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Gaudreau hopes to follow in St. Louis’ footsteps

Jul 6, 2014, 7:42 PM EST

In a league that’s only getting bigger, 5-foot-9 forward Johnny Gaudreau is hoping to be an exception. He slipped to the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, but his days of being overlooked are long behind him.

Gaudreau made a name for himself at Boston College and wrapped up his NCAA career by claiming the Hobey Baker Award. He also made his NHL debut on April 13 and chipped in a goal.

His biggest challenge is still ahead of him though as he needs to prove that he can make it at the NHL level. To help him with that, he’s reached out to other undersized forwards, including Martin St. Louis.

“I’ve just got to make sure I follow in their footsteps and do what they’ve been doing,” Gaudreau told NHL.com.

“They said you need to be strong in your legs, definitely work out your legs. And you don’t need to be too big in your upper body because you won’t be able to stickhandle that well. Just a lot of great pointers from a lot of great guys and I really appreciate it.

“It’s just doing the little things right, keep working out, making sure I’m skating and getting stronger. Obviously I’m going to get stronger. I have to make sure I keep working out and working hard.”

Like Gaudreau, St. Louis was initially dismissed by NHL teams, but he eventually found his footing and became one of the best players of his generation. Gaudreau was five when St. Louis made his NHL debut, so for most of Gaudreau’s life, he’s stood as an example of what small forwards can accomplish.

  1. luz56 - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    I am looking forward to seeing Johnny Hockey and see how his game translates into the big boys league… Loaded with talent but those guys are a dime a dozen… Can you make the next step??? Very few have but it’s going to be fun watching…

    • pfhockey - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      Coming from a Lightning fan, this kid plays quite similarly to MSL.

      • lightning79 - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:06 PM

        Yep, watching the World championship, Tyler Johnson and Johnny Gaudreau probably had the best tournament of any USA players.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 7, 2014 at 7:38 PM

      2 assists in today’s prospects game, the first goal he set up Sam Bennett on the power play.

  2. 34defense2014 - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    Now a days,, the rules being as they are. You’re seeing and will continue to see smaller, faster, shifty players make it in the NHL. 90’s Hockey is long gone! PS: can we please dump the “shootout” please! It’s a gimmick!!!

  3. avscup - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    It’s not the size of the dog in the fight it’s the size of the fight in the dog Johnny! Just ask all those NHL players that received a beating at the hands of Stan Jonathan!

    Hard to find more heart than Martin St. Louis!

  4. phillyphanatic77 - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    I really hope this kid is successful; and after watching him in the frozen four (and some random games) I believe he will be. I completely disagree with those “experts” who claim the 5’8” NHLers are a dying breed… the success of guys like St. Louis, Briere, Gionta, Gallagher, Zuccarello, and Tyler Johnson show us there will always be a place for talent in this league, even if you’re not 6’4. I mean two of the top-3 leading scorers (Crosby and Giroux, obviously) from this season are listed at 5’11” and I doubt they’re that without skates.

  5. jacketsfan7 - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    As a Cleveland boy, surprisingly I’m more excited to see Johnny hockey then Johnny football

  6. soupy19 - Jul 7, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    I’m a Flames fan. We drafted Monahan last year and Bennett this year which gives us two (hopefully elite centres) for years to come. But neither of them gets me more excited than Johnny Hockey. He is elite at everything he does. I don’t think his size will hurt him.

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