Yesterday the Nashville Predators announced they have signed center Tyler Gaudet to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650K at the NHL level and $105K at the AHL level. Gaudet, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, is guaranteed $135K in the AHL next season with this contract.
If you remember, the 25-year-old centerman was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes at the trade deadline on February 26th in a deal that sent Trevor Murphy and Pierre-Cedric Labrie to the desert. In 21 games for the Milwaukee Admirals since Gaudet has posted 2 goals and 4 assists. This is good for Gaudet’s career-best posting 28 points in 69 games for Milwaukee and Tuscon this season. Additionally, 20 of those 28 points were primary points - good for 89th among centers in the AHL this season.
At his best, Gaudet is a big-bodied center who slots in as an average third or fourth-line center. He plays a physical, defensively-responsible game and has excelled in the faceoff dot since turning pro. Below is what I wrote about Gaudet at the trade deadline:
Gaudet is an interesting player. He’s 24 years old, was never drafted, and has already matched his highest point total in the AHL this season. He’s a natural center but can play wing as well. This is his fourth pro season, and he seems to be turning somewhat of a corner offensively — he’s already the sixth leading scorer on the Admirals.
He’s a big frame and an excellent defensive forward. I could honestly see him turning into a productive AHLer for the Admirals this year. Of anyone acquired, he seems the likeliest to get re-signed. Something to note as well: Poile seems to be trying to balance out the Admirals forward group. There are several players playing out of their natural positions and this move helps fix that (Trenin could stand to play more on the wing). He’s definitely an upgrade over Labrie, but this move shouldn’t impact the big club much.
A productive AHLer is exactly what he’s been. Gaudet has lined-up mostly as the Admirals’ third-line center since coming to Milwaukee. For a roster that should be expecting a decent amount of turnover this coming summer, Gaudet is a solid piece to bring back and stabilize a young locker room.
As mentioned above, Gaudet produces like an average third-line center. His ice time has been bumped up since coming to Milwaukee, but there is potential for that to decrease if the lineup balances out next season.
This signing doesn’t turn many heads I’m sure, but it’s a good step towards bettering the Admirals next season. Gaudet won’t see the light of day in Nashville but AHL depth is important.