Cameron Gaunce didn’t stand out for the Texas Stars this season, and that’s when he was at his best.
A solid, stay-at-home defenseman, Gaunce had just 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists) in the regular season but was rarely on the ice for a goal against and finished with plus-15 — second-best for Texas defensemen behind Patrik Nemeth (plus-19).
In the playoffs Gaunce has just four points. But three of them came in the biggest game in franchise history and he dished out three assists in the Calder Cup clinching victory.
“Every game there was someone else who could have been the hero,” Gaunce said. “A couple blocked shots, a couple big defensive plays. And obviously the big-time goals. We knew that from the start it wasn’t going to be a one-line team to win it.”
A Calder Cup title capped a successful first full season with the Dallas organization. In addition providing leadership in the AHL — he was one in the rotation of players who wore an “A” as an assistant captain — Gaunce also played nine games with Dallas when the NHL defense was hit hard by injuries.
Now a restricted free agent, Gaunce may or may not be in the Stars future plans.
While Gaunce could provide organizational depth, he’s been passed on Dallas’ depth chart by Patrik Nemeth and possibly Jamie Oleksiak. Gaunce will also qualify as veteran next season, giving Jim Nill and Scott White another factor to consider when deciding whether or not to qualify the 24-year-old.
Texas has spoken with Derek Meech about bringing him back for next year and captain Maxime Fortunus is already on an AHL deal for the 2014-15 season. If Gaunce and Meech both return, half of Texas potential defenseman could be veterans — a situation the Stars may want to avoid.
“I am honestly not too sure,” Gaunce said. “That’s what I have an agent for. I think I did a good job of taking care of my end of things this year, I guess I’ll leave that up to him.”
“You’re at the point now where there’s a couple options,” he continued. “You could feel helpless in the fact you have nothing left for you to control. Or you can realize there’s nothing left for you to control and just move on from it.”