerk”, but there’s nothing ridiculous about his NHL credentials. As a rather large body, it does not allow shooters to shoot. His sport can make him a little sassy at times, but Penguin development coaches — the department that has been rebuilt under General Manager Ron Hextal — can ease those tough edges.

Follow the penguins all season long.

Seth Rorabo is a Tribune Review writer. You can contact Seth via email at srorabaugh@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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