The Nashville Predators have been the darlings of the hockey world this postseason, entering as the last wild-card team in the West, sweeping the lauded Chicago Blackhawks in the first round, then taking on the experienced St. louis blues and eventually overcoming the rugged anaheim ducks in the western conference finals to reach the stanley cup finals.
there they met the defending stanley cup champions pittsburgh penguins, so you figure the fun would have to end there. well one would be wrong as the predators have made this a series after losing the first two contests along the way. Following two straight home wins, the Predators are tied with the Penguins heading into a pivotal game Thursday night 5 in Pittsburgh.
And who has led the way for prisoners? well, aside from goalie pekka rinne doing the right thing and defenseman roman josi doing his thing, nashville has gotten a boost from the most unlikely sources.
A gentleman named frederick gaudreau, a 24-year-old rookie with nine regular-season games under his belt, leads the team in goals scored during the series with three. And no, he’s not related to Calgary Flames superstar Johnny Gaudreau, aka “Johnny Hockey.”
so who the hell is freddy hockey? here’s everything you need to know:
- 1 1. gaudreau is the second player in nhl history to score the first three goals of his career in the stanley cup finals
- 2 2. gaudreau was not recruited before signing a contact with ahl in 2014
- 3 3. you haven’t been assigned your own locker yet
- 4 4. Gaudreau grew up in Bromont, Quebec
- 5 5. Gaudreau’s contract expires after this season
1. gaudreau is the second player in nhl history to score the first three goals of his career in the stanley cup finals
According to ESPN, after Gaudreau scored his third goal of the series in Monday’s Game 4 over the Penguins, he became only the second player in league history to record the first three goals of his career in the Stanley Cup Finals. the other? johnny harms of the 1944 blackhawks.
harms only ended up playing 43 games in the nhl, scoring 10 points (5 goals and 5 assists). Plus, his Blackhawks lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the 1944 Stanley Cup Final, so maybe Damage isn’t someone Gaudreau should aspire to be on the ice for, but that’s not the point.
Prior to the Stanley Cup Finals, Gaudreau had played in just nine career regular-season games, recording just one assist and eight shots on goal. but with ryan johansen injured, gaudreau has come into action, albeit on the fourth row.
it’s clear he’s making the most of his opportunity.
2. gaudreau was not recruited before signing a contact with ahl in 2014
At 24, Gaudreau is a little old for a rookie, especially considering there are rookies like Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine tearing up the league and they can’t even buy a grown-up drink.
his path to the nhl was not so conventional either. Gaudreau spent four seasons in the Quebec Junior Hockey League beginning in 2011, three with the Shawninigan Falls and one with the Drummondville Voltigeuers. Over the course of 195 games at the QJMHL, Gaudreau scored 50 goals and dished out 84 assists, good for 134 points. According to Ken Campbell of Hockey News, Gaudreau won the award for Most Unsportsmanlike Player in the League in 2013-2014.
signed with the milwaukee admirals of the american hockey league, nashville’s minor league affiliate, in june 2014. in his first two seasons with them, gaudreau scored just 19 goals in 118 games, but this season he broke out , scoring 25 goals in 66 games.
he made his nhl debut on october 22, 2016 against, yes, the pittsburgh penguins, but returned to the ahl after the game.
3. you haven’t been assigned your own locker yet
seriously, he hasn’t.
according to sean gentile of the pittsburgh post-gazette, gaudreau dresses using only a chair and a closet in the middle of the room. but the child is grateful, regardless:
“It could be sitting on the ground and I’d take it at any time,” Gaudreau said of his adaptations.
gentle says it’s not abnormal for this to happen and it’s not permanent either. the locker room is overcrowded and the seats are based on antiquity. yes, this is the nhl.
“The way he’s playing right now, we’re going to keep him there,” teammate Austin Watson told Tennessean’s Adam Vignan.
4. Gaudreau grew up in Bromont, Quebec
bromont is a small town in southwestern quebec, home to 7,649 people, according to canadian census data released in 2011. it is located at the base of mount brome and is home to the bromont ski resort, a popular tourist destination.
The city was selected to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games, but was forced to withdraw in July 2016 due to financial problems. the event reportedly cost $95 million, $9 million of which would be provided by the province. Bromont hosted the games in 2014 by the International Equestrian Federation after indicating that they would have substantial financial backing from the Canadian government. but in 2016, the Canadian federal government notified the organizers that it would not support the games.
tryon, north carolina, was named as bromont’s replacement in november 2016.
5. Gaudreau’s contract expires after this season
Gaudreau signed a two-year entry level contract (ELC) with the Nashville Predators in January 2016. His NHL salary is listed at $595,000 while his AHL salary is just $60,000.
capfriendly.com lists gaudreau as “exempt from waivers” and “eligible for arbitration.” He will be a restricted agent after the conclusion of these playoffs, which means the Predators, assuming they make him a qualifying offer, can match any offer sheet Gaudreau signs with another team.
gaudreau can also accept the predators’ qualifying offer, which essentially equates to a one-year contract. However, since Gaudreau is eligible for arbitration, he can choose to have a third party hear his salary requests, along with those of the team, and then have that party determine what figure is fair.
Of course, both sides are free to negotiate a long-term deal, but that’s unlikely given Gaudreau’s extremely short, albeit successful, tenure with the NHL.