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Blackhawks acquire Adam Gaudette from Canucks for Matthew Highmore

A speedy young center is on his way to Chicago.

Chicago Blackhawks v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The Blackhawks kicked off Monday’s trade deadline activity by sending forward Matthew Highmore to the Canucks in exchange for center Adam Gaudette, according to a slew of media reports.

[UPDATE] The Blackhawks have since confirmed the trade in a tweet:

Gaudette, 24, is currently on a one-year contract worth $950,000 and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2021 season.

Gaudette was a fifth-round pick (149th overall) of the Canucks in the 2015 NHL Draft and debuted during the ‘17-18 season. His best season came in ‘19-20, when Gaudette played in 59 games while notching 12 goals and 21 assists. Gaudette went without a point in 10 postseason games, though.

His numbers dropped in 2021, with Gaudette having just seven points (4 G, 3 A) through 33 games this season while playing just 10:54 of ice time for the Canucks. Gaudette did not feature on Vancouver’s penalty kill but did average 1:06 of power play ice time per game this season. His most recent issues have had nothing to do with hockey, though, with Gaudette being affected by the COVID-19 outbreak on the Canucks:

For those in the advanced metrics crowd, Gaudette’s numbers will not offer much encouragement:

But trading away a player like Highmore who’d been a healthy scratch more often than not in exchange for a 24-year-old forward on an expiring contract who’s one season removed from a 45-point pace is a very low-risk move that could yield a slightly higher reward.

Vancouver apparently believes there’s more to be gleaned from Highmore:

If nothing else, Gaudette should be well acquainted with new teammate Connor Murphy after the two scrapped during a game last February in Vancouver:

Chicago Blackhawks v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images