Former 1st-Rounder Clears Waivers for Blue Jackets

With hope of providing that extra boost to take their AHL affiliate over the top in the Calder Cup playoffs, the Columbus Blue Jackets are now assigning Brendan Gaunce back to the team just in time for their AHL Eastern Conference Finals. They placed the big center on waivers on Sunday and he cleared today.

Gaunce has been on the Blue Jackets roster since March, but had captained the Cleveland Monsters for most of the 2023-24 regular season. In 46 games there, he scored 19 goals and had 39 points. But he was injured in March, and had been week-to-week.

In 24 games up with Columbus this season, he registered four points in 4th-line duty. He's now been placed on waivers twice this campaign, and cleared both times. He's wrapping up a 2-year, $762,000 cap hit contract with the Blue Jackets.

A former first-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks (26th overall, 2012 Draft), Gaunce has never been an impact player in the NHL, only playing more than 40 games once, and has never come close to registering double-digits in points in a season at the NHL level (topping out at seven points in his first season in Columbus in 2021-22). 

But he's been a solid contributor at the AHL level, and he'll rejoin the Monsters as their captain in time to face Hershey in the East Finals. 

Photo: © Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports