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  • What's Going On With Freddy Gaudreau?


    Image courtesy of © Kyle Ross - USA TODAY Sports
    Luke Sims

    Frederick Gaudreau has gotten off to a slow start this season. The steady forward has been playing on the third line with Marco Rossi and Marcus Foligno, but he’s yet to produce a point this year. Through six games, Gaudreau has recorded zero goals, zero assists, and zero points and registered a -2 plus/minus. Now, Gaudreau is out with an upper-body injury he sustained from a Ryan Reaves hit against Toronto and will be out of the lineup for a while. That leaves me wondering what is going on with the usually capable forward. 

    Gaudreau has been a solid contributor since arriving in St. Paul. The Canadian forward has always offered something on every line he’s played on. He’ll contribute on the penalty kill, powerplay, and wherever the Minnesota Wild needs him. Dean Evason coached Gaudreau in the AHL, and Evason has trusted Gaudreau to the extent that he may be overextending the seventh-year center.

    Bill Guerin was also familiar with Gaudreau from his time in Pittsburgh. Guerin signed the unproven forward to a two-year, $2 million deal. It proved to be a savvy deal when Gaudreau produced 82 points in 158 games. The Wild rewarded Gaudreau’s performance with a five-year, $10.5 million extension. Gaudreau is in the first year of that deal, which will pay him $2.1 million annually for the next five years. 

    Early this season, it’s looking like the Wild may have some buyer's remorse. 

    Gaudreau played on a line with a young Matt Boldy and a surging Kevin Fiala in his breakout 2021-22 season. That line had a positive Corsi percentage and a wicked 65.38 goals-for percentage. Fiala had the best season of his career, and Boldy put the league on notice. 

    That line allowed Gaudreau to break out. The shootout specialist notched a career-high in goals, assists, and points. Gaudreau was familiar with Fiala from his time in Nashville, where Evason coached the duo. That longtime connection was enough to vault Gaudreau to a career year. However, this breakout came practically out of nowhere. When I say out of nowhere, I mean out of nowhere. Gaudreau was looking at finding a new occupation if he could not make it work in the NHL. 

    Until Gaudreau’s breakout with the Wild, he only had 18 points in 103 NHL games. That includes a season in Nashville where he had four points in 55 games as a 27-year-old.  The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up Gadureau, where he connected with Bill Guerin and put up ten points in 19 games. Credit to Guerin for plucking Gaudreau early in free agency that year, allowing him to thrive in Minnesota.

    While Gaudreau’s breakout was surprising, he had to prove he could sustain that success. And he did. The Wild lined Gaudreau up next to Boldy for a large portion of the season, and he followed up his career year with another respectable season. 38 points in 82 games while flirting with 20 goals is a solid season from a guy making $1.2 million. 

    Guerin decided that was enough to give his coach’s favorite player a five-year extension. At a relatively affordable $2.1 million cap hit, the Wild got a guy who can put up 40 points, is responsible on both ends of the ice, and can kill penalties. But the caveat was always that Gaudreau was playing with Minnesota’s high-end talent. The Wild are facing that reality right now. Freddy has gone cold this season. 

    Gaudreau has hurt the Wild offensively. While he has been putting up some solid defensive metrics on a team that needs it, the offensive side of Gaudreau’s game has all but disappeared. Freddy’s GF% is third-worst among regular forwards at 32.27%. His expected goals are not much better. His Corsi% is worst amongst forwards and significantly worse than Rossi and Foligno, his linemates. Gaudreau has yet to log his name on the scoresheet, and now he’s hurt. Ryan Reaves’ check knocked Freddy out of the next few games. 

    Can Gaudreau’s linemates elevate him when he returns? Rossi has the potential to be a dynamic player, but he hasn’t reached his offensive potential yet. Foligno had a down year last season, but he’s also solid. Foligno and Rossi aren’t Boldy and Fiala. Fred has spent almost all his time with an elite player like Boldy or Fiala. But the Wild haven’t paired him with a dangerous offensive player this year. Part of it’s just bad luck, and part of it’s his linemates. Gaudreau has complemented his linemates and produced alongside the elite players he got to play with. Now, he’s struggling to produce with his not-so-elite linemates. 

    While this season has not started off the way that anyone wanted for Gaudreau, he still has time to turn it around. But right now, it’s beginning to look like it’ll be a long five years. 

    All stats and data via Evolving Hockey, HockeyDB, Natural Stat Trick, and MoneyPuck.com 

     

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    If Gaudreau was injured in game 2, but continued to play for the next 4 games after that, it could certainly be impacting his ability to generate points. No doubt that everyone was expecting more from him than he's shown so far.

