The Canucks have sent Ronalds Kenins and Brendan Gaunce to their AHL affiliate in Utica. They’ll join Richard Bachman and Taylor Fedun, who were sent down earlier in the day.
The decision to send Kenins and Gaunce down should raise an eyebrow, but for different reasons.
Kenins had an impressive rookie season, scoring 12 points in 30 games, and hitting everything that moved. But after bursting onto the scene last year, his play was lackluster in preseason this year.
If Kenins got too comfortable after receiving a one-way contract this offseason, he isn’t comfortable anymore. The club has sent him a strong message with this demotion.
Brendan Gaunce was not on the team’s radar last season and was even healthy scratched by Utica in the playoffs. He had an impressive preseason this year though, and the former first round pick should be a good candidate to get a call-up later this season. Some time receiving prime ice time in the AHL should be beneficial for his development.
The Canucks now have 9 defenceman and 14 forwards, plus the injured Chris Higgins, remaining. They will need to cut at least two players to get down to the 23-man roster limit.
The Canucks are likely to keep 7 or 8 defencemen, with Frank Corrado, Ben Hutton and Alex Biega on the bubble. They are likely to keep 13 or 14 forwards, with Linden Vey, Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann and Adam Cracknell on the bubble.
Vancouver will play their final game of the preseason tomorrow night against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Arena.