The Toronto Maple Leafs Recruit In-Demand Goalie Taylor Gauthier

Could Taylor Gauthier #35 of the Prince George Cougars be a future of the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie? (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Could Taylor Gauthier #35 of the Prince George Cougars be a future of the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie? (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images) /

A number of NHL teams extended offers, but ultimately the Toronto Maple Leafs won out the opportunity to bring a goalie with international experience to Training Camp.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have given Taylor Gauthier a professional tryout (PTO), which marks an opportunity for him to continue living out his dream. Gauthier is a 20-year-old undrafted goaltender for the Prince George Cougars in the Western Hockey League (WHL).

Gauthier has chosen the Leafs offer to go to training camp in September and compete for a position in the organization.

It gives him another opportunity to join an NHL system after he passed through three NHL Entry Drafts without a team selecting his rights. The lack of interest has been surprising based on his history of quality play.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Taylor Gauthier

Prior to becoming a Major Junior player, Gauthier was sensational between the pipes in his minor hockey days. In the year the Cougars drafted him tenth overall, he was stopping just about everything coming his way for the Calgary Bisons in Bantam AAA. In 19 games he had a 1.22 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage. (stats

That didn’t immediately translate to the WHL where the pace is faster and the shots are harder and more precise. It took Gauthier two years in Prince George to fully settle in and show that he has the skills to be a top-tier goalie. Gautier carried a full load of games in 2019-20, playing 50 games for the Cougars where he posted a 2.93 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. He then carried that into the COVID-19 shortened season where he was between pipes for 15 games and had a 2.74 goals-against average and a .915 saver percentage.

On the international stage, Gauthier helped Canada capture a gold medal at the Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament in 2018. He was also Canada’s go-to goaltender in 2019 for their under-18 team at the World Championship. Gauthier even made Canada’s roster this past IIHF world junior championship in Edmonton as the team’s third goaltender, though he wasn’t given the opportunity to play in a game.

Don’t be surprised if Gauthier earns himself a position somewhere within the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. With Petr Mrazek and Jack Campbell as the established tandem in the NHL, it doesn’t leave room for right away in the Show. However, there are still availabilities at the lower ranks. Gauthier also has one year of eligibility left in the WHL, where he is expected to play as an over-ager for the Cougars for his final season of Junior hockey.

Next. Way Too Early Leafs Predictions for 2021. dark

Not every invitation to the Leafs training camp makes sense this year but Gauthier being there absolutely does. This is a great decision for the team and the PTO will hopefully turn into a long-term relationship between the Buds and the stopper.