The Islanders weren’t too busy in free agency this offseason, but among the smaller-scale moves they did make was bringing in former Rangers winger Julien Gauthier.
The 25-year-old spent the first three seasons of his NHL career on Broadway after being acquired from the Hurricanes, but he was shipped out to Ottawa at this years deadline in exchange for Tyler Motte before hitting free agency.
Gauthier quickly landed back in New York, this time in orange and blue on a two-year deal, where he hopes to crack a spot on the opening night roster.
“They showed a lot of interest in me right away,” he said. “They’ve seen me play quite a bit the last few years, so they had a good idea of what kind of player I was. It was great connecting with them and seeing what they wanted.”
Early on in training camp, Gauthier has been impressing as he showcases his game-changing speed and physicality.
He buried a goal on the power play in New York’s 2-1 win over the Flyers in their second preseason game and then added an assist and two hits in a win over his former team on Saturday.
“No complaints, it’s been awesome so far,” he said.
The speedy winger seems to have quickly locked himself into a spot on the Islanders’ opening night roster as he’s been drawing nothing but praise from his new teammates and head coach.
“He was hard on pucks, he was in on the forecheck and he was physical,” Lane Lambert said. “I’ve said from Day 1, the one thing that you notice about him is that he can shoot the puck, and he’s showed that well.”
“Just having him here in the room he brings a great demeanor and work ethic,” captain Anders Lee added. “Throughout camp his speed is evident, his size is evident, and I think he’s got a lot of assets to bring. I think he’s going to be awesome for us.”
Gauthier posses a ton of upside and potential, but he’s still yet to find consistency over his four-year NHL career. He has just 14 goals and 18 assists for a total of 32 points over that span.
Now that he’s received his first multi-year deal, though, he’s hoping to take advantage of the new opportunity.
“I’m hoping to make the most of this,” he said. “It’s fun to play in the NHL, but it’s also fun to play and have a good role and that’s what I’m fighting for right now in training camp.”
Source: Yahoo Sports