David Van der Gulik’s recall from Manchester doesn’t closely follow the script of a rookie learning that he’s getting promoted for the first time in his career. There won’t be rushes to secure travel plans and tickets for family, and there won’t be packed viewing parties amongst friends and loved ones back home.
Van der Gulik, 31, has appeared in 48 NHL games spread over five seasons.
And yet, there’s still the still the excitement and acknowledgment of the surroundings.
“Honestly, at my age you kind of just go with it and you don’t try to think too much about it,” he said. “My last game last year in Colorado, I got hurt but I left there thinking when I got sent back down ‘you never know if you will get a chance again.’ So I’m happy to be back, and I’ll just try to make the most of my opportunity.”
Van der Gulik scored twice in five games with Manchester. He joined the Kings as part of an emergency recall provision included in Article 50.10 of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, which gives a club $100,000 plus the league’s minimum salary of cap space following a game in which it dressed fewer than 20 players. Jordan Weal was expected to be called up, though potential bonuses would have pushed the average annual value of his salary beyond the $650,000 afforded to the team in Article 50.10.
Robyn Regehr played with Van der Gulik during the six games the forward spent in Calgary in the 2008-09 season, and was also a Northwest Division rival of his when the Abbotsford, B.C. native had moved on to the Colorado organization.
“He’s a guy that provides lots of energy,” Regehr said. “When he’s out there, he’s going to be a straight line guy but he’s going to hit everything and make simple plays with the puck and just be a reliable forward for us. I think that’s what he’s looking to do.”
It’s a similar appraisal of Van der Gulik’s game as the one provided by Assistant General Manager Rob Blake, who called the club’s newest forward “smart, reliable,” and referenced his versatility and his ability to play up and down the lineup.
Van der Gulik has played against the Kings four times in his career, and given his recollections of the team, one would think that his skill set would be complementary to Los Angeles’ efforts.
“I just remember playing in LA they’re such a tough team to play against, so defensive minded and big, big bodies. It was always fun playing against them,” he said. “It’s nice to be on their team and I think the defensive mindset of the team, I think I fit real well with that with my style of play. Hopefully I can come in here and bring some energy and just play my defensive game and fit in that way.”
David Van der Gulik, on when he learned he was being called up from Manchester:
I got the news last night after dinner. Rob Blake, he called me up and I was really surprised honestly. I was not really expecting it, but obviously it’s a great feeling and I’m happy to be here.
Van der Gulik, on whether the Monarchs are aware of the Kings’ roster situations:
There are times where it’s hard not to know what’s going on. Obviously with the big injuries, you know someone is on the IR and stuff. But when guys are day-to-day, you just don’t really know what’s going on. There is obviously a situation going on with the team, so it’s kind of in the news. So you kind of knew that stuff was up. Weal on our team was supposed to come up a couple of day ago, so like I said, I kind of assumed that he was going. Then I got a call, so it was great. It’s not really a feeling you can relate it to. It’s just a good feeling for the career. In your career, you only get it a few times or whenever it happens you don’t take it for granted. It’s always a good feeling.
Van der Gulik, on his season with Manchester:
I was just getting settled in with the family and the season. We just had our home opener last weekend, we were on the road for the first two weeks. So still feeling it out, still kind of getting to know everything about the organization and the coaches are new. A lot of new players, so a lot of new chemistry you have to build, but it’s a really good group of young guys. It’s always nice when a team, there are some guys from last year that already had real good chemistry and when the guys are gelling nice and having fun, that’s the best time.
Van der Gulik, on his family adjusting to Manchester:
I’m married and I have two kids. [Reporter: How old are they?] Two and a half and seven months…I’m from Abbotsford B.C., so we flew out after training camp. The whole family, I flew with them. I had a house rented in Manchester and we got all set up there. My wife is as comfortable as she’s going to be during the season, then I take off. The unknown part is always difficult but it’s part of the job.