The St. Louis Blues announced their first, official roster move of the 2023 offseason. No offense to the player involved, but it was a yawner.
The Blues re-signed Adam Gaudette. For those that forgot, like myself, Gaudette was part of the trade that ultimately sent Ryan O’Reilly to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Gaudette was an overlooked piece because the focus was on the draft picks. The Blues sent O’Reilly and Noel Acciari to the Leafs, while the Blues got the 2023 first-round pick, 2023 third-round pick, 2024 second-round pick, Gaudette and Mikhail Abramov.
Nobody really remembers Gaudette or Abramov because nobody really expects them to be consistent NHL players. Abramov has yet to play an NHL game and Gaudette has over 200, but never more than 59 games in one NHL season.
Gaudette had zero games played in 2022-23, meaning he had zero games played with the Leafs. The only real interest the Blues should have in him is the fact he’s a center, which is a position of weakness right now.
Gaudette’s best shot at playing time is if the Blues have another rash of injuries like the ones, along with the trades, that saw the team regularly using Pavel Buchnevich at center. As fans, we want depth in the roster, but not to be forced to see that kind of depth.
I’m not trying to knock this guy. He has enough talent to be a professional hockey player and that’s nothing to thumb your nose at.
It’s just that this means very little in the grand scheme of things. I wish him the best of luck, but if the Blues need to rely on him for long stretches in 2023-24, I feel things have gone south rather quickly.
One positive for him is his career highs are 12 goals and 33 points. If you get that in fourth-line minutes, you’re definitely helping the team. Unfortunately, for a center, Gaudette’s faceoff numbers are not great.
Regardless, this is not a bank-breaker by any means. The Blues signed him to a two-way deal, meaning he gets paid a different AHL salary and NHL salary.
If the Blues have to bring him up, he will only cost $775,000 against the cap. That’s more than league minimum, but very easy to fit if you need.
For now, Gaudette seems destined for more time with the Springfield Thunderbirds. In 25 games there, he had seven goals and 17 points along with two playoff goals.
As I said, best of luck to him, but he’s 26 at the moment. By 26, you usually are what you are, so at this point, he’s probably mainly a minor league player.
We will see, but you have to figure it will need a huge preseason camp for him to start on the Blues.