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    BG's talent assessment and lack of foresight so far has been abysmal.  Plus the non-stop extensions and ntc's. ??? This season's signings have been so bad that they went with 11 forwards rather than give Jar Jar another game. Just saying. If it walks like a duck...

    Hopefully things will turn around but right now the Wild are not passing the smell test.

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    I don't get all the Freddy hate.  If anything his absence the last couple games shows you the value of glue guys that isn't really seen on the stat sheet.

    I could say the same for Dumba.  Our defense is missing his glue factor.

    (although glue isn't 6M)

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    I think this is a stealth benching

     Freddy has always been a passenger on the ice, so BG/DE are using injury as excuse to hold tryouts. 
    my cousin Vinny has shown me enough to get more games at Fred’s expense

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    This Freddy hate is ridiculous if you watched the panthers game he flat out gave Rossi his first goal and that 3rd line was possibly our best line until the Reaves hit(THE BEGINNING OF GAME 2!!!)….you do not know the extent of his injury before criticizing him realize that upper body injury could be a separated shoulder or anything else that hampers his ability to shoot pass and play effectively. I understand the determination to play through the injury as depth and other injuries were hampering the team already. Injuries were always going to be a issue with this team especially with the cap situation. Seriously Freddy plays in all situations excels at the defense side and shootouts while contributing offensively occasionally but as for a versatile role player he far outplayed his first contract and earned a team friendly second.

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    It's not as if Gaudreau is making elite money.  He's not paid to score like the top two lines are.  Being hurt also sucks.  He's a solid addition to the team, willing to play anywhere and usually does well enough to not be a problem at any part of the game.  When he comes back, he'll probably do what he always does: underrated goals at the best times, wizardry in the shootout (god he would have been nice last night), and quality play that has been missing from a lot of people.

    I wouldn't call out Gaudreau, especially when the team has bigger and more expensive problems.

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    1 hour ago, Been There Done That said:

    BG's talent assessment and lack of foresight so far has been abysmal.  Plus the non-stop extensions and ntc's. ??? This season's signings have been so bad that they went with 11 forwards rather than give Jar Jar another game. Just saying. If it walks like a duck...

    Hopefully things will turn around but right now the Wild are not passing the smell test.

    As somewhat of a duck hunter myself, I like duck references and I agree the Wild have been lousy with inconsistencies and the same two big problems from recent years is the special teams. Faceoffs too, but special teams stink.

    Fred having a slow start is true too but slow starts aren't new. The Wild have plenty of time to turn the tables. I think it's good to question the GM moves but I genuinely like Guerin motives. I think you're gonna have some things work out poorly. Those get highlighted more than good things in some cases.

    We are not impressed with the Wild so far but with injuries and time leading up to Nov.12th, I'm hopeful. The biggest problem is the special teams. That cost the Wild a regulation win last night.

    I think Fred will bounce back, he woulda won us the shootout last night. Let that sink in before we are too eager to criticize. 

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    I’m not a fan of Freddy’s game. Nothing against Fred but he’s like the rest of the team. Nice guys but collectively they shouldn’t be on same team. Fred’s like Hartman. Playing in the wrong spot on a roster. . IMO. Hartmans a 3rd to 2 nd line player. Not top center . Freddy is a press box player or ahl top 6. A call up guy on a  2 way . That’s a perfect spot I’d  be a fan of Freddy in. I’m not a fan of Fred holding other players back from opportunities or making them Carry the water. Like every line he’s been on. The other two drive the line and he cherry picks. He didn’t make kappy and zucc better. Same with Boldy and fiala Or Jo Jo. They threw him some bones not the other way around . He’s a good call up for a game but not long term . 
        The wild can’t slow anyone down. The other teams are moving freely in our zone. So I don’t see how Fred fits in the future . He’s not good on the face off, he doesn’t take the body ever, and he’s not strong on sticks or boxing out  . His pk in playoffs was terrible. Same as this year  We are defensively weak and small . So a majority of time we start by losing draw and chasing . The other teams start cycling and we have no physical d or forwards to slow it down or stop it. No one rubs anyone out or do we  tie up sticks. Just free flow around our undersized team.  I wonder if Billy still believes face offs don’t matter because you can generate from wings. That comment hasn’t aged well imo ! 
        Where is Fred going to play next 5 years?  He’s not a checking line center. He’s never going to be a face off specialist. He doesn’t check or engage physically. So he doesn’t wear other teams down. He doesn’t make others better but Instead slows them down. 
        Fred’s contract was the beginning of the stupid contracts. Exactly why I lost my excitement and passion for this team after 23 years.  No team was coming to pay him 10.5 m. We didn’t have to sign him or do a stupid ntc for him. We could have done league minimum or good luck on your next team. . Same with hart , zucc , moose , goose.  All should be one or two year deals signed at end of season once you see how they aged .  Ala Tampa and stamkos . The fiala years guys were hungry and playing hard for opportunities and contracts. Now they are all fat and lazy with big contracts , no trade clauses,  and no need to worry about losing their job to anyone because we maxed out the credit card on your bad contracts . 
        The next 11 games are brutal. The wild will be out of playoffs and chasing all year.  I find little to nothing to be excited about with this team  . Sad but I finally gave up  haha   Now it’s interesting to watch the dumpster fire  

