3. Julien Gauthier
The Islanders have had a carousel of bottom-six forwards this season. Matt Martin missed 19 games with an upper-body injury, while Hudson Fasching and Oliver Wahlstrom have struggled to find consistency. With the Bridgeport Islanders having depth in terms of forwards and ready-made prospects, Lambert had no choice but to slot Julien Gauthier next to J.G. Pageau and Simon Holmstrom on the third line.
Gauthier was an afterthought entering training camp this season. Lamoriello signed the 26-year-old right winger to a 2-year contract worth just $1.575 million. Following positive results through pre-season action, Gauthier unseated Ross Johnston as the Isles’ 14th forward on the roster. Gauthier has brought his own level of fight coming off the Islanders bench.
After playing just five games in October and November, Gauthier has now beat out Fasching and Wahlstrom as the Islanders’ 3rd line right winger. Following Martin’s injury, Gauthier received regular playing time and has seen his efforts pay off. He has five goals and three assists in his last 15 games, including 17 shots on goal. Gauthier has shown a great forecheck, which pairs well with Pageau’s aggressive pace of play. The Islanders have needed someone who isn’t afraid to shoot the puck, and Gauthier has proven to be that player.