The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t issue a qualifying offer to Adam Gaudette, but he won’t be hitting the free agent market on Wednesday. The team has instead signed him to a one-year contract worth $997,500, according to Scott Powers of The Athletic.
That’s the same amount as what his qualifying offer would have been, meaning Gaudette was willing to accept that amount to prove he can still be a top-nine contributor. The 24-year-old had four points in seven games with the Blackhawks after a midseason trade from the Vancouver Canucks, where his career had stagnated after some early success. In 2019-20 he scored 12 goals and 33 points in just 59 games, showing flashes of the dominance that made him a Hobey Baker Award winner at Northeastern University. But in the playoffs, he disappeared completely, recording no points at all through ten games.
When he returned to Vancouver in 2020-21, his minutes were curtailed and his performance declined, to the point of being a healthy scratch on a regular basis. He scored seven points in 33 games before the trade to Chicago, which gave him a fresh start in a different market. It started well, but Gaudette quickly became a healthy scratch in Chicago as well, leading to some wondering whether he’d be brought back at all. With this one-year deal, it might be his last chance to establish himself as an NHL regular.