May 14, 2016

Rob Gaudreau

Gaudreau starred with at Providence College from 1988 through 1992. Along with linemate Mike Boback, Gaudreau scored 211 points, including a record 103 goals, while leading the Friars to two NCAA tournament appearances. He also found time to earn a degree in social sciences.

The proud Rhode Island native arrived having spent most of his youth playing defense but he would split his time in college playing both up front and on the back end. By graduation he had become a full time forward, resulting in a Hobey Baker award nomination in 1992.

Originally drafted by Pittsburgh and then traded to the Minnesota North Stars, Gaudreau never played for either NHL team. He ended up catching the hockey world by storm when he joined the San Jose Sharks.

Gaudreau was one of the early popular players in San Jose.  He was an outstanding skater, with his whole game relying on speed and quickness. He had to zoom around the giant defenders to survive.

At five-foot-eleven and 185 pounds, Gaudreau was not big by any means. But he did willingly get involved in the physical game, though more as a disturber and as a good teammate sacrificing his body to make a play. In this way he was a tough if not a strong player.

With his defense background it came as no surprise that he was a conscientious defensive forward. Offensively he was a sporadically explosive scorer. He had 23 goals in 59 games as a rookie, including the first two hat tricks in San Jose Sharks history. Playing on a line with Kelly Kisio and Johan Garpenlov, Gaudreau's first hat trick came in just his second NHL game.

He followed that up with 15 goals and 35 points in year two. More importantly, the Sharks made the playoffs for the first time and made it all the way into round two. Though it was as far as they would get, anyone associated with the Sharks at that time will tell you the parade they had after the playoffs was one of the great early moments in team history.

Gaudreau joined the Ottawa Senators in 1994-95 but struggled to find the net there over the next two seasons. He would play one season in Switzerland before retiring.

In retirement Gaudreau joined his father's life long industry of property redevelopment, amassing a portfolio of more than $150 million.

No comments: