I think we can find better players out there than Gauthier. If he's bought out, sure, he'll probably be cheap. Cheap and desperate to prove himself. But still, there's a bottom line reason as to why he got McGillisized last year and bought out. And that's because he can't keep up with the pace of the modern NHL. There are going to be other fringe #7 defensemen available on the UFA market who can keep up. We can do better than him. (And better than Brisebois too).
He has been put on unconditional waivers and I believe as per the article that he was bought out by the Flyers.
Presume we do not resign Brisebois and waive Dandenault, would you like Gauthier as our #7, possibly higher if he proves his worth during the year?
I think he would be a good presence on our blueline in case of injury/replacement. Not the most offensive skills, but decent defensive skill and brings more toughness to our blueline.
We should not forget that he would have played in the NHL last season if his salary wasn't so high... and, at his age, he's still able to play in the NHL. He's one of the hardest hitter in the league and he can also drop the gloves from time to times... something that we missed last season and in the playoffs (Komisarek and Bouillon played injured).
On the other hand, Brisebois is very useful in another way since he's one of the few defenseman of the team who can contribute offensively. He's also a veteran, with leadership abilities and a lot of experience (more than Gauthier). Plus, with the probably loss of Streit on defense, someone will have to step up and replace him... something that Brisebois could accomplish partially.
However, we already have 7 dmans if we keep Brisebois (and lose Streit). I guess we could go with 8 dmans for this season, just like 2 years ago... BTW, there are not many forwards from Hamilton who are ready to graduate to the NHL; there's maybe Chipchura... and one of Stewart/D'agostini... and there will be a few spots left for these 2 players since there are good chances Smoke doesn't come back and Ryder is gone too.