Victor Hedman left Friday’s game with a shoulder injury. On Saturday morning he was reportedly spotted walking around with a sling around his arm. The Tampa Bay Lightning officially listed him as out for at least the next week.
Injury update: #TBLightning defenseman Victor Hedman (upper body) will be re-evaluated in a week, and forward Ondrej Palat (lower body) is day-to-day.— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) October 27, 2018
As a result, the team has recalled 28-year-old left-handed defenseman Cameron Gaunce from the AHL Syracuse Crunch.
Chatted with Cameron Gaunce in camp. Said #TBLightning pursued him quickly on July 1. Good to have vet in #AHL w #NHL experience (32 games) for moments like this. Gaunce, 28, also saw opportunity here w three vets coming off the books next summer. Chance to show what he can do.— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) October 27, 2018
Gaunce was a second-round pick by the Colorado Avalanche in 2008, and has 32 games of NHL experience spread across the Avalanche, Dallas Stars, and Pittsburgh Penguins organizations and has five points (2g, 3a) in those games.
NHL.com summed up Gaunce’s AHL career as follows:
Gaunce has also played in 541 career AHL games with the Crunch, Lake Erie Monsters, Wilkes/Barre-Scranton Penguins, Portland Pirates and Texas Stars, collecting 25 goals and 173 points. He helped the Texas Stars win the Calder Cup in 2014, skating in 18 postseason games, recording four assists and a plus-6 rating.
The Crunch are at home tonight in Syracuse to play the Charlotte Checkers, while Gaunce will be in Arizona either as a healthy scratch or playing on the blueline. This call-up comes as a bit of a surprise considering young defender Erik Cernak was inches away from making the NHL team out of camp. It’s only logical he be the first to get a recall, right?
The answer to that question might comes in the schedule. After tonight, the Crunch won’t play again until November 2nd while the Lightning play twice in that time (at home against New Jersey and Nashville).
This could be a case of Gaunce coming in and either getting a try-out as the sixth option over a player like Slater Koekkoek, or easing the travel load on a player like Cernak who can easily meet the Lightning in Tampa Bay tomorrow morning having played on the same night as them anyway.
Joe Smith explains it another way. Why take away games from Cernak when you don’t have to?
Not saying they won’t call up a ‘D’ especially for next week. Only meant you don’t call up Cernak to be insurance. Could try vet like Gaunce— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) October 27, 2018
Gaunce has been skating on the Crunch’s top pairing with Cernak for the majority of the season and has recorded a goal and an assist in the six games Syracuse has played this season. With his departure Oleg Sosunov, who had been a healthy scratch for the last few games, will most likely be reinserted into the line-up. Expect Dominick Masin to step up and partner with Cernak while Gaunce is in Tampa.