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Photo Credit: © Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Canucks assign F Adam Gaudette and D Olli Juolevi to Utica; will place Brendan Gaunce on waivers

With one pre-season game remaining, the Canucks have further reduced their training camp roster with three more cuts today:

Adam Gaudette came into camp with a chance to secure a spot and although he played well in the pre-season, he didn’t play well enough to force himself onto the roster and thus finds his way to Utica. In the long term, this may the best move for the pivot as he heads down to the AHL and can be an offensive catalyst for the Comets. It won’t be surprising to see Gaudette back up with the Canucks at some point this year.

The same thinking applied to Olli Juolevi.

He had good stretches of play during the pre-season but also had some bad reads. He will head down to the farm and look to get back up to speed after recovering from surgery this past summer.

Brendan Gaunce will be placed on waivers tomorrow and if he clears, will be assigned to the AHL. Gaunce always appeared to be the odd man out on this roster and it felt inevitable that he would find his way down to the farm. With the inability to generate any offence and a lack of food speed, Gaunce was passed by players like Brendan Leipsic and Tyler Motte on the depth chart.

He should get a good chance down in Utica to earn his way back when the injuries inevitably hit in Vancouver.

The Utica Comets play a pre-season match against Binghamton tomorrow night and it’s unlikely that Juolevi or Gaudette dress in that contest.

The Canucks have 29 players left at training camp, including the injured Evan McEneny, Antoine Roussel and Wacey Hamilton.

  • Mbossy22

    SIgh. Long-term, this should be fine for Juolevi but man I was hoping that he’d make the lineup. Sucks that he’s the only one out of the top 12 picks from 2016 to not have played one NHL game yet.

    • TD

      The play of Jesse Puljujarvi the other night showed how the development curve of every player is different. In his draft year, Puljujarvi was in the running for the being the top pick with Matthews and Laine. He was the third ranked player at the draft and fell to 4th when Columbus went with a centre in Dubois. Many expected Puljujarvi to make the Oilers in his first year and people thought he may be a bust when he struggled in his D+1 and D+2 seasons and couldn’t make the team. He looked dominant in that last game, he was big fast, strong and showed great moves and hands. He almost had a hat trick in the game when he walked around the D, but rang it off the post.

      I bring this up not to give up too quickly on Juolevi. I would have picked Sergachev instead and have been disappointed in the slow progress of Juolevi, but he’s still a 20 year old D man who has shown some really good flashes. I’m also sure Juolevi will play in the NHL this year. It hasn’t been an option until now without making the Canucks out of camp. They couldn’t call him up from junior in his D+1 season or from Liiga in his D+2 season.

  • Goon

    Good news. Gaunce will likely clear waivers. I like him a lot but if for some strange reason he doesn’t, it is not a significant hit to the team. Gaudette and Juolevi will both be better served playing big minutes on a strong Comets team than playing 3rd line/3rd pairing minutes on a bottom-feeding NHL club.

  • Puck Viking

    I wonder if Joulevi would have made it if not for his off season surgery?

    The thing is would you really want him playing with Gudbranson? It would totally destroy his confidence having to deal with playing with one of the worst defenseman in the NHL.

  • Challister Court Canuck

    Wow. Humiliating to see a top five pick still unable to crack the roster on one of the worst Defences in the league three seasons after being drafted. Terrible pick over Tkachuk, Sergy and McAvoy that no one in their right mind can deny now.

    ‘Vancouver GM Jim Benning has been gushing about Juolevi for some time.
    He believes in Juolevi as a top-pairing NHL stud. In April, he compared Juolevi’s hockey sense to legend Nicklas Lidstrom.’ – Botchford piece after the 2016 draft

    “He has the hockey sense to step straight in and play,” Jim Benning 2016

    • Puck Viking

      No one was taking McAvoy at 5.. Thats like saying teams should have taken Boeser at 5 no one had him pegged there but the other 3 players were all in the wheel house.. I was hoping for Serg in that draft followed by Keller and Tkachuk..

      Joulevi was just an average player on a great team in London and Finland. His play and stats did not jump out that season I dont know how he was a top 10 pick to be honest.

      • Challister Court Canuck

        Agree on Juolevi, disagree about McAvoy. Taking risks and finding diamonds in the rough is how smart GMs/teams really earn their stripes – Ken Holland (Lidstrom@ 53!, Datsyuk@ 171!, Larkin @15), Lou Lam (Nylander@6, Liljegren @17)… the Isles taking both Wahlstrom/Dobson this year), Boston taking both Patranak @24, McAvoy@14 are examples …

        Hell, Benning must have known Boston was high on the kid and that he was really good – he would’ve scouted him for the Bruins. McAvoy would likely go top six now in a redraft i imagine, but the Bruins still got their man at 14 and Jim dropped a clanger above all other GMs, because he was in the know!

