The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired Adam Gaudette from the Vancouver Canucks sending Matthew Highmore the other way. Of note, Gaudette is now out of the COVID Protocol and can travel to Chicago to join the Blackhawks.
It’s a swap of depth forwards, but the Blackhawks have certainly added the one with the higher offensive ceiling. Gaudette, a former Hobey Baker Award winner, had 33 points in 59 games last season with the Canucks and has a history of scoring at every level. His numbers dropped this year–just seven points in 33 games–but there’s always a chance that Gaudette finds his game in Chicago.
Highmore meanwhile comes to Vancouver as a fourth-line option, but importantly he is signed for next season at just $725K. Gaudette is in need of a new contract as a restricted free agent and will be eligible for arbitration, a process that the Canucks may not really be able to afford. With Highmore’s deal, the 25-year-old forward provides depth for little more than the NHL minimum.
Still, even at that bargain-basement price, it’s hard to see how Highmore can really become an impact player for Vancouver. He has just four goals and 10 points through his 73-game NHL career and has rarely shown the ability to create chances for himself or his linemates. An undrafted forward out of the QMJHL, he’s done well to even make it to this level.