Julien Gauthier is big in the Big Apple. With the Quebecois winger returning to the NHL, there is a lot to digest. This could be because the winger is 6’4 and the Rangers have an unfriendly game with the New York Islanders tonight, or it could be to help the Rangers cope with the injuries their forward core sustained last night in the shootout defeat to the Colorado Avalanche.
Gauthier has been an NHL regular for the Rangers for the last couple of seasons but was sent down to the AHL after this most recent preseason. With the recall of Gauthier, it’s clear the Rangers are concerned about how physical this game is going to be. Whether Gauthier has been called up because of injuries or for his attributes, the message this sends is very clear. This game tonight in the battle of New York is going to be entertaining.
In 96 career NHL games, Gauthier has 5 goals and 13 assists in his NHL career for 18 points. Far from a natural scorer. As I’ve alluded to, at 6’4, he’s not afraid of physical interaction and that is everything you have to expect with the Rangers playing at the UBS Arena tonight on Long Island. Those Islanders are going to give the Rangers everything they can handle physically.
A lot of questions have been raised about the long-term situation. Will Gauthier go back down after tonight? While that is a valid question, the Rangers have the extra roster spot after Dryden Hunt was claimed on waivers by the Colorado Avalanche. They have all the spare forwards they are going to need going forward with Gauthier up. There’s no reason to move him back down.
Gauthier has a lot of NHL experience and that is going to make him feel a little more stern of an opponent. With the Rangers needing a win tonight, they’re hoping Gauthier can help wear down the opponents a little more than some of the other members of the roster not exactly excelling in the physicality department.