It wasn’t so long ago that Adam Gaudette was a top prospect, leaving Northeastern University with the Hobey Baker and a ton of NHL momentum. In his second season, he scored 12 goals and 33 points in 59 games, suggesting that he could be a reliable top-six contributor down the road.
Now, just a few years later, he won’t be receiving a qualifying offer from the Ottawa Senators, making him an unrestricted free agent again at age 25. Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia reports that the Senators have already told Gaudette of their plan to leave him unqualified.
This is nothing new for the young forward. He failed to receive a qualifying offer last year either, though eventually agreed to a new contract with the Chicago Blackhawks for the same amount anyway. The team then put him on waivers in November, leading him to Ottawa, where he played 50 games in the second half of the year.
It doesn’t appear as though a contract is coming from the Senators this time, meaning Gaudette will have to find a new NHL home. With just 25 points since the start of the 2020-21 season (across 98 games and three teams), it’s unclear what exactly he can bring to the table at this point.
For Ottawa, who have plenty of young talents pushing for looks in camp and a tight budget, the risk of salary arbitration was likely too much. Though he hasn’t done much recently, that 33-point season would still likely mean a contract above $1MM through the arbitration process, while his play can be replaced by another candidate for the Senators.