It surprised a lot of Boston College fans when star forward Cutter Gauthier decided to come back for his sophomore season instead of going to the NHL. Gauthier had been drafted with the #5 overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2022 NHL Draft and was immediately projected as one of the organization’s top prospects, and he seemed likely to follow in the footsteps of the many “one-and-done” players that preceded him. But with an all-star freshman line coming to BC in 2023, it looked like Cutter wanted to run it back and compete for a national title.
Or so we thought.
In a stunning turn of events, Gauthier was traded to the Anaheim Ducks this week for defenseman Jamie Drysdale and a 2nd round pick, a shockingly low return for the well-regarded 19-year-old. We quickly found out that Gauthier and the Flyers front office were at odds, with Gauthier telling them just months after the 2022 Draft that he didn’t want to be a part of the organization. And beyond that, Gauthier refused to even communicate with the Flyers until they traded 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.”— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 9, 2024
- Flyers GM Danny Briere on Cutter Gauthier, who Philadelphia traded to Anaheim.
#Flyers GM Danny Briere on Cutter Gauthier: "We tried to get in touch with him many times, they would not communicate as far as the Gauthier side."— Jackie Spiegel (@jackiespiegel93) January 9, 2024
Now that’s a guy who knows what he wants! Philly has been at the basement of the NHL for a couple of years now and are just starting to turn things around. It’s possible that Gauthier didn’t want to be a part of a long rebuild, or perhaps he simply didn’t like the city of Philadelphia or the Flyers organization. Whatever the reason, he’ll now be living in sunny Los Angeles for a different rebuilding team, the Anaheim Ducks. But that doesn’t mean that Philadelphia is about to forget about him any time soon. Anyone who knows Philly fans will know that they take their hatred very seriously. And the Flyers organization is even condoning that hatred and harassment from their fans, with CEO Dan Hilferty talking about him getting a “rough ride” when he comes to play in Philadelphia.
“I feel bad for Cutter… well I don’t really feel bad for Cutter when he comes to Philadelphia. It’s gonna be a rough ride here and he earned it. We’re Philadelphians and we want people who want to be here with us.” - Dan Hilferty pic.twitter.com/DAXTvkHomO— Snow The Goalie: A Flyers Podcast (@SnowTheGoalie) January 9, 2024
This is what sports is all about. Cutter is playing a perfect villain and he couldn’t have picked a more miserable city’s fanbase to enrage. Even hockey insiders are suggesting that throwing batteries at the teenager could happen, and Flyers fans on social media seem to be excited by the thought.
I'm buying all of the batteries when Gauthier plays his first game in Philadelphia.— Johnny (Flyers) Hockey (@FlyersJohnny) January 9, 2024
There’s also another Boston College storyline intertwined into all of this drama: former Eagles forward Kevin Hayes, who won a national championship in 2012 and won four Beanpots in his time at BC. Hayes had a lot of public friction with Flyers head coach John Tortorella last year, so much so that Philadelphia ended up dealing the 31-year-old to the St. Louis Blues for pennies on the dollar. Cutter Gauthier has previously cited Hayes as a mentor, too, as the two connected through their alma mater and status as Flyers players (at the time). So, by making that simple connection, it was immediately speculated that Hayes was influential in Gauthier’s decision to reject the Flyers.
These claims were generally made through baseless speculation or with the help of “anonymous” sources, but they were spreading like wildfire across the internet regardless. Hayes had his own immediate response on Instagram (which personally made me laugh out loud):
So I guess we know where he stands! Whether or not Hayes was actually involved in this drama, we at least know that he shouldn’t be getting death threats. Stay classy, Philadelphia.
The amount of salt piling up on all sides of this debacle has been a delight to watch. It’s a perfect combination for this writer, who’s a die-hard BC and Boston sports fan. Nothing could make me happier than a star BC player getting what he wants and pissing off the entire city of Philadelphia in the process.
I now leave you with some of our favorite jokes to come out of this whole ordeal:
cutter gauthier has the opportunity to do the funniest thing rn (go to ducks management and say that he is never going to play for them either)— joséphine (@jos_beauch) January 9, 2024
cutter gauthier when he’s told the Flyers are trying to contact him pic.twitter.com/guLb9dwrmy— maddie rundlett (@madsruns) January 9, 2024
When you’re definitely not mad. Do not put in the newspaper that Torts and Flyers got mad. https://t.co/eE6mMclbNI— Patrick Damp, Known Tweeter (@SynonymForWet) January 9, 2024