Canucks ship Gaudette to Chicago, get centre Highmore in return
Published Monday, April 12, 2021 10:19AM PDT Last Updated Monday, April 12, 2021 11:22AM PDT
TORONTO -- The Canucks were the first Canadian team to make waves on a slow NHL trade deadline day, shipping forward Adam Gaudette to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Vancouver received forward Matthew Highmore in return - just the second deal announced Monday after the Boston Bruins acquired former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall from the last-place Buffalo Sabres.
The Bruins also added winger Curtis Lazar in exchange for forward Anders Bjork and a second-round pick in the 2021 draft as part of a swap that sees the Sabres retain half of the remainder of Hall's one-year, US$8 million salary.
Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers got in on the action later in the day, acquiring defenceman Dmitry Kulikov from the New Jersey Devils for a conditional 2022 fourth-round pick.
General managers across the league have until 3 p.m. ET to make deals as they look to load up for the playoffs or rebuild for the future.
Any player acquired by a Canadian franchise from a U.S.-based club will have to quarantine for seven days before joining their new teammates.
A fifth-round selection by the Canucks in 2015, Gaudette had four goals and three assists in 33 games with Vancouver this season. In 153 NHL appearances, the 24-year-old from Braintree, Mass., has 21 goals and 31 assists to go along with zero points in 10 playoff contests.
Gaudette tested positive for COVID-19 on March 30, the first case in an outbreak that would eventually rip through the team. In all, 26 people - 22 players and four members of the coaching staff - have tested positive, with one additional player being deemed a close contact.
Gaudette was the first member of the Canucks removed for the league's COVID protocol list Sunday, but teammate Jay Beagle was added. Vancouver, which currently sits sixth in the North Division, well back of the fourth and final playoff spot, hasn't played since the outbreak.
Canucks GM Jim Benning said last week putting players through the stress of a trade after what they've been through recently wouldn't be ideal from “the human side of things.”
“They've dealt with a lot,” he said at the time. “I just don't think it's the right thing to do at this point in time.”
Highmore, 25, had two assists in 24 games with Chicago this season. In 73 NHL outings, the undrafted Halifax product has four goals and 10 points. He's added three goals and an assist in nine playoff contests.
Kulikov had two assists in 38 games with the Devils this season. In 715 contests with the Florida Panthers, Sabres, Winnipeg Jets and Devils, the 14th pick in the 2009 draft has 35 goals and 172 points. He's added a goal and six assists in 24 playoff outings.
The 30-year-old pending unrestricted free agent should provide blue-line depth to a group in Edmonton, which currently sits third in the North, that's been without defenceman Oskar Klefblom (shoulder) all season. If the Oilers advance to the second round of the playoffs this spring, the fourth-round pick heading to New Jersey in the trade becomes a third.
Hall, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, has two goals and 17 assists for 19 points in 37 games, and is in the midst of a 16-game goal drought as he heads to Boston.
The Bruins are fourth in the East Division, four points ahead of the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers in the race for a playoff spot.
The NHL's pandemic-shortened 56-game season has presented a number of unique challenges, including a flat salary cap and quarantine periods.
A number of players have already been moved as contenders looking to make a push, but some, including St. Louis Blues forward and pending UFA Mike Hoffman, remain available.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, who lead the North, made moves Sunday by adding veteran forward Nick Foligno from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a three-team deal, and acquiring David Rittich from the Calgary Flames with an eye towards the team's goalie depth.
The Jets, Oilers and Montreal Canadiens currently occupy the division's other three playoff spots.
Late Sunday night, the Los Angeles Kings traded forward Jeff Carter to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a pair of conditional draft picks.
Kings GM Rob Blake recieved a conditional 2022 third-round selection and a conditional fourth-round selection in 2023 in the deal. Pittsburgh GM Ron Hextall spent seven seasons with the Los Angeles as assistant GM, including when they won their first Stanley Cup in 2012.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.