The Vancouver Canucks officially have one less player on their Abbotsford roster.
On Thursday morning, it was announced that forward Jonah Gadjovich was claimed off waivers by the San Jose Sharks. Gadjovich was originally placed on waivers on Wednesday morning for the purposes of reassignment to Abbotsford but, given the current structure of his deal, was eligible to be claimed by any of the other 31 NHL teams within the 24-hour window.
The 22-year-old power forward is entering the final year of his entry-level contract that he signed back in 2017, but was never able to excel during training camp or exhibition play over the past few seasons.
As a result, Gadjovich primarily found himself in Utica, where he scored 32 goals and 13 assists in 100 games between 2018 and 2021. His best season came in 2020-21, notching 15 goals and three assists in just 19 games.
Gadjovich made his NHL debut that same season, suiting up against the Calgary Flames on May 16th. During that game, Gadjovich only logged 4:55 of ice time that night, but also racked up 17 PIM and even managed to participate in his first NHL scrap against Connor Mackey.
It’s definitely hasn’t been the easiest journey for Gadjovich, who once again returned to training camp this past summer looking to earn an NHL roster spot with Vancouver, but it was also clear that he had put in the necessary work during the offseason to put his best foot forward with the team.
The former 2017 second round selection had noticeably improved his skating abilities, easily his biggest knock as a player, while also still showcasing his physicality, offensive prowess and ability to drive the net.
Unfortunately, that still wasn’t enough for Gadjovich, who was released during the team’s second round of preseason cuts, along with Danila Klimovich.
As expected, fans and media alike immediately took to Twitter to share their reactions to the waiver claim, and the reviews were definitely mixed.
On the one hand, Gadjovich only suited up in two preseason contests this year, which was a fairly small sample size for the winger, especially given the current vacancies on the fourth line for opening night. Gadjovich made his first preseason appearance against Calgary, the team’s second contest of exhibition play, and was able to register one assist and two SOG in the bottom-six rotation.
He continued to build on his strong gameplay a few days later, scoring a goal while also registering three SOG and one hit in just under 10 minutes of ice time, also against Calgary.
However, despite the improved skating abilities and steady preseason performances, Gadjovich still found himself up against a handful of other bottom-six forwards also looking to make the roster, such as Phillip Di Guiseppe, Justin Dowling, Will Lockwood and Nic Petan.
And unfortunately, at the end of the day, Gadjovich’s lack of penalty kill experience and overall speed and explosiveness with the puck were factors that head coach Travis Green couldn’t look past when constructing his final roster, once again putting him on the outside looking in.
Both Gadjovich and his agent spoke with insider Rick Dhaliwal shortly after being claimed, and had nothing but good things to say about the Canucks organization.
However, Gadjovich is already looking towards his future and how he can cement himself as an everyday NHLer, and is very excited to join the Sharks, who will also be back in the Pacific Division this upcoming season.
The Canucks have two preseason contests remaining, both against the Edmonton Oilers, and will be looking to lock down their opening night roster over the next few days with the remaining players in their group.
What are your thoughts on Gadjovich being claimed off of waivers? Should the Canucks have given him more opportunity? Let us know in the comments!