With around 30 hours remaining until protected lists are due to the NHL, the Rangers have come to terms with forward Julien Gauthier on a one year deal worth $775,000. The deal marks the third of the thirteen RFAs signed since Chris Drury took over as GM of the Rangers.
The signing means the Rangers now have the option to protect two of Gauthier, Brett Howden, Kevin Rooney and Colin Blackwell. Initially there was some thought that Gauthier might be the one that Seattle chooses on the 21st in the expansion draft, given Kraken GM Ron Francis was involved in drafting him with the Hurricanes, but there has been some suggestion that Kevin Rooney might be more of a target.
Drafted 21st overall in the first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the the Carolina Hurricanes, Gauthier has appeared in 47 NHL games, including 30 last season with the Rangers. He was acquired by the Rangers from the Hurriances on February 18th, 2020 in exchange for defensive prospect Joey Keane. Gauthier recorded his first NHL goal last season, picking up 2 goals and 6 assists to go with 14 penalty minutes. As the season wore on, he increasingly became a healthy scratch by David Quinn.
If Gauthier is not taken, then he’ll get another chance to try an establish himself as an NHLer having failed to do so with Rod Brind’amour in Carolina and David Quinn here in New York. With his size and skating, as well as minor league success, he retains some intriguing capabilities if the organization and coach can figure out how to unlock them.