Montreal Canadiens: Jack Gorniak Showing Promise In Third NCAA Season

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: Jack Gorniak of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: Jack Gorniak of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield gets a lot of attention as a potential impact player at the NHL level in the future. He recently played a top six role on the USA World Junior gold medal winning team.

Caufield is back at Wisconsin, playing college hockey for the Badgers, but he isn’t the only potential future Habs player skating in Wisconsin this season.

Jack Gorniak was a 4th round pick of the Canadiens back in 2018. He was playing high school hockey before being taken by the Habs in the NHL Draft, so he put up impressive looking numbers with 88 points in 45 games.

However, he hadn’t suited up for the U.S. Development Program or played at any major tournaments like the World Under-17 or Under-18’s so he was pretty raw heading to college as a freshman for the 2018-19 season, especially in a tough conference like the Big Ten.

Playing a depth role for a good team, Gorniak put up solid numbers with four goals and 15 points in 37 games. The 5’11” and 187 pound left winger would follow that first season up with just two goals and seven points in 28 games last season. The Badgers had an impressive recruiting class that season, headlined by Caufield, Alex Turcotte and Dylan Holloway, which would have pushed the “other Habs prospect” him down the lineup.

Heading into this season, Gorniak would have been described as an energy winger who battles hard and can kill penalties. However, it has been evident from the Badgers first game that Gorniak’s skating has reached a new level and though he is still a tough as nails winger and difficult to play against, he is finding another level of offence as well.

After dropping to just seven points in 28 games last season, Gorniak has long since passed those marks as a Junior. He scored his fourth of the season last night and now has nine points in 13 games.

Gorniak was always thought to be a long term prospect since the day he was selected. Players coming straight out of high school hockey usually don’t adapt as quickly to the college pace as those who have played in the USHL or especially those who play for the U.S. Development Program like Caufield.

After a bit of a step back in his second year, Gorniak is showing he can still play a reliable defensive  style with a bit of edge, but there is also more offence to his game than we previously realized.

Habs physical D has opponents whining. dark. Next

Much like Jake Evans, Gorniak is going to play all four years of his college eligibility and will need some seasoning at the AHL level after that. However, he just might turn into a reliable, smart, nasty fourth line winger for the Canadiens in the future.