        • Puck Viking

          Those teams got lucky. Lots of drafting players is finding guys who will work hard to improve like a Gaudette instead of taking lazy players like JV and Joulevi.

        • TD

          Your comment doesn’t make sense. Holland didn’t go off the board and pick Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Larkin at 5, he picked them around where they were supposed to go and they developed beyond expectations. How is picking Lidstrom at 53 or Datsyuk at 171 “taking risks”? He did find the diamonds in the rough, but not by taking risks.

          • Challister Court Canuck

            Viking said nobody would pick McAvoy as high as five, I have proven here that it’s about having the stones and nouce to pick the correct player at any position regardless of ‘rankings’. Do try and keep up.

          • “I have proven here that it’s about having the stones and nouce to pick the correct player at any position regardless of ‘rankings’.”

            That’s pretty stupid, Challister. That’s what you say when you look at things in hindsight and say “well, I would have done it the *correct* way if it was *me*.” On what basis would you have picked MacAvoy at #5? According to many rankings, MacAvoy was consistently ranked as a mid-round pick. What data or evidence from 2016 can you present that suggests that MacAvoy should have been picked ahead of Juolevi, Chychrun, or Sergachev? All 3 of those guys were ranked ahead of MacAvoy. MacAvoy did nothing prior the draft that made scouts say he was better than any of those guys. Yet you would have magically picked him anyways…what, because only you have the “stones and nouce” that apparently nobody else has?

          • TD

            How the hell is Boston taking players where all the scouts taking risks as you said. That’s like saying Benning took a risk by picking Boeser 24th. Its not a risk, its a good pick, but not a risk.

            You talk about the Bruins and cherry picked the picks you like. The same GM had picks 13, 14 and 15 in 2015. He picked Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk and Zachary Senyshyn with those picks. DeBrusk looks like a player, but the other two have yet to play a game in the NHL. That’s 3 picks in the top half of the draft in the year before Juolevi in which only one has played in the NHL. In other words, the Bruins’ and the Canucks’ GMs (along with all the rest) make some good picks and some bad picks.

        • East van canuck

          Great post, it appears some just cannot accept that juolevi is a bust, being the only top ten pick from 2016 to not make the show, on a canucks d this bad. it is what it is, accept it and realise the boy just isnt going to be the franchise d man we hoped for and were promised.

      • bobdaley44

        Half a point a game in a mens league and 7pts in eleven games in the playoffs and his stats don’t jump out at you? Sergachev plays selected minutes on a stacked team and his defensive game isn’t the greatest. Guy just had back surgery. Let him play heavy minutes in the AHL in all situations and it’ll do wonders for his development not to mention his fitness. Funny how the guy just played in the world juniors last year and people are writing him off already. It’s not who makes it first.

    • I am Ted

      You should be humiliated by the rubbish you spew. If Olli needs another 2 years but turns into a #1, 2, 3 or 4 D man then so be it. Too early to pass judgement on this guy. Stop being an asshat.

  • Dirk22

    Not the worst thing but disheartening to see these guys still not ready.

    Gaudette is the same age as McCann who will be going into his 4th season and centering a 3rd line on a vastly superior team.

    We’ve had to watch as Juolevi has gone from a projected “first-pairing defencemen” to a projected “number three” and now to a hopefully “top-4.” Whether he makes it or not as a second pairing guy, you can’t be happy with that for a #5 pick.

    • truthseeker

      I agree with you on this one.

      I’ll cut OJ a bit more slack because of the injury thing. And as far as his projected position, that’s just blogger nonsense based on nothing but the speculation of the kind that thought Bo’s ceiling would be second line at best. OJ may bust out totally or he may slowly put it all together and if he does put it all together then all bets are off in terms of how high he can rise in the depth chart.

      I’m more disappointed in Gaudette.

      • Dirk22

        Take it for what its worth but Juolevi projected as a second pairing defencemen (as opposed to a first pairing) goes well beyond ‘blogger nonsense’. His stock has fallen to a point where we’re supposed to be happy if he makes it as a 3 or a 4…not good for a #5 pick.

        • truthseeker

          Naa…it’s pretty much blogger nonsense. Projections are virtually meaningless. If you’d like to prove it to yourself, go round up all the projections made about players past and present and see how well they correlate to what actually happened. Remember…this means the people (Like Canucks Army) don’t get credit for when a player like Bo exceeds their projections. That’s a failure too.

          I don’t feel the need to do this because I’m about 99% certain there will be virtually no correlation and I doubt it even reaches the accuracy of blind dart board throwing. But by all means, if you do the work and prove me wrong, at that point I’ll happily admit projections have some kind of value based on the level of correlation you find.

