The New York Islanders have put a player on waivers who could end up garnering a certain level of interest from the Montreal Canadiens.
The Islanders placed Julien Gauthier on waivers Friday, giving teams a window in which to claim him without exchanging any asset.
As it stands, the NHL’s waiver wire claim priority list is based on the standings, which means the Canadiens are behind the Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Ottawa Senators, and Minnesota Wild, and have the eighth highest waiver-wire priority in the league.
Gauthier was the 21st overall choice in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, chosen by the Carolina Hurricanes. He enjoyed a modicum of success during his six seasons in the NHL, scoring 19 goals and 22 assists in 180 games.
He’s currently producing at the highest rate of his career thanks to his five goals and four assists in 27 games, which indicates there’s still some untapped potential left in play.
The Islanders recently fired head coach Lane Lambert, replacing him with former Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy, who is never shy to put his stamp on a team.
It seems that it only took Roy a few games to establish that Julien no longer has a place in the lineup, at least for the time being.
The 6’4″ winger has the type of frame that general manager Kent Hughes tends to target, and his relatively young age means there may be added interest.
Red Flags Galore
The Canadiens have enjoyed a lot of success by monitoring the waiver wire. Both Johnathan Kovacevic and Samuel Montembeault were placed on waivers before joining the Habs. But this is a ‘buyer beware’ situation, even if there’s no cost associated with a waiver claim.
Simply put, Gauthier’s underlying numbers have collapsed this season. He tends to hover below 50 percent in most metrics, but with Gauthier on the ice this year the Islanders have only managed to control 37 percent of the shots and 35 percent of the expected goals. In otherwords, when he was playing the Islanders were outchanced and outshot regularly.
That doesn’t necessarily mean he would continue to produce terrible numbers if he were to join the Canadiens. In hockey, usage is everything.
But the mere fact that the numbers are so far below replacement should be cause for concern.
All Montreal Canadiens statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted. Via Natural Stat Trick.