If we take a look at the impressively stocked cupboards of the Vancouver Canucks’ development system, there’s a can of 6 year old re-fried beans in the back that has sat unaddressed for months and months.
The beans still have plenty of time to shine as the expiry date is not for at least a decade and with the addition of some spicy compliments, could bring some girth to a hearty and inexpensive fourth line.That can of beans, ladies and gentlemen, is Brendan Gaunce.
Gaunce, thanks to a stack of injuries, had a chance to put his often under-appreciated skill-set on display last night against Jonathan Toewes and the visiting Blackhawks.
The hefty protein punch made the best of his limited chance with the big boys as the 24 year old shone with an opportunistic go ahead (and game winning) goal as well as an assist on the all important insurance marker. He did so with a team low 9:34 of ice-time.
Gaunce played alongside the spicy Antoine Roussel and speedy Tyler Motte in a limited but effective 4th line role. Beyond their offensive contributions, the line was relentless on the fore-check – generating opportunities from forced turnovers. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the 6’2, 220 pounder’s game was his physical play. Our iron-rich can of re-fried whoop-ass appears to have learned how to use his size to his advantage – and it certainly showed.
The inspired play of one of our last pre-rebuild first rounders in last night’s game is an indication that his slide down the depth chart is not set in stone and serves as evidence that hard-work and perseverance can earn someone a role in the show. No doubt, he deserves to dress and likely will lace up against MacKinnon and the potent Avs on Friday.