The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed free agent forward Brendan Gaunce to a one-year, two-way contract. Gaunce spent last season in Sweden playing for Vaxjo HC, winning the SHL title. CapFriendly reports that it’s worth $750,000 at the NHL level and $350,000 at the AHL level, with $400,000 guaranteed across the deal.
The 27-year-old was selected 26th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 2012 but failed to ever translate his minor league offense to the NHL. The 6’2″ center has just 16 points in 118 career NHL games, despite routinely being a top-line player in the AHL. In 2020-21, he helped Vaxjo to a league championship with 19 points in 30 games, but it back in North America to continue his career.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t figure to be many opportunities at the NHL level for a player like Gaunce unless the Blue Jackets make several other moves. The team has 12 forwards already on one-way contracts, with other names like Emil Bemstrom, Liam Foudy, and Yegor Chinakhov likely to contribute on their entry-level deals.
If it is destined to be a season in the minor leagues again, he’ll have to clear waivers at some point.