          As for what we’re supposed to feel….well…that’s up to you. I don’t care what people think. I decide for myself how to view hockey and the aspects around it. I don’t care if everyone says the Presidents trophy is meaningless. To me that’s garbage. Of course it means something. It’s a pretty amazing achievement when you think about it. In many ways it’s more difficult to win than the cup. In the same respect, I don’t stress over picks that are busts or fret over what they are or aren’t doing. It’s a waste of energy. If OJ doesn’t work out….oh well…to bad….try again. Hopefully the next one is better. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just hockey.

          • Dirk22

            Well I’m happy for you but for someone who doesn’t care if Juolevi or say Virtanen works out or not, you spend an awful lot of energy defending and justifying the picks.

          • truthseeker

            Still don’t get it huh? It’s not the picks I’m defending. It’s the arguments used against the picks as to why they were wrong. It’s always been about that.

            When someone’s put a cake in the oven do you stand around the oven and talk to yourself about if it will rise?

            Of course I want them to work out and of course I understand why they chose both players. The choices were made and in OJ’s case he was the highest ranked D man in his draft so there is no question if someone wanted him, he would be justified around that pick. JV was only slightly “off board” and even that is debatable as many sources had him top ten. Benning wanted him and that pick in that spot is not unreasonable. Simple really Dirk.

            And until you show me proof that projections are accurate, then arguing that so and so should have been picked before or after so and so (within reason of course, because your the type that will probably say “you’d justify a 6th rounder over McDavid!!!”) is nothing more than speculation. But what’s worse is those making the argument after the fact. Hindsight. Which is exactly what it is. And it’s not a logical argument.

            Which we’ve been over a million times but you still don’t seem to be able to comprehend.

            Mistakes in the draft simply will happen. There is nothing anyone can do about it. They happen for every single team. And they are always found out in hindsight. After the player fails. Therefore, for any given ranking of similar players where there is reasonable consensus…there are NO mistakes on draft day. Understand?

          • Dirk22

            So if one can’t be blamed for a pick that doesn’t work (Virtanen, Juolevi), one can’t be praised for a pick that does (Petterson, Boeser).

            So with that out of the way explain to me how Benning has kept his job?

          • truthseeker

            Pretty much..yeah. Teams get lucky with picks all the time. Have you ever seen me on here proclaim Benning was a genius for picking Boeser? Pettersson? Go take a look….I’ll wait….but you won’t find it. He did the best he could with the info he had at the time and in those cases it paid of. (hopefully with EP). As a GM you hope it pays off more times than it doesn’t. Can some teams zone in on some specific qualities they see in players they think are important in making a great player? Sure I suppose a little bit. Are there other teams out there who are misreading what’s needed in the league and ending up with bad draft record? Sure…I suppose a little bit. But it’s far more to do with luck than any of that. Again…in any group of relatively same talent level potential draft picks, it’s just luck. Which kid do you think will be the one who doesn’t crack under the pressure of turning pro. Simple as that. But virtually unknowable…because it boils down to human nature. Something that can’t be predicted with any kind of accuracy.

            Benning’s probably kept his job simply because Aquilini is comfortable with him at the helm. Either he controls Benning and has final say over decisions like signings or he really believes in whatever “plan” Benning has told him about or maybe something in between. It really doesn’t matter. I don’t waste my time on that nonsense either, because we’ll really never know for sure. It is what it is. Nothing you or I are going to do about it. He’ll be fired when FA thinks he’s not doing his job well enough. You obviously think that was the day after he was hired pretty much. So that’s been about what? 4 years for you? OK…who’s wasting the energy though Dirk? Me or you? lol. Cause I’ll tell you….the fact that some guy named Jim Benning is the GM of the canucks, hasn’t caused my stress levels to rise one iota. Can you say the same? Sure doesn’t seem like it.

      • TD

        Guadette was a late round pick because he was on a slower development curve. Give him a bit of time. I can see why many writers caution us about his ceiling. His effort is awesome, but his skill level may be as a 3rd line centre. He led the NCAA with 60 points as a junior last year, but that does not stand out when you look back. In Gaudreau’s junior year, he put up 80 points. I hope Gaudette can become a 30-50 point middle six centre, but that may take time.

  • Macksonious

    Management made the right decisions.

    Gaudette and Juolevi didn’t to show enough displace anyone, both should benefit from some AHL seasoning. Not sure if Gaunce will be anything more than an NHL replacement level player at this point.

  • Puck Viking

    I think we should at this point be looking to move Joulevi. If we could deal him for a RHD prospect now is the time.

