The Vancouver Canucks will finally give Brendan Gaunce a legitimate shot to crack the NHL lineup.
The Vancouver Canucks called Brendan Gaunce up from the AHL Utica Comets on Tuesday, as advertised by Jim Benning during his post-trade deadline press conference. Gaunce has 15 goals and 33 points in 43 games this season with the Comets, playing centre and left-wing as needed for Travis Green‘s team.
That total for the native of Sudbury, Ontario is now good enough for Gaunce to be the leader in points and goals on the Comets’ roster and third in assists, only behind defenceman Jordan Subban and right-winger Alex Grenier.
But there is more to Gaunce’s game than just scoring. With that, here are the three reasons that Brendan Gaunce should stay with the Canucks for the remainder of the season.
Reason to Stay #1: Physicality and a Benning’s Brand of Hockey
The 21-year-old instantly brings size to the Canucks lineup with his six-foot-two, 207-pound frame. Six-foot-two already puts him at the top of the heights column among healthy forwards (Henrik Sedin is also six-foot-two, Brandon Sutter is six-foot-three).
Gaunce will be looking to play a versatile role of a checking scorer. According to Willie Desjardins, it is possible that Gaunce draws into the lineup Thursday against the San Jose Sharks.
Looking at the two games that Gaunce has played in the NHL this season, there is room for optimism. During the two games, he scored a goal and had three hits in just under 22 minutes of ice time. The goal he scored was a checker’s goal, one that went off his skate off of a Chris Tanev point shot.
More impressive is how he went to the front of the net. He shook off Arizona Coyotes defenceman Klas Dahlbeck in front of the net. Dahlbeck is six-foot-three for your reference. Gaunce pushed him out of position just like that.
There. That alone should be a reason solid enough to keep a sturdy scorer like Gaunce in the lineup. Sure the Comets are clinging onto a playoff spot, looking to make some noise in the Calder Cup Playoffs come April.
But there is more to his resume and the current situation in Vancouver that makes keeping Brendan Gaunce in Vancouver the right decision, if not the best decision.
Next: Reason to Stay #2: The Post-Deadline Mess