Craig Gaudet didn’t play much for the Reign — just nine games total, and only three at home. It probably added up to an audition for next season for the rookie defenseman. Only time will tell if he passed.
For a player who didn’t play much to start the season with the Alaska Aces, it was also a good chance for Gaudet to get a fresh start, especially after he missed significant time with a concussion. He had only two assists and no goals in nine games with the Reign, but showed a knack for getting the puck to the net, as evidenced by his 14 shots on goal.
Here’s what he had to say after his end-of-season interview:
How do you feel about your time here?
I absolutely loved the 3 weeks I was here. I didn’t know how it would be, going from a first-place team traded to a last-place team. Talking to the coach, that was one of the things I was impressed with. No one packed it in, kept competing trying to win games like we were potentially going to get into the playoffs. I was here for nine games, six more road games, and we were 5-4 in that span. I thought everything was first-class. The players, coaches, fans – the fans were absolutely unbelievable. All things considered, I liked the way things went. I was impressed with things.
How do you feel about your individual season as a whole?
Personally it was kind of and up and down season. I was injured a lot – not too serious injuries, but enough to keep me in and out a lot. I could never get a string of games going to pay well enough, the way I wanted to play. I’m excited to have a good summer, take some time off, have some good training. I’ve learned a lot being a rookie, the way this league goes. The long, grueling schedule and everything that goes with it. It’s a matter of getting some rest, getting in shape.
Would you expect to put up better numbers being healthy for a full season?
Absolutely. If you come in strong, healthy and confident, you get into games right away and that can carry you through. It’s a lot easier to show up at the rink confident.
Did you get more playing time here than in Alaska?
My playing time was about the same, maybe a little more here. (Karl Taylor) gave me an opportunity to play a little more on the power play here. That’s something I hadn’t done all year in Alaska and I wasn’t happy the way I performed once given the opportunity this year, but it’s over. Just have a good summer and those opportunities could be there again next year. I want to be prepared to do more with them.