Future Captain Brendan Gaunce?
It is inevitable that when a young player gets drafted by a professional team that people start throwing around comparisons of him to current and former players. (Especially you Canucks fans)
We do this a lot of the time in the NHL because if the player isn’t a top 5 – 10 draft pick, they are often unknown to the general public.
With the 26th overall pick this year, the Vancouver Canucks selected Brendan Gaunce of the Belleville Bulls, and we see some similarities between him and some past and current Canuck players.
These players possess different qualities, but all have that “something” that reminds us of a part of Gaunce’s game.
Let’s take a closer look:
1. Cody Hodgson
Ok, we just wanted to get this one out of the way early because we’ve been seeing this comparison all over the place.
It’s become a bit of a story because Canuck’s GM Mike Gillis has stated about Gaunce that he has good potential, is a hard worker, and scored at the top of their character tests, similar to the book on Cody Hodgson when the Canucks drafted him.
They both also happen to come from Markham, Ont. There have also been reports that their skating strides are similar.
Potential is a word thrown around a lot in the draft world of any sport, let’s hope Gaunce lives up to his.
2. Ryan Kesler
The scouting reports for both Brendan Gaunce and Ryan Kesler leading up to the draft read very similar to each other. Both were regarded as two-way centres with defensive awareness.
Kesler was projected as a physical and solid 3rd line player, not expected to put up a lot of points, of course, he has blossomed into much more than that, scoring 41 goals in the 2011-2012 campaign.
Could Gaunce blossom that same way?
The jury is out on that, but the words character, grit, and strength show up a ton with both of these players.
3. Artem Chubarov
For our money, Artem Chubarov was one of the most under appreciated Canucks of all time. He was a very intelligent player, and as a centre had an unusually strong understanding of the defensive game of hockey.
He was a penalty killer who was highly skilled at taking face-offs, and great at back-checking, all things Gaunce is expected to do with the team.
4. Stan Smyl
Again, the offensive upside with Gaunce may not have the highest of ceilings, but its his leadership skills, determination, and heart that lend him to be compared favourably to the great Canuck captain Stan Smyl.
There are some reports that suggest Gaunce could be projected as a future Canuck captain himself one day.
5. Manny Malholtra
Manny Malholtra is one of the best face-off men in the game, especially strong taking the face-off in the defensive zone. He has great vision, and is not afraid to dive and fight to get to the puck.
Those skills, and his 6’2″, 215 pound frame are remarkably close to that of Gaunce’s and we expect them both to be utilized in similar ways.
More Draft articles
- Welcome to Vancouver Brendan Gaunce… Belleville Bulls centre
- Canucks Round 1 2012 NHL Draft – Brendan Gaunce pick according to twitter