Kevin Hayes blamed for Cutter Gauthier's decision to leave the Flyers
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Kevin Hayes blamed for Cutter Gauthier's decision to leave the Flyers

The veteran forward is taking some serious heat from the Philly media.



In case you missed it yesterday evening, the Philadelphia Flyers acquired former 6th overall draft pick Jamie Drysdale and a 2nd round pick from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for former 5th overall pick Cutter Gauthier.

Check it out:

NHL insiders Elliotte Friedman and Frank Seravalli both report that Gauthier informed the Flyers that he was not interested in signing with the team.

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In his press availability, Flyers GM Daniel Briere confirmed as much and went so far as to say that Gauthier wouldn't meet or speak with the Flyers in Sweden at last week's World Junior Championships.

"We tried to get in touch with him many times, they would not communicate," said Briere to reporters in his media conference.

More concerning to me though, is it looks like Gauthier just straight up flip-flopped on his desire to sign with the team that drafted him.

“He looked at us at the draft and told us that he was built to be a Flyer. Wanted to be a Flyer. A few months later, he told us that he didn’t want to be a Flyer," Briere said.

More insight from Flyers assistant GM Keith Jones:

The Flyers' brass flew all the way to Sweden to meet with the kid and he wouldn't even give them a meeting. That reeks of unprofessionalism, to me. Honestly, the Flyers might have dodged a bullet with this trade. This kid either needs to get his head on right or he needs to get some new advisors surrounding him.

Owner and CEO Dan Hilferty commented on the trade and predicted a "rough ride" for Gauthier if and when he makes his return to Philadelphia.

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Meanwhile following the Flyers' loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins this evening, head coach John Tortorella had a couple all-timer quotes on Gauthier and his thoughts on the deal:

Another master class in how to put out a soundbite from Torts.

Late last night the Flyers' online fanbase went into overdrive with conspiracy theories on how this all transpired and one of the most plausible theories, to me at least, is that former Flyers forward Kevin Hayes got into Gauthier's ear early on and soured the young man's view on the franchise. Gauthier admitted himself that he and Hayes became close after the Flyers drafted him and that they would talk and text on the phone often. Longtime Flyers reporter Anthony SanFilippo went so far as to say that Hayes' 'fingerprints are all over this.'

Check it out:

Hayes has fired back at SanFilippo calling him a clown and saying, "whoever that is is a complete clown and anyone who thinks I had anything to do with this doesn’t have a brain.” That's according to Hayes' good friend and Spittin' Chiclets host Ryan Whitney.

Hayes, of course, was traded by the Flyers to the Blues this past offseason after four years of up and down play since signing a massive seven year, $50 million contract with the team as a free agent back in 2019. Hayes was wildly inconsistent with the Flyers and, as you might imagine, clashed frequently with Tortorella. Now there are reports that he's souring the franchise's future outlook even while he's moved on to St. Louis. I can't confirm anything, but it looks to me like maybe young Gauthier learned a bit about being an unprofessional clown by ol' 'Hazy' himself.

In any case, regardless of who's to blame I've got to say that I'm absolutely floored by this deal! When was the last time we had two high profile prospects swapped like this? Maybe the Jonathan Drouin and Mikhail Sergachev trade back in 2017?

Meanwhile, Ducks GM Pat Verbeek spoke glowingly of the young Gauthier in his team's press release announcement.

“This is a trade we felt we needed to make as a player with Cutter’s dynamic skill set are not available often,’ said Ducks General Manager Pat Verbeek. “We see Cutter as a long-term, high-end player who produces in big moments. We also want to thank Jamie for his four years in Anaheim. It is a difficult trade to make as he has a great future in front of him both on and off the ice.”

The 21 year old Drysdale was selected 6th overall by the Ducks back in 2020. He has suited up for 123 NHL games across parts of three seasons with the Ducks, putting up eight goals and 45 points. He has one goal and five points in 10 games so far this season and missed almost all of last season due to a torn labrum. He's seen as one of the best young defensemen in the NHL and is signed to a very reasonable $2.3 million cap hit for the next three seasons.

