The Vancouver Canucks announced this afternoon that they’d recalled forward Brendan Gaunce from his conditioning stint with the Utica Comets.
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) November 6, 2017
As mentioned in the press release, Gaunce had been with Utica on a conditioning stint that saw him play five games, where he posted two goals and one assist.
Gaunce played in a top six role throughout the entire assignment as he got back up to speed after recovering from shoulder surgery for an injury that occurred last season. He had primarily played on the left wing until Saturday’s Comets game, where he played centre between Darren Archibald and Nikolay Goldobin.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) October 29, 2017
It will be interesting to see how the Canucks insert Gaunce into their lineup going forward, but the most logical spot would be the fourth line centre spot between Sam Gagner and Thomas Vanek.
They won’t be breaking up the Sven Baertschi, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser line anytime soon, and the same argument can be made about the shutdown line of Derek Dorsett, Brandon Sutter, and Markus Granlund. Gaunce wouldn’t be a good fit with the Sedin’s, so that makes the fourth line the logical option. Alexander Burmistrov hasn’t been bad, but he is the logical one to come out of the lineup if Canucks head coach Travis Green chooses to make a lineup change.
Gaunce was primarily used as a winger last year with the Canucks, but head coach Green is very familiar with Gaunce and used him as the Comets top centre throughout the entire 2015-16 season.
Obviously, Gaunce struggled to put up points last year with the Canucks, with just five assists in 57 games to show for his season, but posted decent underlying numbers. If Gaunce is given a chance with some more offensive minded players, like Vanek and Gagner, then he could pot a couple more points. It will be something to follow for the next few weeks as I’m sure that Gaunce wants to help at both ends of the rink.