Weight: 203 lbs
NHL ETA: 2014-2015
Draft: Selected in the 2nd round (50th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche.
Acquired: Via trade in exchange for F Tomas Vincour in April 2013
Cameron Gaunce entered the 2013 AHL regular-season coming off his best statistical year as a professional hockey player in 2011-2012. Recording 27 points (six goals, 21 assists), he posted an impressive plus-17 rating in 75 games with the Lake Erie Monsters.
After a sub-par beginning to the 2012-2013 AHL regular-season, Gaunce's numbers began to take a significant drop in points-per-game and appeared to have showed "a lack of defensive productivity on the ice".
In 61 games, Gaunce recorded 11 points and a less than stellar minus-8 rating on defense for Lake Erie.
In April of 2013, the Avalanche opted to trade the 23-year old prospect to the Stars in exchange for F Tomas Vincour in the last few hours of the NHL's Trade Deadline.
Many's first belief may be that Gaunce was dumped due to poor work ethic on the ice. While it may be true to an extent, the Avs were more on the angle of leaning more responsibility to young prospects such as Kyle Stollery, Thomas Pock and Tyson Barrie - in hopes that they have the core of the Avalanche defensive unit in the near future.
Now, by all means, Kyle Stollery is no Kevin Connauton.
Thomas Pock…. doesn't quite have the size of Jamie Oleksiak.
So, wouldn't this mean Gaunce is put in an organization with absolutely no chance - especially if he couldn't make it in Colorado?
My answer up front: Probably.
But here's the beauty of it.
During his brief campaign with the Texas Stars to finish off the 2013 AHL regular-season, Gaunce bounced back by posting five points (one goal, four assists) and a plus-7 rating in nine regular-season games. He also appeared in all nine possible postseason games for the Stars against the Milwaukee Admirals and Oklahoma City Barons.
Athletes are interesting figures. You put the word "contract year" in their vocabulary - they wake up earlier, they train harder, they get better. It's just how it works.
Gaunce is eagerly looking for his shot in the NHL, and not just a shot - a consistent role.
This trade could end up being the best thing that has happened for his career.
While Dallas has a full group of potential ready for the next five years, they still will have some holes to fill when veterans like Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley have moved on elsewhere in their careers. Despite the current overload on prospect defensemen, the Stars are still the perfect organization for an aspiring puck-mover like Gaunce who has much to prove to have a future in the NHL.
He'll have plenty of chances to showcase his potential in 2013-2014. Maybe some in Dallas, maybe a lot in Austin, but he'll get the opportunity to be the best player he can be.
Object #1: Make it extremely difficult for them NOT to see him in their future plans.
If he can do that, he'll be just fine.