August 28 2012 08:42AM
The Canucks were extremely happy that two-way center Brendan Gaunce slipped all the way to pick 26 at the NHL Draft back in late June. Gaunce has spent the last two seasons in the OHL with the Belleville Bulls, developing into one of the best playmakers in the league.
The 18-year-old forward has been training over the past few years with Gary Roberts in the summers, learning from the likes of Steven Stamkos, Jeff Skinner, Cody Hodgson (hopefully they don’t talk about off-ice issues), and Cameron Gaunce, his older brother and a member of the Colorado Avalanche organization.
Gaunce scored 28 goals and added 40 assists in 2011-12 for the Bulls, nearly doubling the 36 points he put up as a rookie in 2010-11.
August 27 2012 11:08AM
Jordan Schroeder has been closely scruntized from the day he arrived at the University of Minnesota, and from day one, he’s consistently impressed. A player who can do it all, only his size has ever been a concern. Nonetheless, after a solid second professional season, Schroeder seems poised to make the next step.
With the departure of Cody Hodgson and Ryan Kesler's hip injury likely to keep him out of the lineup until early 2013, Schroeder's chance to step up has never looked better. The young Minnesotan has consistently drawn praise for his work ethic and attitude, and each season has proven to be more polished than the season before. He's made the transition from college to pro hockey, but the step from the AHL to the NHL is the toughest step out there. Schroeder looks likely to get a long look this season, whenever that might be.
August 27 2012 10:28AM
Some good news on a Monday morning...
Eddie Läck, everybody's favourite Swedish depth goaltender, was rumoured to be on the way out of North America next season despite an overwhelming deficit of evidence to support the claim.
Today, the Province Twitter account alerted us that the Vancouver Canucks organization has re-signed Läck:
— Province Sports (@provincesports) August 27, 2012
#Canucks have re-signed goaltender Eddie Lack. The AHL Wolves goalie was originally signed by Vancouver as a free agent on April 6, 2010.
August 26 2012 10:53AM
Byron Bitz was signed in the summer of 2011 to supply the Canucks with size and toughness. He missed the entire 2010-11 season dealing with hip and groin issues, and the problem lingered on throughout training camp and into the beginning of the 2011-12 regular season.
He finally made his debut with in February of 2012. Bitz went on to record four points in 10 games with the Canucks, including three over a two game stretch in early February. For that brief period, head coach Alain Vigneault played a hunch by sticking Bitz on the top line with Daniel and Henrik.
Bitz rewarded his coach with a breakout performance against the Predators on February 7th. Although his time on the first line was short lived, Bitz provided some excitement in a largely disappointing season for the Canucks (it sure feels strange writing that about a first place* club).
August 24 2012 10:16AM
Vancouver's hockey fans are very familiar with Kevin Connauton. After his outrageously productive year year playing WHL hockey for the Giants - when Connauton's "home ice" was located at the Pacific Colliseum he scored 24 goals from the blueline - fans know all about his offensive abilities. Since then, he’s spent two years in the AHL honing his defensive game, and by all accounts he took a major step forward in that area of his game last season.