Gulls A-Z Profile: Luke GazdicAug 25, 2019
SanDiegoGulls.com highlights each player from A-Z heading into the 2019-20 season, breaking down the roster and what's to come from each individual.
It didn’t take long for Luke Gazdic to create a liking to the Gulls. It also didn’t take long for Gulls fans to take a liking to the grizzled, 30-year old. The 10-year veteran has seen the likes of four other organizations in his career but there was something unique about the city, the fan base and the camaraderie among the players in San Diego. After his first season with the Gulls, the Toronto, Ontario native knew he wanted to remain with the club and signed a one-year contract Aug. 14 through the 2019-20 AHL season.
The forward is no stranger to the Pacific Division, both in the NHL and the AHL. Gazdic has appeared in AHL games for the Gulls, Stockton Heat, (2017-18) and Bakersfield Condors (2015-16), while also spending parts of three seasons with Edmonton from 2013-16 before a brief stint with the New Jersey Devils organization in 2016-17. He has a total of 147 career NHL gams under his belt and the 30-year-old brings a wealth of experience but that doesn’t mean he is done evolving.
That trend will undoubtedly continue for the team and Gazdic. With a firm roster still to be determined, it is guaranteed that there will be a mix of veterans and players still in the infancy of their career. Last season, the sixth round (172nd overall) selection by Dallas of the 2007 NHL Draft recorded seven points (3-4=7) and 39 PIM in 20 games with the Gulls. He also skated in one Calder Cup Playoff contest, Game 5 of the Pacific Division Finals at Bakersfield. Unfortunately Gazdic’s season was plagued with the uncertainty of injuries and the AHL’s veteran rule, but the forward understood his role with San Diego.
But it was his first few games to begin the season that game fans a glimpse of what the 6-4, 225-pound forward can bring. In his San Diego debut he collected an assist. His next appearance saw him net a career-tying two goals, the first two San Diego goals, to begin a Gulls comeback from a four-goal deficit which eventually saw the club force overtime and eventually fall in a shootout.
He adorned himself to Gulls fans while sticking up for teammates in games against Ontario in December and April, most notable the Dec. 22 fight against Jamie Devane in a spirited bout that energized the San Diego bench in another comeback attempt that earned the club a point.
“From day one, Dallas Eakins has made it known to me whenever I get in, I have to contribute and do the things that make me successful,” said Gazdic following his return to the Gulls lineup late last season. “That’s what I tried to, tried to help the boys out on the score sheet and, obviously, sticking up for my teammates a little bit.”
After 360 career AHL games and 543 professional games, Gazdic is gearing up for another season in a town and organization he feels attached to. Along with the season opener and a playoff rematch Oct. 4 at Bakersfield, the home opener Oct. 18 against one of his former teams in Stockton can’t come soon enough.