With Dan Hamhuis and Brandon Prust injured, the Vancouver Canucks have recalled Brendan Gaunce and Alex Biega from the Utica Comets.
Hamhuis was a surprise late scratch for yesterday’s game against Montreal, with the club listing it as “maintenance”. The injury is almost certainly not “maintenance” (whatever that means) because Hamhuis will not join the team for their upcoming two-game road trip in Dallas and Arizona.
Prust left yesterday’s game after he appeared to twist his ankle. He left the ice under his own strength and x-rays were negative. He told reporters following the game that he would undergo an MRI today.
Both Gaunce and Biega have been recalled as insurance, as both players may not see any game action. The Canucks could re-insert Adam Cracknell to play on the wing in Prust’s spot, while Biega should slot in as their seventh defenceman. Chris Higgins is expected to return soon, and could be available for Friday’s game against Arizona.
Gaunce, 21, has recorded two points and six penalty minutes in five games with Utica this season. The former first round pick in 2012 had an impressive preseason, so it’s no surprise that he was the first forward called-up. Listed at 6’2”, 205 pounds, Gaunce provides some grit with the ability to score.
Biega, 27, has appeared in five games with Utica this season registering an assist and two penalty minutes. He appeared in seven games for the Canucks last season, scoring one goal. Although he is an undersized defenceman (5’10”, 187 pounds), Biega is a dependable blueliner that can fill-in capably.