11:06AM: Gauthier’s contract is for $775,000 at the NHL, $300,000 in the AHL and a guarantee of at least $325,000. (Puck Pedia)
10:48AM: The Rangers have announced that pending RFA Julien Gauthier has signed a one-year deal.
Gauthier, 23, is expected to be left unprotected in the Seattle expansion draft.
Gauthier was originally a first round pick of Carolina when Seattle GM Ron Francis was the GM of the Hurricanes.
He had two goals and six assists in 30 games for the Rangers this past season.
Adam Rotter: While there has been so much talk about Pavel Buchnevich and how signing him could block Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov from bigger roles, Julien Gauthier fits with that as well, albeit lower on the depth chart. Gauthier had some brief flashes that showed why he was a first-round pick, but ultimately he failed to gain David Quinn’s trust and was scratched for most of the season.
He’s got the kind of raw skills, size and speed that remind you of Chris Kreider, but he looks like he still has a ways to go to become a regular NHLer. Of course it’s also hard to become a regular NHLer if you don’t play. Depending on what happens ahead of him on the depth chart with Buchnevich, Kakko/Kravtsov and even Colin Blackwell, Gauthier could get a chance to start fresh with Gerard Gallant, but if the Rangers re-sign Buchnevich and keep Kakko, Kravtsov and Blackwell, he may end up traded for a player in a similar point in his development and career.
Could Seattle take him? Sure. He’s young, has great skill and size and could get a big opportunity to reach his potential on an expansion team, but most people still think that Seattle will take whichever of Brett Howden or Kevin Rooney is left unprotected.