Checking In on Johnny Hockey
By Lauren Isserow
Johnny Gaudreau is literally on fire this season. The 25 year old New Jersey native, aptly nicknamed “Johnny Hockey”, has scored 33 goals and recorded 57 assists for the Calgary Flames this season so far, including 6 points against the New Jersey Devils last Tuesday. He is on pace to score 105 points, which would be the most in his career.
Despite standing at only five feet and nine inches, nearly four inches shorter than the average NHL player, Gaudreau has become one of the league’s superstars. Gaudreau has surpassed his total points from last season, including scoring 9 more goals with 12 games left to play.
In the 2018-2019 season, Gaudreau has recorded career highs two advanced statistics, including Goals For While on Ice in All Situations (oiGF) and Team on Ice Shooting Percentage in All Situations (oiSH). This demonstrates his ability to not only improve his own personal statistics, but the high correlation between him being on ice and the significant increase in both goals scored and Shooting Percentage (S%) for the team. Gaudreau has not only improved himself, but has played an intrinsic role in the improvement of the Flames as a team this season. Likewise, he has improved his S% from 10.6% to 14.9%. He has been able to create more dangerous shots, and has become even more efficient in scoring than in previous years. For a comparison, Alexander Ovechkin’s S% was 13.8% in the 2017-2018 season in which he was awarded the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy for scoring the most goals in the NHL.
While now it would be difficult to believe, NHL scouts originally did not identify his immense potential. He was drafted by the Flames in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Entry draft at 104th overall. Listed at five foot, six inches, he would be the shortest player drafted in the 2011 draft. However, as a member of the Boston College Eagles hockey team, he did not let his lack of stature inhibit his talents. He was named Beanpot MVP (2012), Hockey East Player of the year (2013, 2014), All-Hockey East First Team (2013, 2014), and was awarded the Hobey Baker Award (2014) to name a few of his accolades. As a Calgary Flame, he was selected to the All Star Game in all five of the complete seasons he has played (2015-2019).
His precise and extraordinary skating skills, matched with his incredible ability to make and use space on the ice allow him to play with unparalleled creativity and style regardless of height.
Gaudreau and the Flames have been scorching opponents and are currently in second place in the Pacific division. They are looking to return to the playoffs after failing to qualify in the 2017-2018 season. Gaudreau also joins former Boston College Eagle Noah Hanifin as a member of the Flames.