As for Gauthier, he's fresh off a gold medal performance with Team USA at the 2024 World Junior Championships, where he put up a remarkable 12 points in just 7 games. He's a dynamic offensive player with high end playmaking and shooting skills. He's viewed as one of the top prospects in hockey period, regardless of position. Needless to say that the Ducks paid a high price to acquire Gauthier, but with Gauthier alongside the likes of Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish and Leo Carlsson the Ducks are loaded with young offensive talent.

Read below for the Flyers' official press release announcement:

he Philadelphia Flyers today announced the club has acquired defensemanJamie Drysdale and a second-round selection in the 2025 NHL Draft from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forward Cutter Gauthier, according to General Manager Daniel Briere.

Drysdale, 21 (4/8/02), was selected by the Ducks in the first round, sixth overall, of the 2020 NHL Draft. He owns five points (1-4=5) in 10 games with Anaheim this season. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound native of Toronto, Ontario, has 45 points (8-37=45) in 123 games in four seasons with the Ducks (2020-24). He missed majority of the 2022-23 campaign due to a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The right-shot blueliner set career highs in goals (4), assists (28) and points (32) in 81 games during the 2021-22 season. He ranked second among all NHL rookie defensemen in 2021-22 in points, assists, shots (137) and games while he became one of four rookie defensemen in Ducks history to record 30-or-more points. He tallied two points (1-1=2) in his NHL debut on March 18, 2021 vs. ARI. He became the third defenseman in NHL history to record multiple points in his NHL debut at age 18-or-younger while his first NHL goal marked only the fourth time in NHL history an 18-year-old scored a goal in his NHL debut.

Drysdale skated in two seasons with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and collected 87 points (16-71=87) in 112 career games (2018-20). He was named to the 2018-19 OHL First All-Rookie Team and to the 2019-20 OHL First Team All-Star. He has represented Canada at the 2020 (gold) and 2021 (silver) World Junior Championship and became the youngest defenseman since 2001 to appear in a World Junior Championship for Canada in 2020 (Jay Bouwmeester, 17 years, 3 months).

Gauthier was selected by the Flyers in the first round, fifth overall, of the 2022 NHL Draft and has yet to make his NHL debut. He has spent the last two seasons with Boston College (2022-24).

And the Ducks' full official press release announcement:

The Ducks have acquired left wing Cutter Gauthier (GOH-chee-AY) from the Philadelphia Flyers for defenseman Jamie Drysdale and a second-round selection in the 2025 NHL Draft.

“This is a trade we felt we needed to make as a player with Cutter’s dynamic skill set are not available often,’ said Ducks General Manager Pat Verbeek. “We see Cutter as a long-term, high-end player who produces in big moments. We also want to thank Jamie for his four years in Anaheim. It is a difficult trade to make as he has a great future in front of him both on and off the ice.”

Gauthier, 19 (1/19/04), has helped Team USA earn medals at numerous international tournaments. He led the Americans to a gold medal at the 2024 World Junior Championship, co-leading the tournament in points (2-10=12) and assists while serving as an alternate captain. He was named the Best Forward and to the 2024 tournament All-Star Team, leading Team USA in points and assists while scoring the game-winning goal in the third period of the Semifinal to help the U.S. advance to the gold medal game. He also represented Team USA at the 2023 World Championship, ranking tied for second in goals at the tournament and recording the most points by an under-20 player (7-2=9). He also helped the U.S. earn medals at the 2023 World Junior Championship (bronze, 4-6=10 points in seven games) and 2022 U-18 World Championship (silver, 3-6=9 points in six games).

Selected by Philadelphia in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2022 NHL Draft, Gauthier recorded 34-31=65 points in 54 games with a +33 rating at the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) U-18 team in 2021-22. He ranked second in goals and fifth in points among team leaders. He also scored 20-17=37 points in 44 games with the USNTDP U-17 team in 2020-21.

Source: Anthony SanFilippo