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Cougars trade Gauthier to Portland for defenseman Jonas Brondberg

Keith Dwiggins photo

The Prince George Cougars have acquired 2001-born defenseman Jonas Brøndberg, a third-round pick in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft and two conditional fifth-round selections from the Portland Winterhawks, in exchange for 2001-born goaltender Taylor Gauthier.

“Jonas is the type of player we wanted to add to our blueline,” said Cougars’ General Manager and Head Coach Mark Lamb. “He’s an experienced, veteran leader who has great size and poise. We see him being a great complement to our young core of defencemen.”

Brøndberg, 20, is in his third season in the WHL and has five points (0g-5a) in 20 games to go along with 16 penalty minutes. The 6’4,” 195-pound defenseman split last season between the Winterhawks and Danish Ice Hockey League. Prior to the start of the 2020-21 WHL season, the rearguard played in 18 games with his hometown Aalborg Pirates and picked up seven points (0g-7a). He then suited up for the Winterhawks and collected six points (0g-6a) in 20 games. In his three seasons in the WHL, Brøndberg has amassed 33 points (9g-24a) in 90 career regular season games. The product of Aalborg, DEN was selected by the Winterhawks in the second round, 100th overall, in the 2019 CHL Import Draft.

Brøndberg also has a lengthy international resume, which includes representing Denmark at the World Under 20 and World Under 18 Division 1, Group A Championships. He has won two bronze medals with Denmark at the World Under 18 level.

Gauthier, 20, played in 166 career regular season games over five seasons with the Cougars. He leaves Prince George ranked third all-time in games played by a goaltender in franchise history. This season, the Calgary, AB product has played in 14 games and owns a 7-5-0-0 record, to go along with a 2.75 goals-against average (GAA), and .923 save percentage (SV%). During the 2020-21 B.C. Division Hub season, Gauthier played in 15 games, winning seven and sported a 2.74 GAA and .915 SV%. He also had one shutout. Over his five seasons in Prince George, Gauthier had a 53-87-8-8 record, a 3.19 GAA, and .906 SV%. He also had six career shutouts. Gauthier was selected 10th overall in the 2016 WHL Prospects Draft.

“Taylor has been the face of this team for the last several years and it’s tough to trade a player and person of his quality,” said Cougars’ General Manager Mark Lamb. “He loved playing here and was a fan favourite for that reason. He was a leader off the ice as he was someone his teammates looked up to. He was a pleasure to coach, and we wish him all the best in his next phase of his career with the Winterhawks.”

The Cougars return to action tomorrow, Dec. 28, when they open a midweek doubleheader against the Everett Silvertips at the CN Centre.

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