    Could we land a Dobson, Timmins or Meyers type prospect? Would be great to grab someone to play with Hughes.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Let’s do some math to be illustrate the present situation(s) with guys like Juolevi, Gaudette and the other kids sent to Utica. For argument’s sake on any given night 31 teams dress 20 per for a total of 620 roster spots in the toughest league on the planet. Like outlined in Rick Heinz’s book “ Many are Called…Few are Signed,” the former Canuck back up goalie speaks of hockey as a sort of talent pyramid where only the finest of these get to play in the show. So ask yourself? Are OJ and Gaudette presently in the top 620 players in the world? The fact they are among the last cuts indicates they’re getting close but, come on, they’re very young guys. The higher up you go up that metaphoric pyramid the more slippery the slope gets. Unless you ARE a McDavid, Pettersson, Laine and such players it’s very hard for any of these dudes to step right in. It’s just takes time.

    • liqueur des fenetres

      Your “top 620 players” comment is a silly oversimplification, and just plain wrong. First, GMs populate their own rosters based on their own pipelines, so at minimum there are 31 pyramids. Then, player contracts and things like buyout costs have an impact on which players stay on the roster. And finally, GMs don’t compose teams based on which player is “finest” but use other criteria too like truculence, ability to face punch, character or whatever they are calling it now.

  • This comes as no surprise.

    The bottom line is this: The kids aren’t ready. It doesn’t mean they are bad, it just means they need more time. This is why “Let the kids play” needs more fine tuning.

    Comets is the team for Canucks fans to keep an eye on, and this will probably be our source of joy, if the pre season is any indication, although I do believe Canucks have more to give. A lot more.

    • BendingCorners

      The team is likely to finish in the bottom five this year, and possibly next year too. Sheltering the young ones from that is probably a good thing, except for the rare outstanding talents like Pettersson who will learn more, sooner, jumping straight to the NHL. Two more high draft picks, either or both of whom ovuld be ready to play the year they are picked, plus Quinn Hughes and Thatcher Demko, plus the (by then) well-percolated prospects in Utica, and the Canucks in 2020 will be a team on the rise.

  • Settlebower

    I’ve seen Juolevi 4 times live now. He has tremendous poise. I think he’ll be fine. He has stuff that can’t be taught. He’s young. It has to be about development now. I applaud the move. This is about 3 years from now. I think the club needs to answer for the Gaudette move, which seems to be directly affected by July 1

  • Locust

    I like and agree with all these moves. D men are 2-3 years delayed from other positional players. OJ wont be a superstar but he’ll be a very valuable asset for a very long time.
    Hope they play well in Utica and learn to be a pro the right way.

    • liqueur des fenetres

      I thought the whole point of signing Beagle and Roussel (and MDZ and Gagner before them) was to teach the young guys “how to be a pro” in the NHL? So who are these guys teaching besides Elias and Brock?

  • Rodeobill

    I thought OJ looked as good as Hutton or Pouliot, and better than Biega this preseason. He had one good game, the rest up and down, but overall if he stayed I don’t think he would be our worst D man on the roster. I also don’t think it is that bad to send him down either. I don’t know why he didn’t get more preseason games in though. Call ups will happen, we are the canucks after all, and I feel like he will be ready for that.

    • Rodeobill

      Gudbranson seemed to play with a little more confidence partnered with him too. Maybe he (OJ) has that hockey intuition that let’s his partner know that if they want to try something off the script that he’s got your back, I don’t know, maybe I am grasping at straws trying to be positive.

    • Bud Poile

      He missed one month of training at a critical juncture for the start of this season.
      When mgmt. trades one of the expendable LHD’s he will begin his career as a Canuck.

      • argoleas

        That and there will be injuries. Apart from the realization his fitness is not there yet, due to injury, there’s some asset management. They need to clear 2 LHD spots, by trade or injury.

    • Gored1970

      I thought OJ looked far better than Pouliot and Gaudette played better than Gagner. At least he is defensively aware. Regardless of Benning’s assurances of making room for the kids, the Canucks were never going to sent millions of dollars in contracts to the AHL.

  • BBoone

    Clearly Juolevi will benefit by being in Utica in that great program. He will have some young prospects at forward and a great AHL goalie. He will play in all situations and his fitness will improve. Utica coach was a D man. This is not about this year for the NHL team.

  • LAcanUCK

    Let’s all face facts that it’s best for most of the young talent in the Canucks system to learn the NA pro game in Utica. The benefits of playing together against men will pay benefits when the Canucks are competitive. Playing in the NCAA or CHL is one thing, but playing with and against professionals, ie men that feed their families by playing AHL hockey is a different commitment.
    Last year I watched for Bo and Brock. This year Bo, Brock and Elias. Next year hopefully add 2 Hughes brothers to that list. Utica should have a winning culture and the Dev team there is outstanding! No need for young players transitioning to the pros getting their heads kicked in every night. If Gaudette and Juolevi are still in Utica a year or 2 from now, then there is a problem. Very few of these 2018-19 Canucks will be part of the next great Canuck team. No need to rush just to sell tix.