     

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    56 minutes ago, Dean said:

    I’m not a fan of Freddy’s game. Nothing against Fred but he’s like the rest of the team. Nice guys but collectively they shouldn’t be on same team. Fred’s like Hartman. Playing in the wrong spot on a roster. . IMO. Hartmans a 3rd to 2 nd line player. Not top center . Freddy is a press box player or ahl top 6. A call up guy on a  2 way . That’s a perfect spot I’d  be a fan of Freddy in. I’m not a fan of Fred holding other players back from opportunities or making them Carry the water. Like every line he’s been on. The other two drive the line and he cherry picks. He didn’t make kappy and zucc better. Same with Boldy and fiala Or Jo Jo. They threw him some bones not the other way around . He’s a good call up for a game but not long term . 
        The wild can’t slow anyone down. The other teams are moving freely in our zone. So I don’t see how Fred fits in the future . He’s not good on the face off, he doesn’t take the body ever, and he’s not strong on sticks or boxing out  . His pk in playoffs was terrible. Same as this year  We are defensively weak and small . So a majority of time we start by losing draw and chasing . The other teams start cycling and we have no physical d or forwards to slow it down or stop it. No one rubs anyone out or do we  tie up sticks. Just free flow around our undersized team.  I wonder if Billy still believes face offs don’t matter because you can generate from wings. That comment hasn’t aged well imo ! 
        Where is Fred going to play next 5 years?  He’s not a checking line center. He’s never going to be a face off specialist. He doesn’t check or engage physically. So he doesn’t wear other teams down. He doesn’t make others better but Instead slows them down. 
        Fred’s contract was the beginning of the stupid contracts. Exactly why I lost my excitement and passion for this team after 23 years.  No team was coming to pay him 10.5 m. We didn’t have to sign him or do a stupid ntc for him. We could have done league minimum or good luck on your next team. . Same with hart , zucc , moose , goose.  All should be one or two year deals signed at end of season once you see how they aged .  Ala Tampa and stamkos . The fiala years guys were hungry and playing hard for opportunities and contracts. Now they are all fat and lazy with big contracts , no trade clauses,  and no need to worry about losing their job to anyone because we maxed out the credit card on your bad contracts . 
        The next 11 games are brutal. The wild will be out of playoffs and chasing all year.  I find little to nothing to be excited about with this team  . Sad but I finally gave up  haha   Now it’s interesting to watch the dumpster fire  

     

    Very good post. Each of these guys are ok but as a whole the team is constructed wrong way. Unnecessary contracts, no visible future. Like I post once before, look at the Wild roster which BG inherited and compare with this one. Maybe subtract Kaprisov because it was a gift and see if what was done. I don’t see any improvement at all. 

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    17 minutes ago, Lovehockey said:

    look at the Wild roster which BG inherited and compare with this one. Maybe subtract Kaprisov because it was a gift and see if what was done. I don’t see any improvement at all. 

    This is the uncomfortable conversation we may need to begin having.  Not saying we’re there yet, but if some of our prospects don’t turn into top 6 contributors immediately ( not in their 5th year) this group is going to go sideways for long time.  But Pewter we have the cap penalties…bullshit Guerin owns that decision.  I hope it works out because I’ll be watching either way

    memo to Bill: swapping out a journeyman, fun loving, tough guy every couple years ain’t gonna get the mail delivered

    Who in the system now is going to be leading the offense in near future? Rossi, Dewar, Boldy are what I see   

     

