Canucks cranking up commitment to audition, develop youth

 

Notebook: 2012 first-rounder Brendan Gaunce gets the call from Utica

 
 
 
 
Brendan Gaunce tries a wrap-around against San Jose Sharks goalie Troy Grosenick a September 2015 NHL pre-season game at the Q Centre in Victoria. Gaunce, who has played two games this season with Vancouver, was called up from the AHL Utica Comets on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, one day after the NHL trade deadline.
 
 

Brendan Gaunce tries a wrap-around against San Jose Sharks goalie Troy Grosenick a September 2015 NHL pre-season game at the Q Centre in Victoria. Gaunce, who has played two games this season with Vancouver, was called up from the AHL Utica Comets on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, one day after the NHL trade deadline.

Photograph by: CHAD HIPOLITO, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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VANCOUVER — Youth will be served.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning made that pledge after Monday’s trade deadline and coach Willie Desjardins said Tuesday that’s fine with him.

“The younger players have to have opportunities, for sure,” Desjardins said before the Canucks played the New York Islanders at Rogers Arena. “We have to see where they are at and what they can do. I still think you have to earn things, you don’t just have things given to you, but I think they have to have an opportunity to earn it.

“So I would see them in a little bit more of a prominent role.”

Benning on Monday indicated the team would soon be calling up some players from its American Hockey League team in Utica. On Tuesday, the Canucks recalled forward Brendan Gaunce.

Benning mentioned Alex Grenier and Mike Zalewski as possible call-ups. Defencemen Andrey Pedan and Jordan Subban could also get a look.

Desjardins acknowledged Tuesday that some veterans many have to sit to make room for the youngsters down the stretch.

“We only have so many spots in the lineup so if somebody comes in, somebody is going to have to come out, for sure,” he said. “We’ll evaluate that and sit down as a team and talk about it. We have talked since the start of the year here about developing young players and how it’s important to us.

“I think if you look at all the young guys we have in our lineup, they have developed a lot this year. You look at Baertschi, how far he has come, you look at Virtanen, you look at Markstrom, you look at Hutton, we have a lot of guys who have come a long ways. So I think we’ll keep on trying to develop guys.”

Rookie centre Jared McCann, who has been in and out of the lineup, should benefit.

“More opportunity is nice,” McCann said. “I am just going to try and take advantage of it.”

Veteran winger Alex Burrows said he’s not surprised the team wants to play its young players down the stretch.

“Well, that is where we’re at as a team, as an organization,” Burrows said. “They make the calls, they make the decisions and as a player you hope you are going to be in and if you’re not you’re going to work harder to get back in. That is how I approach it.”

Gaunce, selected 25th overall by the Canucks in the first round of the 2012 draft, has 15 goals and 33 points in 43 games with the Comets this season. Gaunce played two games with the Canucks earlier this season and scored one goal. He did not play Tuesday.

BROTHER ACT: Islanders coach Jack Capuano played half of his NHL career with the Canucks. That would be three games.

Capuano smiled when the subject of his cup of coffee with the Canucks was raised after Tuesday morning’s game-day skate.

He got called up for three games in the 1990-91 season and the highlight was being able to play with his younger brother Dave, a winger who was on the Canuck roster at the time.

“My brother and I, I think, were the first brother act to play here,” Capuano said. “So it’s pretty special when you think of Vancouver and think of us from a little town in Rhode Island … two brothers get to play in a really great organization. I still stay in touch with a lot of guys … a lot of good memories.”

bziemer@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
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Brendan Gaunce tries a wrap-around against San Jose Sharks goalie Troy Grosenick a September 2015 NHL pre-season game at the Q Centre in Victoria. Gaunce, who has played two games this season with Vancouver, was called up from the AHL Utica Comets on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, one day after the NHL trade deadline.
 

Brendan Gaunce tries a wrap-around against San Jose Sharks goalie Troy Grosenick a September 2015 NHL pre-season game at the Q Centre in Victoria. Gaunce, who has played two games this season with Vancouver, was called up from the AHL Utica Comets on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, one day after the NHL trade deadline.

Photograph by: CHAD HIPOLITO, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
Brendan Gaunce tries a wrap-around against San Jose Sharks goalie Troy Grosenick a September 2015 NHL pre-season game at the Q Centre in Victoria. Gaunce, who has played two games this season with Vancouver, was called up from the AHL Utica Comets on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, one day after the NHL trade deadline.
Forward Brendan Gaunce, who has played two games this season with Vancouver, has been called up from the AHL Utica Comets and will get to play down the stretch with the Canucks.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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