The Case for Returning to Utica: Competition
What’s the good part about the youth movement? Kids get to showcase their hard work and the management can take pride in their drafting and player development. The fans also love seeing the future bright, especially if they are Vancouver Canucks fans.
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But what’s the not-so-fortunate part about a youth movement? Not all eggs hatch to be a chick, not all baby chicks grow up to be mature chickens, let alone alpha roosters. Bottomline, not all prospects are going to make it. There is the competition that clouds those who are already competent themselves to play in the NHL.
Nevermind the competition down the middle facing Brendan Gaunce, he is facing up uphill competition against contracts.
Alex Grenier, Andrey Pedan, and Mike Zalewski are all gaining restricted free agent rights at the end of the season. Pedan is 22, Zalewski is 23, and Grenier is 24. They are all on the list of must-call-ups for Jim Benning. The team can make only four call-ups from the AHL after the trade deadline. Gaunce, Grenier, Zalewski, and Pedan. The team needs to be four-for-four on their call-ups.
Lucky enough for Gaunce, his call-up is an emergency call-up due to the injury to Hansen. That does not count as one of the four limited call-ups. That also opens up the room for the management to access the rest of the pending free agents while Gaunce still has one year left on his deal.
Bottomline? Gaunce is up against the management’s wish to evaluate the RFA assets. Sure, he may make it through the injury call-up. Will he stick with the team? Even at the expense of Linden Vey? The management may be more content to spend the next call-up on an RFA like Grenier and save Vey from waivers for what it’s worth.
Next: The Verdict