    Edited by Pewterschmidt
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    The big story last year was freddy g hitting the open market. Every team was salivating to get him come open of free agency . However our brilliant gm who has a vision of building a cup winner swooped  in and locked him up to 5 years . Plus a no trade clause because all the other teams would have done same or better. That’s ridiculous!  That’s the problem with the team. Billy is bidding against himself.  Signing good people to bad contracts makes fans not happy with the players.  Freddy making 2.1 m playing top 6 for San Jose. Makes sense.  Good value for San Jose. Freddy making 2.1 as a checking winger that doesn’t check or win face offs on a team with no money or jam to their game , makes no sense.  When the kids start coming they’ll have to carry freddy s water for next 5 years. 
         Bill needs to stop, walk away and really think before he gives out contracts . I can’t be a fan of this team with these contracts and no hope of change . I still think changing Deano is only option! New coach means players play hard to get ice time from the new guy.  Plus a new system might help defensively.  Can we fast forward 5 years please. 

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    2 hours ago, Pewterschmidt said:

    I think this is a stealth benching

     Freddy has always been a passenger on the ice, so BG/DE are using injury as excuse to hold tryouts. 
    my cousin Vinny has shown me enough to get more games at Fred’s expense

    I like my cousin Vinny in that back up grinder role.  He is about the only call up that looks like he wants to stay.  Freddy skates circles around the guy though. 

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    4 hours ago, Dean said:

    Fred’s like Hartman. Playing in the wrong spot

    Spot on. Unfortunately, one has to be (Hartman) due to a lack of better options and the other (Fred) is Deanos adopted son.

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    3 hours ago, Lovehockey said:

    Very good post. Each of these guys are ok but as a whole the team is constructed wrong way. Unnecessary contracts, no visible future. Like I post once before, look at the Wild roster which BG inherited and compare with this one. Maybe subtract Kaprisov because it was a gift and see if what was done. I don’t see any improvement at all. 

    What kind of players could we have with another 14 million spent on the roster?

    Asking for a friend.

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    4 hours ago, Lovehockey said:

    Very good post. Each of these guys are ok but as a whole the team is constructed wrong way. Unnecessary contracts, no visible future. Like I post once before, look at the Wild roster which BG inherited and compare with this one. Maybe subtract Kaprisov because it was a gift and see if what was done. I don’t see any improvement at all. 

    When you are given a mandate by the only person who really matters in this conversation, OCL, to make the playoffs, Shooter has done very well. Individually, this is a rag tag fleet. Together, though, the island of misfits gets the job done and overachieves. All the while, they are buying time for the kids to mature. And when the kids arrive, there will be NO lowering the bar of expectations, playoffs still must be made. 

    Usually, when rebuilding a team, you take some lumps for a couple of years. That is not the task set before the GM. He was instructed to make the playoffs, and rebuild the team all at the same time. It typically takes the prospects 5 years from their draft year to make an impact. Boldy and Rossi are ahead of schedule. We're not seeing the improvement because those guys aren't ready yet. 

    My patience is also thin, but when you step away and look at the big picture, there still isn't the possibility of a completed grade. What we do know is our prospect cupboard was in shambles when Guerin arrived and it is now considered top notch. It's now up to the players. They have to mature, and add a bunch of strength. The sooner they accomplish this, the sooner they'll get a real chance.

     

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    Since this is the latest article, and there was no Walk today, how did you guys think Hunt looked last night?

    I was surprised to see us go with 11-7, and even more surprised they didn't play Addison up on the wing a couple of shifts. Did Khiara get hurt?

    My 1st impression of Hunt was "who is 48?" To put that into perspective, I tried watching the game last night on delay and had internet difficulties, so much of the 1st period was in ultra un-HD. It was a good reminder of how hockey used to be broadcast, and even a little worse than that. 

    Watching this afternoon, I'd say he was generally invisible, and for that it was probably a good thing. Nothing stood out, but no glaring mistakes were made except for letting Ovechkin camp out to the side of Fleury, toast his marshmellow and then pot a goal which was offsides. This will be a good cup o' Joe for him, but I don't think he stays. 

    Mermis, however, is playing like he doesn't want to go back to Des Moines. So, who had Middleton and Mermis leading the defense in points so far on their bingo cards?

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    The Wild aren't Vegas or Boston, they're not Colorado or NYR with multiple #1-5 overall picks and full cap. For The Wild, especially under Leopold, tanking has never been on the table. The buyout decision was proven right in the sense that neither guy was really a trade value. One appears to be done with hockey.(Til before the deadline when Guerin brings him back at 100% health after secret Braemar training sessions and coming off a 20 goal NHL 82 game season.) 😎

    Is Rossi doing well this year, yeah. Is he dominant, no. Is Boldy an amateur golfer or a hockey player? Is Goose cooked, pretty much but better than the current 3rd pair? Fred isn't the only player to start slow, not really Mojo is just decent without Boldy and everybody else has just a couple goals a piece.

