The Vancouver Canucks have recalled two players from their AHL club, the Utica Comets – forward Brendan Gaunce and defenceman Alex Biega, who both impressed during their preseason tryout with the big club.
Gaunce and Biega will fill in for currently injured Brandon Prust and Dan Hamhuis, who will both stay home during the Canucks’ upcoming two-game road trip through Dallas and Phoenix.
Gaunce, 21, joins a Vancouver squad already trying to balance some newly injected youth. Teenagers Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen, both forward, are pushing to stay in the NHL past their almost-fulfilled nine-game tryout window, as is 22-year-old blueliner Ben Hutton.
The Canucks of course also have 20-year-old Bo Horvat, their ninth overall pick in 2013, who made Vancouver’s lineup out of camp last season.
Gaunce was one of a few young players who made their professional debut with the Comets last season, and took a backseat to other farm-league veterans during the year. He had 29 points in 74 games last year.
Biega played seven games with the Canucks in 2014-15, fitting in well on Vancouver’s backend while contributing one goal. Biega’s smooth-skating, right-handed game is similar to current defenceman – and powerplay specialist – Yannick Weber, as well as Frankie Corrado, who it’s believed Biega supplanted on Vancouver’s depth chart before Corrado was waived and lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this month.
Vancouver Giants trade for Trevor Cox
The Vancouver Giants splashed the trade waves for a second straight day on Wednesday, acquiring Surrey’s Trevor Cox – who finished second overall in WHL scoring last season – from the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Cox has four goals and eight points in six games this season, and had 109 points in 69 games in 2014-15.
Curiously, the 20 year old has gone undrafted at the NHL level, despite his prolific offensive wattage.
“I don’t worry about my size, I just know I’m a good player,” Cox told the Surrey Leader last year. “It doesn’t bother me. I just go out and play, and I’m putting up good numbers.”
In exchange for Cox, the Giants dumped defenceman Clayton Kirichenko and a second-round pick in 2018 on Medicine Hat.
“We’re thrilled to add an elite level offensive player like Trevor to our lineup,” said Scott Bonner, the team’s executive vice president and general manager, in a press release issued Wednesday.
“Coming into this week, we felt our team was just a piece or two away from competing with some of the best clubs in the league, and we hope that we’ve addressed those issues with the moves we’ve made over the past two days.”
On Tuesday, the Giants acquired Ben Thomas and Chase Lang from the Calgary Hitmen, in exchange for Jackson Houck, Jakob Stukel, goalie Cody Porter, and a conditional third-round pick in 2017.
The Giants are currently seventh in the WHL’s Western Conference.
The Vancouver Giants take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes tonight – October 28 – in Vancouver.