Gaudet 'excited' to be a Rebel
Considering where he came from, Brady Gaudet appeared to be genuinely happy to be in Red Deer.
“This is a pretty well known organization that is nicely run and pretty professional and I’m more than excited to be here,” said Gaudet, the newest member of the Red Deer Rebels who was acquired by GM Brent Sutter from the Kamloops Blazers on Sunday in return for a third-round WHL bantam draft pick in 2013.
The Blazers are the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League with a stunning 12-0-0-1 record, while the Rebels are one game beneath the break-even point with a 6-7-1-1 slate. Regardless, Gaudet was wearing a wide grin when speaking to the Red Deer media on Monday.
“I talked to my brother Craig about the trade and he said that I should feel honoured when a guy like Brent Sutter wants me in his organization,” added the product of Redvers, Sask., who will be in the Rebels lineup for tonight’s 7 p.m. meeting with the visiting Regina Pats.
“That’s pretty cool and something to be honoured about. I’m going to show him (Sutter) that he made the right choice.”
Sutter snagged the 18-year-old defenceman for his puck moving skills and experience. This is Gaudet’s third season in the league after being selected by the Blazers in the first round — 10th overall — of the 2009 bantam draft.
“When I was 15 I was drafted as an offensive defenceman,” said Gaudet. “Your game changes as you play in the Western League, you don’t play like you did in bantam or midget. I’ve grown a bit since then, got a little bigger and it’s nice to play a bit physical. I’m more or less an all-around guy. I’m not known for just one thing, although that is my strength — my offensive abilities. If I can bring that and everything else here that would be great.”
Gaudet, at five-foot-11 and 190 pounds, recorded five assists in 12 games with the Blazers this season along with 21 minutes in penalties and a plus-7 ranking in the plus/minus category. He had 13 points (6-7) in his rookie season of 2010-11 and garnered 16 points — including a single goal — last winter.
Now he’s with a new club, although he played with Brandon Underwood in Kamloops two seasons ago and he’s looking forward to having Rebels star rearguard Mathew Dumba as a teammate.
“Woody and I played together. He’s a great guy, a great team guy and a great guy to have back there,” said Gaudet. “And obviously Dumba is a phenomenal player. Just watching him play the other day (during a Blazers’ 4-0 win at the Centrium one week ago) I was thinking I can take some tips from this guy. And now I’m going to be playing on the same back end so maybe I can learn something from him. It’s pretty cool. It will be a good time.”
Gaudet learned of the trade when the Blazers arrived back in Kamloops early Sunday following a trip-ending contest at Cranbrook the previous evening. He did, however, have a hunch that something was brewing when he was a healthy scratch for the game.
“I wondered what was going on when I didn’t play. When we rolled into Kamloops at five in the morning I was pulled into the office and was told what had happened,” he said.
“It was going to be announced at 9 a.m. I had to get home and get some rest and then make the necessary phone calls. I talked to Brent after that. We had a good chat and he told me he wanted me in Red Deer and I was happy and excited about that.”
At the same time, it was difficult to leave Kamloops, although hardly life-altering.
“It’s like anything, it’s like leaving your family in August,” said Gaudet. “You adapt to it, you adjust. It’s not easy but that’s part of it, that’s part of the Western Hockey League. You have to be prepared to move at some point or another. These are just pit stops in our lives.”
Gaudet, who left Kamloops at 3 p.m. on Sunday and stayed overnight in Banff due to icy roads, comes from an athletic family that includes brother Craig, 27, and sister Shanley, 24.
Craig Gaudet played junior A hockey with the Nanaimo Clippers and attended St. Cloud State on a U.S. college scholarship. He’s also played two seasons of minor pro hockey.
“He’s a role model for me. I talk to him about everything,” said Brady. “The second this went down I hit up Craig right away. We had a chat and kept everything on an even keel.”
Shanley Gaudet was a competitive figure skater who competed at the national level. She’s currently a college student in Minot. N.D., after attending the University of Saskatchewan for several years.
“Now that I’m in Red Deer I’m closer to my family than I was in Kamloops,” said Brady. “That’s something neat, that maybe I’ll get to see my family more. My family is quite close and that’s something I treasure.”
• Sutter made another deal Monday morning, trading forward Chad Robinson to the Brandon Wheat Kings in return for a conditional seventh-round bantam draft pick in 2014.
The 19-year-old returned to his home in Minnedosa, Man., last week to await a trade. Robinson scored 11 goals and recorded 44 points in 129 games with the Rebels since joining the club in 2010.