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2023 World Juniors

Flyers’ Prospects Cutter Gauthier, Brian Zanetti Ready for World Jrs.

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Flyers prospects Brian Zanetti (left) and Cutter Gauthier will compete in the World Juniors starting Monday.

Two Philadelphia Flyers prospects — forward Cutter Gauthier and defenseman Brian Zanetti — will represent the NHL organization and their respective countries at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Moncton, New Brunswick.

Both players have games starting Monday, and the tournament will conclude Jan. 5.

Gauthier and Zanetti will face each other when their teams meet Thursday at 4 p.m.

Here is a look at the Flyers’ two prospects:

Cutter Gauthier, USA

Gauthier, a first-round selection (fifth overall) in 2022, will represent Team USA and play top-line minutes for the team with talented prospects like Logan Cooley (Arizona Coyotes) and Jimmy Snuggerud (St. Louis Blues).

The team also includes feisty winger Tyler Boucher, a first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators in 2021 and the son of former Flyers goalie Brian Boucher.

At Boston College, Gauthier has had a strong start to the season, collecting 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in 13 games. Gauthier will be counted on to provide lots of offense for the United States.

Gauthier has a great shot and is a good distributor.  In the Philadelphia Flyers’ development camp over the summer, Gauthier showed off his one-timer and playmaking abilities in many drills.

The 18-year-old center/left winger has tremendous explosiveness once he gets the puck. He has lots of speed and can drive play. Another positive: He is adept at being able to use his shot at any time, whether in tight, or with lots of space. Like this goal here in the exhibition game against Sweden:

 

A scouting report from Steve Kournianos from DraftAnalyst.com said Gauthier was a “dual threat whose flash and flair are neither forced nor untimely. He creates highlight-reel plays without the benefit of time or space, and opponents have to respect his dangerous one-on-one abilities.”

Brian Zanetti, Switzerland

A fourth-round draft pick (110th overall) in 2021, Zanetti will make his second appearance in the tournament after debuting in the 2022 tournament.

Zanetti, 19, played top-pair minutes at times last year and played well. The Swiss don’t score much and don’t have many highly talented NHL-level prospects, but Zanetti plays his role and will be a key factor this year. He had two assists over four tourney games in 2022.

With the Peterborough Petes of the OHL his season, Zanetti has five points (2-3) and a plus-8 rating in 27 games. He’s a defenseman that likes to move the puck up ice and control play. He has good gap control. Similar to Gauthier, Zanetti will be a big player for the Swiss and will be important in all aspects.

How special is the tournament?

Former Flyers defenseman Nick Schultz, now a player development coach in the organization, was asked Tuesday about some things that he remembered from the tournament when he played. He was on Team Canada in 2001 and 2002, and won a bronze and silver medal, losing to Czech Republic and Russia.

Today’s players may enjoy it a bit more, Schultz said, since this tournament is in Canada. He went overseas for both of his tournaments.

Schultz hasn’t seen Gauthier play live, but says “he’s a big, skilled power forward” from what he’s seen on video. He said Zanetti “has some length to him, is a good skater, and defends well.”

How/When to Watch?

Starting Monday, you can watch Gauthier and Zanetti on the NHL Network during the tournament. Ten teams will be trying to get to the quarterfinals (Jan. 2), semifinals (Jan. 4), and the finals on Jan. 5.

Here are the schedules:

USA

Monday, Dec. 26 vs. Latvia, 5 p.m. EST

Wednesday: Dec. 28 vs. Slovakia,  5 p.m. EST

Thursday, Dec. 29 vs. Switzerland, 4 p.m. EST

Saturday, Dec. 31 vs. Finland,  5 p.m. EST

Switzerland

Monday, Dec. 26 vs. Finland, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 27 vs. Latvia, 5 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 29 vs. USA 4 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 31 vs. Slovakia, noon.

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Temple University ‘25 - Videographer/Producer/Youtuber & Podcaster talking Flyers Hockey - Flyers Writer & Video Content for phillyhockeynow.com

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