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Arizona Coyotes sign, and waive, center Frédérik Gauthier

Gauthier had been on a PTO and has agreed to a one-year deal.

NHL: JAN 08 Coyotes Training Camp Scrimmage Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Arizona Coyotes have signed center Frédérik Gauthier to a one-year contract, but have already placed him on waivers.

Gauthier, who was a first-round selection of the Toronto Maple Leafs back in 2013, was on a professional try-out with the Coyotes and appears to have signed a deal with the team.

The ever-reliable Craig Morgan was the first to report Gauthier’s signing with the team, with the former Leaf appearing on a list of nine players placed on waivers by the team earlier in the day.

The decision to sign, and subsequently waive, Gauthier may be something of a surprise to some, and it is equally unclear of where his future within the organization currently lies, as he could find himself assigned to either the Tucson Roadrunners or the Coyotes’ taxi squad if he clears waivers.

Gauthier has taken a few years to become something of a regular NHL player, featuring in 168 regular-season games across his five-year career, with 131 of those appearances coming across the past two seasons.

He has held a role on the bottom forward line for the Leafs, averaging just 9:09 while on the ice with 13 goals and 31 total points across his career, with a single-season high of seven in 2019/20.

The Laval, Quebec native has been utilized heavily in the defensive third, with only 29.2% of his starts coming in the opposition zone, which would seem to suit what the Coyotes have traditionally been very strong at over the past few seasons.

However, Gauthier is not the best skater and does not use his large (6-foot-5, 235lbs) frame to his advantage, with just over one hit per game last season, something that head coach Rick Tocchet, with the help of general manager Bill Armstrong, has looked for more of this off-season.

If the 25-year-old hopes to feature on the NHL roster this season, he will need to figure out how to play a more physical style to put himself into stronger consideration from Tocchet.

Financial terms of the contract have not been announced, as per the team’s policy, but it is reported that his deal sits at $700,000 in the NHL, while his salary in the AHL, or the taxi squad, would be $150,000.