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Report: Canucks not expected to qualify Brendan Gaunce

It doesn’t look like Brendan Gaunce will be back with the Canucks.

According to Rick Dhaliwal of Sportsnet 650, the Canucks aren’t expected to qualify the contract of the 25-year-old forward.

Gaunce is set to become an RFA this offseason.

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Gaunce was a first-round draft pick of the Canucks in 2012 (26th overall), but failed to solidify a role with the team. The 6’2″ winger has just six goals and 15 points in 117 career NHL games with Vancouver.

Gaunce spent the 2018-19 season in Utica where he managed to be an effective player for the Comets. The Ontario native recorded 16 goals and 38 points in 60 games with Vancouver’s AHL affiliate. He did appear in three games for the Canucks this season, managing a goal and two assists.

Gaunce fell down the depth chart in Vancouver but did prove at times he had the potential of being a solid fourth-line defensive forward. Given his great production in junior and where he was taken in the draft, Gaunce’s offensive production at the NHL level simply wasn’t good enough.

While he has yet to play a full NHL season, Gaunce got in 57 games for the Canucks in 2016-17 and managed just five assists. Flashforward to 2018-19 and he’s 25 years old and can’t even crack the Canucks’ lineup. The writing was pretty much on the wall for the power forward.

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If the Canucks don’t in fact issue Gaunce a qualifying offer, he will become an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any NHL team.

Gaunce was making $750,000 in his last two seasons with Vancouver. It’ll be interesting to see if an NHL team gives him a chance to see if he benefits from a change of scenery.

Wishing Gaunce all the best wherever he lands.

  • Killer Marmot

    I’m surprized given that Gauce is, at a minimum, a useful call up that gives the Canucks solid depth when injuries strike. I would not be surprized if Gaunce signs with another club.

  • Alex G

    Since he now has played more than 259 professional hockey games, he is no longer considered a development player, as 13 developmental players (skaters) must dress for an AHL game. Additionally, one of the 13 players may be “exempt” and can have played between 260 and 320 professional hockey games. Gaunce (306 games played) needs to play only 14 more games to lose the exemption. He is a decent AHL player, there there will likely be better options in available in Utica for a call up.

    My guess is either the Canucks don’t see Gaunce as one of those 5 regular non developmental skaters (who are usually players who can provided some leadership and/or scoring), or they are looking to only offer him a lower paying 2 way contract (which would not likely happen if it went to arbitration). There is a very good chance he lands a spot with another organization.

  • Hockey Bunker

    He was drafted SEVEN years ago. Eventually you have to look at the rose bush and accept the fact it ain’t ever gonna bloom. Rip it out and plant a new one.

    • canuckfan

      As someone said earlier no great loss as the Canucks get more depth players such as Gaunce will be squeezed out he has been trying to make the big league for a longtime but not able to stay with the big club. Not sure he will get a chance with another team except in the AHL as he wasn’t really showing any signs he was on the edge of making it. That’s progress.

  • Fred-65

    I always liked Gaunce as a person, but he just seemed way too cerebral for the sport of hockey. More like a hedge fund manager. Good luck to the lad for the future

  • canucksfan

    Will likely do better on a playoff team roster where power, grit and depth are going to be in demand after all this years upsets of so-called elite teams. Too bad vancouver can’t see this.

    • North Van Halen

      Ummm there’s something very important missing from your assessment, speed which he has very little…and when did Gaunce become gritty? If he was he might have carved out a niche by now.

      • canucksfan

        Have you even been watching the playoffs? Speed and skill are yesterdays news again now. Speed smurfs are out. Good depth option for a playoff team and still just 25. Will flourish elsewhere. Good luck to him.

        • DJ_44

          The teams that remain all have speed. Sure, there are a few slower forwards, but unless Gaunce finds a scoring touch and physical game like Maroon or can play-make like Thorton, then speed is still the currency.

        • North Van Halen

          I have watched the playoffs, those teams aren’t slow, they may have size but they also have speed. Gaunce doesn’t and he’s not good enough to play without an edge.
          No edge, no speed, little talent. God he wasn’t good enough to make the Canucks…flourish?! More like adequate depth option for an AHL call up. Jordan Schroeder with 4 more inches

  • tyhee

    It was clear when the Canucks signed Beagle, Schaller and Roussel as free agents that they were leaving no room for Gaunce and and had already decided to move on from him. There was clearly no room left for Gaunce and though he showed well in training camp and in his brief 2018-19 appearance in Vancouver, they were done with him.

    His play in Utica this season started at a high level, then seemed to drop off after he was returned after a short stint as injury relief in Vancouver.

  • It’s too bad, I was really hoping he could become a depth scorer for us but I guess his scouting report weaknesses came true: big body but too polite to use it and lack of foot speed. Maybe he’ll join Cam in Syracuse.

  • wojohowitz

    I think they mis-managed Gaunce in the last couple of years. Before that he got some experience as a 3rd and 4th line winger but in the last couple of years he saw no ice time as a top six forward. I wanted to see him play left wing with Horvat when Baertschi was injured rather than Spooner. If nothing else they should have made him look good and traded him for a comparable defenceman with some upside. There was even rumours of interest from other teams. Instead they let him walk. Next up is probably Boucher. Does he have any value?

    One takeaway from St Louis – Dallas; Big bodies win puck battles.

