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NHL Notebook: After refusing to play for Philadelphia Flyers, Cutter Gauthier traded to Anaheim Ducks for Jamie Drysdale

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Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
A massive, unexpected trade Monday night will see the Philadelphia Flyers send top prospect Cutter Gauthier to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenceman Jamie Drysdale and a second-round pick.
It comes days after Gauthier, 19, with two goals and 12 points in seven games, helped lead the American World Junior squad to a Gold Medal. It was there, however, that the Flyers attempted to meet with Gauthier and had “a lot of trouble,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported.
Ultimately, Gauthier, who stands at 6’2, 194 lbs., informed the Flyers he had no intention to play for them, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli added, forcing the hand of the organization that drafted him fifth overall to seek a trade. With the Flyers playing the Pittsburgh Penguins as the trade broke, members of the organization spoke publically about the deal.
“He didn’t want to be a Flyer, so we had to come up with a plan,” said Flyers president of hockey operations Keith Jones, thanking other management staff around the league for keeping information about a potential trade quiet. “You don’t want to be a Flyer? You’re not going to be a Flyer. We were very pleased in the return we got, a player we coveted, a player we were searching for in Jamie Drysdale.

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Selected out of the US National Development Program, Gauthier has spent the last two seasons with the NCAA’s Boston College. In 2022-23, he scored 16 goals and 37 points in 32 games as a freshman, and has racked up an impressive 13 goals and 23 points in 17 games this year.
“He’s so good defensively, using his body well along the boards and in corners to win puck battles and move up ice,” the EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide read of Gauthier. “Offensively, he’s incredibly efficient. The puck is on his stick and off his stick in transition, but he also recognizes when he has pockets of space to initiate offense himself. Gauthier is unafraid to drive the puck to the net and protects the puck nicely when he chooses to do so.”
Drysdale, meanwhile, was selected by the Ducks sixth overall in the 2020 draft but has dealt with injuries earlier on in his career, forcing him to miss lots of time. Over the four seasons, Drysdale’s played in just 123 of the Ducks’ 259 games, while having played 14 games in the AHL over that stretch. Drafted as a high-octane offensive defenceman, he’s struggled to produce in the NHL scoring eight goals and 45 points.
Still, Drysdale is packed with untapped potential, and will get a chance to flourish in Philadelphia.
Here’s what EliteProspects’ 2020 NHL Draft Guide read of Drysdale:
He’s a brilliant skater, capable of quarterbacking a power play with ease and generating results both ways through the neutral zone. More of a playmaker than a shooter, Drysdale is adaptable first and foremost. He’s going to make the best decision regardless, no matter the situation. He’s the only defenceman in this year’s draft with clear No. 1 defenceman upside.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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