    Without Spurge, yeah obviously Merrill and Mermis are not too good compared to Dumba. Goligoski might get burned more than we like, but he jumps up sometimes, and makes smart plays with the puck so I'm thinking when this all shakes out and guys come back, it will be a better club WITH Fred, Boldy, Spurge, and Goligoski even though the PP is horseshit and none of the guys I mention who are out are gonna independently resolve that.

    I said, I wanted to see what the deal was after 7-10 games. Fleury played pretty good against Washington and the Wild have shown some offense this year half the time. Hartman has been good despite taking penalties. Kaprizov and Zuccarello are on and off. Faber has been good but the Wild had a team game for previous success. Not making excuses cause the losses to CBJ and Philly were pretty ugly and 0-5 PP losing to WSH was another big fail but I didn't think the Wild would go 6-0-2. Their record really should be closer to 5-2-1 and likely would be if they were healthy and had any kind of power-play at all. I think its kind of an over-reaction to say Guerin sucks and the Wild are trash, Fred's a bum, but it's definitely not an ideal situation with no cap space. Winning solves everything so as the Wild struggle, there's going to be finger-pointing, and blame-shifting.

    The biggest thing that bothers me is the known issues that haven't been solved. The PP should be working overtime to stop sucking. They really need to just take it one game at a time and get good habits building. The Washington game was decent from a structured standpoint not giving up seven goals. Goaltending was good. If the Wild can get a complete team performance, they'll have a chance to get out of the hole.

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    The comment about the buyouts being a problem and that this situation being Guerin's fault because of them? I just want everyone to stop and think, would this team be any better with Suter and Parise playing? I think the answer is definitely no. It also would limit roster spots and we probably wouldn't see Faber on defense, because Suter would apparently throw a tantrum anytime he would have to play with a RHD who won't do his job for him.

    Freddy's contract might be long, but it's cheap. Freddy has been playing injured most of the season (or out entirely), so it's easy to judge. The guy is actually a remarkably solid player for his roughly 2 AAV. He plays really solid defense, can play center, scores a goal or two (often at critical times), kill penalties well, and is a shootout pro. As for as players that are making about 2 million a season, I think you would have a hard time finding a lot of players that do more. He's a really solid player and adds a lot to the team, give him a bit more time this season.

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    8 hours ago, jgodwin17 said:

    It also would limit roster spots and we probably wouldn't see Faber on defense, because Suter would apparently throw a tantrum anytime he would have to play with a RHD who won't do his job for him.

    In a bit of irony, of the defenders Suter could be paired with, Faber is likely the one guy who could do his job for him!

    Had we still had these guys on the team, we likely see a bunch more of the kids up, and would likely conclude they weren't ready yet. I didn't mind Parise's leadership, he'd have probably been a good guy to pair with Rossi, but would he even be on the ice at this point?

    But, let's review. The buyouts are/were not Guerin's fault, they weren't Fletcher's either. This was an NHL/NHLPA problem that was put in place after the fact to punish teams/players who had longterm contracts. If I'm not mistaken, wouldn't OCL have been one of the guys who voted for or against the CBA? I don't know if those votes ever were public, but I'd suggest that this is where the blame falls, on the owners, NHL, and NHLPA. 

    Also, it was not done in the best interest of the players. Tying up large cap numbers took away from that money going to other players.

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    The Wild have had some of the worst turns of events. One during Guerin's tenure in that Rossi got sidelined for a year. The Cap penalties were 100% punitive and really should have been handled differently. The Wild have been screwed by refs and the NHL admitted it during the playoffs. Screwed by Toronto(NHL) just the other day on an offsides call that took away a goal.

    MN needs to seriously focus and overcome these neverending obstacles or twists in their story. Take control. In order to do that they need the full buy in cause they don't have the fullest talent with these penalties. If they can't do it because they weren't good enough, then fine. When I see Boldy golfing in August and then he comes in and gets hurt as the team struggles to be 500%, it looks bad.

    When the PP and faceoffs are the same and stink, the spotlight is on the GM and coaches.

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    NJ is gonna be tough. I'm looking to see if Haula is playing and Nosek, who I thought Bill Guerin should've signed. He can win draws. We got Khaira & Maroon though. To my chagrin, both Haula and Nosek have been dealing with small injuries too.

    The Wild currently sit 20th in the NHL behind four Central division teams.

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