NY Islanders Julien Gauthier clears waivers; loaned to Bridgeport

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders
Washington Capitals v New York Islanders / Rich Graessle/GettyImages
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Julien Gauthier's tenure with the New York Islanders organization will continue after the speedy forward cleared waivers on Saturday and was loaned to Bridgeport (AHL).

The 26-year-old hasn't registered a point in his last six games and was benched in Montreal before being a health scratch versus the Florida Panthers in the team's final game before the All-Star Break. Gauthier appeared in three of the four games coached by Patrick Roy and was a minus 2.

It's uncertain whether putting Gauthier on waivers was motivated by Casey Cizikas and Hudson Fasching being ready to return from injury when the regular season resumes or if it was strictly performance-driven. Others have also speculated that moving Gauthier off the 23-man roster was done to create more opportunity for Oliver Wahlstrom or that a prospect call-up is imminent.

Gauthier's prototype combination of size and speed has made him an intriguing player since the Carolina Hurricanes drafted him in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft. After starting his career with the Canes, he was traded to the New York Rangers, playing in a career-high 49 games during the 2021-22 season. He was traded in February last year with a seventh-round pick to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Tyler Motte.

He had three goals and two assists in 17 games with the Sens but did not receive a qualifying offer and was signed to a two-year, $1.575M deal with the Islanders in July. He had five goals and four assists for the Isles in 29 games, with the highlight being when he scored two goals in 18 seconds during a win vs. the Washington Capitals on Dec. 29.