While the Colorado Avalanche shied away from making any huge deals before last week’s trade deadline, one of the small moves they made could easily be described as puzzling. The Avalanche sent defense prospect Cameron Gaunce, their second-round pick in 2008, to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Tomas Vincour.
Gaunce was one of the more promising prospects in the organization, scoring six goals and putting up 27 points in the AHL for the Lake Erie Monsters while recording a plus-16 rating. In 11 career NHL games, he had one goal and 16 penalty minutes. Vincour was a late pick of the Stars in 2009, and has seven goals and 15 points in 78 career NHL games. He had 13 goals and 28 points with the Texas Stars this season, and had a goal and an assist in his debut for the Monsters. Both players are set to be free agents at the end of the season when their entry-level deals expire, and while Vincour is the more likely of the two to see a call-up in the final month of the season it will be interesting to see if he sticks around next season.
The Avalanche are deep at defense in the lower levels of their system, but many of those players are at least a few years from being ready for the NHL. Gaunce is valued for playing a physical game while also making smart decisions with the puck, and could have seen more time with the Avalanche in another season or two. There are many problems the Avalanche need to address in the offseason, since they took care of little at the deadline. If Vincour can get into a few games, it could soften the blow of having to part with a top prospect.