I would give him a serious look. Gaunce was the 2nd best center at the draft (behind Galchenyuk) which is amazing. If Henrique can center the Stanley Cup finalist Devils' top line, Gaunce can center our 3rd line.
I feel that Gaunce will have a Jensen-like preseason, who really shined and was our best forward last preseason. However, the team is much less competitive at the center position right now than at wing, which is why Gaunce deserves the 3rd line center spot. Basically our depth at center right now (minus Kesler) is:
Henrik > Lapierre > Malhotra > Ebbett > Gaunce
Pinizotto can apparently play center but I'd much rather true centers like the guys above. To start the season...
Sedin - Sedin - Booth (Booth showed chemistry with the twins down the stretch whilst Burrows struggled with them)
Burrows - Lapierre - Higgins (better depth, Burr and Lappy have chemistry, Higgins and Lappy have chemistry)
Raymond - Gaunce - Hansen
Kassian - Malhotra - Weise
Of course Malhotra and Gaunce are interchangeable here, but if he doesn't make the team that will be Ebbett's spot. Then again, if we manage to sign Arnott, Gaunce has next to no chance of making the squad.
I suspect Gaunce and the other prospects are on a fairly short leash on this team because we're trying to go for a cup now, we don't have a terrible lot of time for experiments. If Gaunce does well in training camp and impresses in the post season he deserves a shot at the 3rd or 4th line. I think Ebbett is more than ready for a chance, either as the 3rd or 4th line center depending on how Manny plays.
Ebbett is actually pretty underrated I think--if you look at his stats he usually puts up some decent numbers for a 3rd liner--he just rarely gets any chances because he's so small or whatever. There was the one year on the Ducks 3 years ago where he had 32 pts in 48 games. The games he has played with the Canucks he scored 2 game winners and had some great shifts.
Of course if we get Arnott it's a whole other story as you mention.
Edited by Moonshinefe, 09 August 2012 - 03:07 AM.