Born: August 13, 1993
John Michael Gaudreau was born August 13, 1993 in Salem. Johnny grew up playing baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter and despite being somewhat undersized, he developed into a terrific left wing in the local youth hockey leagues. He attended Gloucester Catholic Junior & Senior High School in Gloucester City. Another future NHL player, Buddy Robinson, also attended the school. They were members of the first Rams hockey team, in 2006–2007. The pair led the team to a state title in 2009–10. Johnny’s brother Matty also played for the Rams.
Johnny was selected by the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the 2010 USHL draft. The USHL is the top amateur junior league in the U.S. Johnny led the team to the Clark Cup and also played in the USHL All-Star Game. He was named Rookie of the Year after the season. Johnny finished up high school in Dubuque and accepted a scholarship to Northeastern.
That spring, Johnny was selected by the Calgary Flames in 4th round of the NHL Draft. At 5’6” he was the shortest player taken. He would grow three more inches in college, but it wouldn’t be at Northeastern. When the school’s coach quit to join the Toronto Maple Leafs, Johnny renounced his commitment and accepted a scholarship from Boston College instead.
At BC, Johnny blossomed into a superstar. He was the nation’s top-scoring freshman, the MVP of the Beanpot Tournament and a key man in the Eagles’ run to the national championship. Johnny became the team’s standout star as a sophomore in 2012–13, and led the nation with 1.46 points per game. At the 2013 World Juniors, he helped Team USA win a gold medal with 7 goals in 7 games. Johnny was named Hockey East Player of the Year and was a first-team All-American. He was also a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.
Johnny won the Baker Award as a junior. His third college season was extra special because Matty was now wearing a BC uniform, too. Playing on a line with Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes, the young man fans now called “Johnny Hockey” amassed 80 points in 40 games, and had a 31-game scoring streak that tied a mark set in the 1990s by Paul Kariya. The same day Johnny received the Baker Award, he signed a contract with the Flames. He could have played in the NHL a year earlier, but wanted to spend a season with his brother in college. In skipping his senior season, Johnny promised his mom he would finish his degree. Johnny made his debut in Calgary’s final game, and scored a goal on his first shot.
Johnny became one of the Flames’ top players the following season. He scored 24 goals and led all NHL rookies with 40 assists. In the playoffs, Johnny scored 4 goals in 11 games as Calgary defetad the Canucks in the opening round before falling to Anaheim. Johnny was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, but lost out to Aaron Ekbald. He also got to play in the All-Star Game, replacing one of Team Toews’ injured players. At season’s end, Johnny was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team; he had been Rookie of the Month twice during the season.
Johnny didn’t miss a beat in 2015–16. He led the Flames in goals and assists, reaching the 30-goal plateau and adding 48 assists. Johhny’s 78 points ranked 6th in the NHL, and only Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars scored more points as a left wing. He was also one of 9 players to record multiple hat tricks. Johnny recorded three or more points in a game 9 times. Unfortunately, the Flames fell short of the playoffs.
A broken finger suffered early in 2016–17 cost Johnny 10 games, but did not prevent him from making his third straight All-Star Game. He finished his third NHL season with 61 points on 18 goals and 43 assists. Johnny was whistled for just two penalties during the year, which earned him the Lady Byng Trophy, which recognizes the player who best combines skill and sportsmanship. The Flames finished atop the Pacific Division, and their 45 wins were the most in the Western Conference. Calgary entered the playoffs with high hopes but the Anaheim Ducks swept them in the first round.
Johnny now holds an annual celebrity golf tournament, with proceeds going to his high school’s scholarship fund.