    It took Ken Holland only one day to make his first mistake; Hitchcock has no input evaluating personnel. He should have been employed for at least a half a season just for his opinion.

    I just went thru a top ten prospects list for Tampa; One 1st rounder, six 2nd rounders and one 3rd rounder. That`s some excellent drafting.

    • North Van Halen

      Spooner had 3 straight seasons of 40+ points in the NHL prior to last year. Brendan Gaunce has 15 points in 117 NHL games. How do those stats, coupled with his lack of foot speed warrant a shot in the top 6? I’d have much preferred MacEwen if they’re looking for internal options.

    • DJ_44

      Before that he got some experience as a 3rd and 4th line winger but in the last couple of years he saw no ice time as a top six forward. I wanted to see him play left wing with Horvat when Baertschi was injured rather than Spooner.

      So, he was ineffective in the bottom six, but he is going to be effective in the top six? Spooner is far and away a better player than Gaunce.

      There was even rumours of interest from other teams.

      North American teams?

      As far as trading him, he is an AHL center, who can fill in on an NHL 4th line. He was waived, and probably will be again this season. Comparable defencemen will be available via the waiver wire in September.

      • wojohowitz

        Spooner did put up points but that lead to his 3×3 contract and then his game went soft. This season past he put up 15 points on 4 teams. Edmonton was happy to unload him for Gagner and yeah they probably won that trade. He will probably spend next season in the AHL and much like Gagner the Canucks will be happy to unload him at the TDL for a 7th rounder.

        On Gaunce maybe I`m a little blinded by loyalty to what I see as an honest hard working guy looking for a chance to prove himself. I expect him to be signed by a savvy GM as a decent depth option who decides he can contribute. What I remember is an effective 4th line winger who could forecheck and play physical on a line with Dorset and a black hole center (Sutter?) (Megna?). He`s not done in the NHL just yet.

  • j2daff

    this obviously wasn’t a matter of money as he would have been qualified at basically league minimum but also not a huge loss. I haven’t looked super close at the contract situation or our total number of contracts for next year but he could likely have been a fit in Utica. He could have been a possible call up and been a good player to play with some of our skilled prospects likely better than players like woods, darcy, hamilton, banks. Mind you I am not sure how many of them are signed for next year so maybe it was the vet rule that came into play. Maybe the team also discussed in with him and all parties figured there might be a better option for him out there…

    • DJ_44

      Woods, Darcy, Hamilton and Banks are on AHL deals. Gaunce was on a one-way NHL contract. I would think the Canucks would sign him to an AHL deal, but Gaunce would want to explore NHL options first. Either way, the first step is not to tender a QO.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I always wanted Gaunce to do well, and had high hopes for him. But he could never quite put it together at the NHL level. I wouldn’t be surprised if another team signs him given his underlying stats. Maybe Carolina, a stats driven team, will acquire him.

      • Beer Can Boyd

        Or, 1 goal and 2 assists in 3 NHL games last season. All those years that Willie D was playing Schmegma and Vey while Gaunce was in the minors. Then they sign a guy like Schaller who is clearly no better, for a 2 year deal worth almost 4 million $. Sorry, but this is another case of poor player development by the Canucks, and now we have a 1st round draft pick leaving as a UFA. I hope he makes a career for himself somewhere in the NHL.

        • TheRealRusty

          Amen to that. How many prospects have actually graduated from the Comets? Is there an overall plan on what kind of system the Canucks are wanting to play and what types of players they need to draft to fill those needs or is it still an ever changing goal post?

        • Locust

          Beer Can – it is a performance league, not a ‘prospect’ league. He simply isn’t good enough right now…… and the clock is ticking. He either is somehow picked up by an NHL team or he becomes a career minor leaguer or he hangs them up.
          The ‘poor player development’ you quote is based upon him being a ‘poor player’. No participation medals anymore man….

          • Cageyvet

            Yeah, I’m a fan first and foremost, and hope for the best for all our prospects. Gaunce has had plenty of opportunity, and has been mediocre. He’s fine if you want to remain a cellar-dweller, but comparing him to Schaller is useless, we don’t need him on the team either. If he goes from being our best prospect to being marginalized, that’s on him, and is a sign of progress for this team.

          • Beer Can Boyd

            ” it is a performance league, not a ‘prospect’ league.” Then what the hell were Vey and Megma doing in Canucks uniforms then? If its not poor player development, then its terrible drafting. Take your pick.

          • Bud Poile

            ” If its not poor player development, then its terrible drafting. Take your pick.” BCB
            Neither Megna or Vey were drafted by the Canucks and they are 29 and almost 28 years of age so they weren’t developed by the Canucks,either.
            Asking why they were on the team suggests yo missed the six drafts and development we went through with Gillis.

  • rediiis

    Another sap needs to get tossed. Boucher. If you can’t make the club get out of the way. I really do not like vets hindering ice time in Utica. Just my opinion.

  • copey

    Has no one thought of the obvious? Rather than a ditching job by the Nucks, this is Gaunce being offered a chance to sign elsewhere by being released from RFA status. It seems possible to me that Gaunce may have quietly asked for this and Jim granted it as fair for both sides. Gaunce was always a good soldier but needs the change of scenery. Yes, it is a lost pick in the large run, but what else to do now?