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.
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.
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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.
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.