Gauthier speaks on trade fallout: 'A 19-year-old kid getting a lot of death threats'
Newly acquired Anaheim Ducks prospect Cutter Gauthier spoke Wednesday on the fallout from his decision to not play for the Philadelphia Flyers and subsequent trade for Jamie Drysdale and a second-round pick.
Gauthier, who said he will continue to keep his reasons for not joining the Flyers a "private matter," spoke out on the backlash he's received since Monday's trade.
“There’s been a lot of good and bad,” Gauthier said on a call with reporters, per The Athletic. “A 19-year-old kid getting a lot of death threats and a bunch of thousands and thousands of people reaching out and just saying some pretty poor things that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, it’s pretty tough to see, obviously. But it’s a business. With all the rumours spreading around that aren’t true, it’s kind of tough to go out and say one word or anything to kind of quiet those people.
“But, you know, people are going to have opinions. People are going to say things. I can’t tell them to have an opinion or not. It’s been definitely a little bit of a stressful situation (the) last 48 hours.”
“It was to try to protect the kid,” Briere said on keeping Gauthier's change of heart private. "We were hoping that at some point he would change his mind. He had already changed his mind. He looked at us at the draft and told us he was built to be a Flyer, wanted to be a Flyer, and then a few months later, told us that he didn’t want to be a Flyer, didn’t want to play for the Flyers."
The 19-year-old forward denied Wednesday that his decision was linked to anyway to not wanting to play for head coach John Tortorella, who was hired by the team in 2022.
“All those all those rumors saying I was scared of Torts, that’s not the case at all,” Gauthier said. “I’ve had many (tough) coaches throughout my whole life and I think that any coach I will play for would love to have me on their team. I want to do whatever it takes to win. If they’re a hard, yelling, screaming kind of coach, I’ll roll with the punches. I’m never going to disrespect or talk back to a coach. I’m going to give it my all every single shift. That was definitely not the reason why I didn’t want to play in Philly.
“I actually met Torts during dev camp two years back. I was super excited and thrilled to meet him. Obviously being a big name in hockey and the coaching staff industry, I definitely was not against playing for him whatsoever.”
Gauthier also shut down a Flyers blog report that suggested former Flyer Kevin Hayes was influential in his turn against the franchise.
“I’ve kind of seen all the rumours going around about Kevin Hayes having his fingerprints on this,” Gauthier said. “I want to clarify that he has nothing to do with this whatsoever. He has absolutely nothing (to do with it). Some of the people who are kind of saying this stuff about his family and stuff like that, (it) is pretty gutless. He has zero fingerprints on this whatsoever.
“I haven’t spoken to him in a long time. I just wanted to clarify it. It’s not just his word against everyone else’s. I wanted to make sure that (it’s known) he was definitely not involved in this whatsoever. It’s kind of disrespectful to him and his name that he was being brought into this.”
Later on Wednesday, Tortorella later also lashed out the reporter who threw Hayes' name into the conversation following Philadelphia's 3-2 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens.
“Are you kidding me? You think Kevin Hayes is going to do something like that? ... ,” Tortorella said. “It just pisses me off that you guys throw that around and affect someone’s life. Kevin Hayes and I had a problem, and we couldn’t come to an agreement how to play.
“That’s a good man. That’s a good man. And what you said is going to stay with him. That’s what you guys don’t understand. You’re going to sit there and say you have the right sources. ..."
Hayes, who was traded to the St. Louis Blues from the Flyers last summer, said Tuesday that he'd also received death threats following the blog post.
Following a gold-medal victory with Team USA at the World Juniors this month, Gauthier has returned to Boston College to continue his season. The left winger has 13 goals and 23 points in 17 NCAA games this season and posted two goals and 12 points in seven games at the World Juniors.