The Hawks made a small but favorable trade to start off NHL trade deadline day.
The Blackhawks swapped fourth-line forwards with the Canucks on Monday, acquiring Adam Gaudette in exchange for Matthew Highmore.
It’s the third trade Hawks general manager Stan Bowman has made in the lead-up to the NHL trade deadline at 2 p.m. CT Monday.
Neither player is a star, but the Hawks seem to come out favorably from the one-for-one swap.
Gaudette, 24, scored a sizable 33 points in 59 games for the Canucks last season. Although he was held pointless in 10 postseason games and has recorded only seven points in 33 games this season, he’s shown the potential to contribute significantly offensively in his career.
“I saw him a lot last year when we played them,” coach Jeremy Colliton said Monday. “He’s big and skilled. He scored and made some plays against us. [He’s] still a young player. We’ll get him here and go from there.”
Gaudette hasn’t played since March 24 because he was part of the Canucks’ rampant COVID-19 outbreak, so his timeline to join the Hawks is uncertain.
Highmore, at 25, is a year older and has scored just 10 total points in 73 NHL appearances across several seasons. He had only two points in 24 games and had been a healthy scratch for the Hawks more often than not over the past month.
“One thing you appreciate about Highmore is his work ethic and attention to detail,” Colliton said. “It’s hard to find a bigger team guy with his willingness to do the right thing for the team at all times…. Hopefully he can use this to get a little boost and new opportunity.”
The Canucks likely made the trade with contract situations in mind: Highmore has another year left after this season on his contract, while Gaudette is a pending restricted free agent with arbitration eligibility.
But Bowman will likely be pleased how easily he was able to upgrade the Hawks’ bottom-six forwards.
He may well not be done for the day, though, with Mattias Janmark, Carl Soderberg, David Kampf and Nikita Zadorov’s names all also regularly appearing in trade discussions.