The Chicago Blackhawks aren’t going to wait for the Vegas Golden Knights to snap up all the undrafted talent. Today they inked Matthew Highmore to a three-year, entry-level contract. The undrafted forward is playing for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL.
Highmore is a 21-year old left winger who wasn’t selected in the 2014 draft despite a promising sophomore campaign in the CHL. It looked like front offices were right though when he struggled in 2014-15, scoring just 24 points in 62 games. He’s slowly brought himself back into the spotlight in the scoring-heavy QMJHL though, with a solid season last year and 82 points in 58 games this year. While overagers are expected to put up high point totals, Highmore has stood out alongside other top prospects on Saint John.
It’s worth mentioning Vegas after they were given official standing in the NHL yesterday as they are now allowed to negotiate with unsigned players outside of the NHL. Highmore and other undrafted players in the CHL, NCAA and other leagues will likely make up the majority of the Golden Knights’ minor league system for the first few years as they try to build it up through the draft. Remember, they only get to choose 30 players in the expansion draft, and most won’t be players that should be in the minors.
We’ll likely see several deals like this over the next few weeks, as teams bring in any talent they deem valuable. It’s worth noting that Highmore was playing with Blackhawks’ fourth-round selection from this year Nathan Noel, who has 43 points in 45 games.