Gaudette, 25, hasn’t played in a few weeks, last suiting up for the Blackhawks on November 9. He played just over five minutes in that game and then has been made a healthy scratch several times by interim head coach Derek King.
Now, with Tyler Johnson nearing a return to action, the team needed to clear a roster spot and it’s Gaudette that will be risked to the rest of the league. It’s an interesting decision for the Blackhawks, who have several waiver-exempt players they could have sent down instead–namely Reese Johnson and Mike Hardman–but they’ve obviously decided that Gaudette is the one that should go.
There’s certainly a chance he could be claimed, though a cap hit just barely under $1MM should make some cap-strapped teams hesitate. Gaudette hasn’t been anywhere near the player he was during the 2019-20 season, when he recorded 12 goals and 33 points in 59 games. Since then, he has just 13 points in 48 games, split between the Vancouver Canucks and Blackhawks.
A Hobey Baker winner, there’s obvious offensive upside in Gaudette, but his overall play hasn’t been good enough to secure a regular spot in Chicago’s top-six. If he clears, he will likely be sent back to the minor leagues.