The Chicago Blackhawks re-signed Adam Gaudette, a free agent centreman, to a one-year contract worth $997,500. This contract expires after the 2021-22 season.
1 year / 1-way
* equal to what his QO would have been at the NHL level https://t.co/q4jUOLirCD
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 26, 2021
Centre Adam Gaudette Signed with Chicago Blackhawks
Over his four-year NHL career, Gaudette logged games with only the Vancouver Canucks and Blackhawks. Originally drafted in the fifth round, 149th overall of the 2015 NHL draft by Vancouver, the 24-year old collected 22 goals and 24 assists in 160 career games. Of those 56 points, all but three came at even strength. He averaged 12:12 in ice time per game with Chicago last season and averages 11:35 per game across his career. He also scored five goals and six assists over 40 contests between Chicago and Vancouver in 2020-21.
Though his offensive numbers don’t blow anyone out of the water, his two-way game keeps Gaudette afloat in the NHL. His relative corsi percentage sits in the positive across each of his four NHL seasons. He also collected 95 career hits thus far, to pair with 60 career blocked shots.
Signed on the dotted line 🖋
Forward Adam Gaudette is back for another year in Chicago. #Blackhawks
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) July 26, 2021
What This Means for the Future
Getting Adam Gaudette signed shores up Chicago’s depth up the middle of the ice. The team already sits just $5 million under the league’s salary cap, in part because Jonathan Toews aims to return from health complications. That puts $10.5 million back on the books for the next two seasons. If he returns to his form pre-injury, though, that should be money well-spent. If not, the team has to look internally to fill those shoes. Gaudette, Dylan Strome, Ryan Carpenter, Henrik Borgstrom, Kirby Dach, and others all can play centre. However, none has ever done so as a go-to first-line player.
A lot hinges on Toews and where he’s at come October for the Blackhawks at the centre position. If the $10.5 million earmarked for him winds up on long-term injured reserve, the team would more than likely look to upgrade at the centre position. However, the closer we get to October, the less likely a talented centreman is to still be available. This could put the Hawks in candidacy to make a trade for one or to promote young depth from within. The franchise is not far removed from winning three Stanley Cups in a six-season span. And with the acquisition and extension of Seth Jones at defence, they appear to be pushing for a playoff berth as soon as next season. There’s plenty of questions as to how realistic that will be, but Gaudette does provide some cheap depth to hedge against some of those questions.
VANCOUVER, BC – NOVEMBER 16: Vancouver Canucks Center Adam Gaudette (88) skates up ice during their NHL game against the Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Arena on November 16, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)