When the Ottawa Senators hired Pierre Gauthier away from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to be their general manager on Dec. 11, 1995, their struggling expansion NHL franchise received an instant shot of major-league credibility. Gauthier swiftly resolved an ongoing contract dispute with star centre Alexei Yashin, and made key moves to improve the club, including a three-way deal that brought Damian Rhodes to Ottawa, shoring up its thin goaltending. He brought in veteran NHL coach Jacques Martin and revamped the scouting department, hiring Marshall Johnston as director of player personnel and Andre Savard as chief scout. Under Gauthier's tenure the Senators qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 1996-97.
A long-time scout for the Quebec Nordiques, Gauthier, a Montreal native, counts talent evaluation as one of his many strengths. It was Gauthier, as head scout for the Nordiques, who was responsible for the strong draft selections made by the Nordiques in the late 1980s. Under Gauthier's tenure, Quebec (now Colorado) drafted the likes of Joe Sakic, Curtis Leschyshyn, Stephane Fiset, Valeri Kamensky, Mats Sundin, Adam Foote, Owen Nolan, Eric Lindros, Jocelyn Thibault and Adam Deadmarsh. That nucleus of players -- some of whom were traded to further deepen the franchise's already rich talent pool, formed the core of Colorado's Stanley Cup champion team in 1995-96.
With the Mighty Ducks, Gauthier assisted vice-president and GM Jack Ferreira in contract negotiation,
player evaluation and farm-team supervision.