Canucks Paper Down Gaunce, Bachman, Reassign 4 Others



Now that we’re on the other side of the deadline, we have a glimpse at how the Canucks have begun to approach their post-deadline recalls that we talked about yesterday. Today the team announced that they had sent six players back to Utica, assuredly before 12:00 p.m. local time, and subsequently brought two back up on the other side.

Brendan Gaunce and Richard Bachman are sticking with the Canucks, while the rest of the mumps reinforcements brigade (Alex Grenier, Joe LaBate, Borna Rendulic, and Evan McEneny) appear to be heading back east to Utica.


I was pleasantly surprised to hear Jim Benning mention in his press conference today that the team had paper Brendan Gaunce down to the American League, thus making him eligible for the AHL playoffs. We discussed yesterday how they neglected to do this last season, viewing eligible players like Ben Hutton and Markus Granlund as bona fide NHLers. While Brendan Gaunce has proven this season that he can, at the very least, drive play in the NHL (even if the production isn’t there yet), it’s good to know that they’re also sticking with their mantra that playoff experience (even AHL playoff experience) is extremely valuable.

Gaunce has spent the vast majority of the season in the NHL, aside from a one week vacation in Utica, and I expect they’ll want to keep him up the rest of the year. On that logic, I would assume that his recall was of the standard variety, rather than an emergency recall in place of an injured of ill player. That would mean that the Canucks are down to three post-deadline recalls.

As for Richard Bachman, he’s likely here just to ride the pine while Jacob Markstrom recovers from his mysterious Skills Competition-related injury. However, even though the team is no longer able to trade Ryan Miller, it would still behoove them to rest him now and again if they want to stay competitive in games down the stretch. Bachman may be a third-string goalie, but he’s faced NHL shots before and held his own.

I haven’t seen confirmation of this, but I would expect that Bachman is back up with the Canucks on an emergency recall, taking the place of Jacob Markstrom, so as not to waste one of the their three remaining post-deadline standard recalls.

Down to the Farm

Each of the other four players – Alex Grenier, Joe LaBate, Borna Rendulic, and Evan McEneny – saw NHL action in their limited time in Vancouver, with Grenier and LaBate playing a pair of games, and Rendulic and McEneny each playing one, with McEneny’s being his NHL debut.

None of the four players managed a point with the big club, who only scored three goals in the two games (two of which came from the Sedin line). Alex Grenier put one shot on net (with four shots total) and a +10 Corsi differential (+15/-5, 75%). At 25, Grenier is running out of chances to prove that he can play on an NHL roster, though he may get another chance or two down the stretch this season.

Joe LaBate had no shots on net in this last stint, and in fact is still looking for his first official NHL shot on goal. LaBate’s line struggled against the Red Wings, and he carried a -5 Corsi differential during his time here (+12/-17, 41%) while averaging a little under 9 minutes of ice time. LaBate was also credited with 3 hits, only it appeared to be a hell of a lot more than that. The 23-year old looked on the verge of becoming a fan favourite in Vancouver, indiscriminately throwing his weight around against grinders and stars alike, nearly goading the Wookie Brent Burns into a fight (and actually fighting Brendan Dillon shortly after).

Borna Rendulic, who made his Canucks debut yesterday, had on shot on net and a +8 Corsi differential (+9/-1, 90%) in just 4:50 of ice time. I’ve mentioned before that Rendulic appeared to be in the same position as Michael Chaput and Jayson Megna when they all signed with the Canucks in the off-season, but Megna and Chaput have been NHL regulars while Rendulic has struggled to produce in the AHL. That is until recently – Rendulic has five goals in his past nine games as a Comet.

Evan McEneny, who made his NHL debut on Saturday against the Sharks, had one shot on net at a -1 Corsi differential (+10/-11, 48%) in 15 minutes of ice time. Unfortunately for McEneny, his most memorable moment was probably the bad change that led to the first San Jose goal, though it’s hard to fault McEneny there – he wasn’t the one that turned the puck over. Outside of that play, I thought McEneny played a solid, understated game. The broadcast remarked several times about the clean breakouts that the entire team was having that game – I’d wager that McEneny was playing a role though, as hard, accurate, and intelligently placed breakout passes are his forte. Hopefully he’ll get another shot with the Canucks soon.



The Goldobin Situation

It’s old news by now that the Canucks acquired scoring winger Nikolay Goldobin from the San Jose Sharks last night in exchange for Jannik Hansen. The team initially announced that Goldobin would be joining the Canucks right away. There appears to be a small visa snag at this point, and so Goldobin remains on the AHL roster instead.




This is another win for the Comets, as Goldobin, who leads all Comets in AHL points this season, is now eligible to return to Utica for the playoffs (assuming they make it in).

The Remaining Roster

There has been plenty of movement today on the team roster, with the waiver claim of Joseph Cramarossa and the four players reassigned to the minors. That puts the Canucks at 11 healthy forwards and seven healthy defenceman according to CapFriendly, but we’re expecting Chris Tanev, Michael Chaput and Sven Baertschi to return to action soon (all three are traveling with the team to California), and Goldobin to join the team soon.




If some combination of the forwards are not ready to go, and the Canucks are stuck with 11 forwards tomorrow, it’s likely that they’ll bring back one of the three forwards they just dispatched on an emergency recall.

  • krutov

    utica might have an interesting playoff if they have gaunce and goldobin joining them.

    i’m not sure if the canucks “neglected” to paper hutton and granlund last year. didn’t they say they decided not to do it?

  • wojohowitz

    Maybe it is against the rules but I expected the Canucks to at least paper down Chaput, Skille and Megna and let those players help the Comets win the Calder Cup. They don`t have a future with the Canucks so why are they still here.

    • krutov

      pretty sure all three would need to clear real waivers. bachman is on an emergency call up and gaunce is waiver exempt. hence they can be paper waived to be on the ahl roster on the deadline and called up again immediately.

  • Killer Marmot

    What with injuries, mumps, trade deals, and the chaos created by all of these on the roster, someone should send Benning a box of chocolates for his efforts.