That didn’t take long.
Adam Gaudette got sent down to Utica at the end of December thanks to the return of Sven Baertschi to the Canucks lineup. Since Gaudette is exempt from waivers and was getting limited ice time, it made perfect sense that he would make the trip to Utica rather than possibly losing a player on waivers.
Gaudette spend just three games with the Comets, tallying two goals and an assist. All of those points came in one game against the Cleveland Monsters, in which he also had a whopping eight shots on goal. While Gaudette was kept quiet in his other two games, he remains a point-per-game player in the AHL, with four goals and seven points in seven games.
If the hope was for Gaudette to regain his confidence in Utica, it’s likely mission accomplished — his spinning sheathing-the-sword celebration with his stick after one of his goals suggests he didn’t lack much confidence to begin with.
Gaudette’s assist even came off a scoring chance, as he took a pass from Tom Pyatt on the backhand, quickly moved it to his forehand and snapped a hard-to-handle shot that Vincent Arseneau finished on the rebound.
His first goal was a top corner snipe after a giveaway by former Canuck Zac Dalpe gave him far too much time in the high slot. Then he completed the three point night by finishing off a passing play from Kole Lind and Brendan Gaunce.
What does this mean for the Canucks?
At the moment, no further roster changes are needed. The Canucks site shows that Elias Pettersson has been put on Injured Reserve with his MCL sprain, while Josh Leivo was previously placed on Injured Reserve with back spasms. While it’s possible that Leivo will return in time for Tuesday, it seems like Pettersson will remain out for a little while longer, leaving the Canucks within the 23-man roster limit.
This provides another natural centre in the lineup, which will allow the Canucks to move Markus Granlund back to the wing. With Pettersson out, this could be an opportunity for Travis Green to put a couple more offensive-minded wingers alongside Gaudette and give him a little more free rein offensively.
This will avoid the unfortunate situation of Nikolay Goldobin and Brock Boeser playing with Brandon Sutter, like we saw in the first period on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Keeping Sutter in a primarily defensive role will also hopefully free up Bo Horvat to focus more on offence.
There’s no guarantee that Gaudette will stick with the Canucks for the rest of the season. Once Leivo and Pettersson return, the Canucks will need to send someone down to Utica again, but it’s a positive sign that Gaudette has asserted himself in the AHL to ensure that he’s still the go-to call-up.