There’s been a lot of speculation around town concerning which Canucks forward would take a game or two in the press box to accommodate the return of Brendan Gaunce to the lineup.
The usual suspects in this conversation include Alexander Burmistrov, Jake Virtanen and Sam Gagner. There are some who have rightly suggested Brandon Sutter should be in consideration too, but nobody actually expects him to sit.
Canucks recall Brendan Gaunce from Conditioning Stint with Utica https://t.co/3MkwYaXd1J
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) November 6, 2017
Gaunce joined the Canucks on Monday, so the decision was bound to come sooner than later. And today, with word that Markus Granlund didn’t join the team for their trip to Calgary to take on the Flames, we have some clarity. Gaunce will make his 2017-18 season debut tonight against the Flames in place of Granlund.
Brendan Gaunce: Line Change: Gaunce draws into the lineup on Tuesday. | https://t.co/LLYUO61XsA
— Daily Faceoff (@DailyFaceoff) November 7, 2017
As for Granlund, Sportsnet’s Brendan Batchelor spoke to Green, who confirmed that Granlund had sustained a lower-body injury in last night’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings and that he is day-to-day. The expectation is that Granlund will join the Canucks in time for the California portion of their road trip.
Markus Granlund sustained an upper body injury during last night's game and is not with the team in Calgary. Gaunce will play tonight. #Canucks
— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) November 7, 2017
In response to the Granlund injury, the Canucks recalled Reid Boucher from the Utica Comets.
Last season was Gaunce’s first with the Canucks in a full-time role. In 57 games, Gaunce was goalless but added five assists and looked great by most underlying shot and goal-based metrics. His defensive game is already at an NHL level. The hope is that the offence will catch up a bit this season.
In five games with the Utica Comets during his conditioning stint, Gaunce had three points (two goals and one assist). I’d expect that Gaunce will play in Granlund’s spot on the Canucks’ checking line alongside Brandon Sutter and Derek Dorsett.