Photo Credit: © Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Canucks Sign Erik Gudbranson to One-Year Contract Extension

The Vancouver Canucks announced today that they’ve signed pending restricted free agent defenceman Erik Gudbranson to a one-year contract extension valued at $3.5-million.

Given Gudbranson’s poor debut season with the Canucks, the terms of his contract were unknown and frankly worrisome. Having already signed a bridge deal with the Florida Panthers, one would’ve assumed that his next would be the long-term, large value contract. After concerns regarding what exactly the Canucks would offer, the question was answered when the team announced that they signed the “physical and tough to play against” defenseman to a one-year contract worth $3.5 million

Jim Benning on Gudbranson: “Erik is a big, strong physical defender who I know feels has a lot to prove and has worked diligently in his injury rehab. He has leadership qualities that will be important for our young team and we are excited to see him healthy and back on the blue line next season.”

As a pending restricted free-agent, Gudbranson’s contract is the best case scenario for the Canucks. He had literally no leverage in the negotiations based on his brief, yet poor performance this year. One can certainly make a strong case in saying he doesn’t deserve anywhere near the $3.5M he’s getting. In case you missed it, I recapped his season in the Canucks Army Year in Review.

Gudbranson has one year to prove himself to be anything bigger than a top-6 defenseman. Coming off wrist surgery and having an extended summer for rehab should be more than enough time to prepare for the summer. He will become an unrestricted free agent next July, which means he has one year to prove himself to be anything more than a top-6 defenseman.

Although the dollar amount isn’t representative of the abilities he displayed last season, this contract is definitely applaudable given the circumstances.

  • Rob Robertson

    Does this contract include a no trade/movement? Hopefully not because the best case scenario would be to trade him at the deadline to a contender looking depth in exchange for prospects/picks.

  • Fortitude00

    I like the signing, lock him up for a show me year and either side can move on next year if things don’t work out. 3.5 mill is reasonable for a 4-5 d man and he brings leadership and size. Be nice to see whom coach Green will pair him with.

  • Killer Marmot

    I’m trying to figure out how this fits into the expansion draft.

    It means Sbisa will almost certainly go unprotected. By signing Gudbranson this week, the club might well be choosing which $3.5 million / year man they prefer.

    • Rodeobill

      Is Hutton exposed to the expansion draft? I imagine this signing means they will protect Edler, Tanev, and Guddy, but Hutton played 2 full seasons, does that leave him exposed?

  • Fred-65

    Based on what we saw last season this is a coin flip. Obviously Gudbranson/agent see the same as every one else. Lacking skill and frankly not a lot of intimidation. I don’t see a huge difference between Guddy and Pedan other than Pedan definitely intimidates. Both are off the glass and out types. I hope he surprises me this next season but I’m not holding my breath

    • Jamie E

      You see no difference because you have likely never seen Pedan play – certainly not against NHL competition on D. This idea that we have all these world beaters in Utica is laughable. Yep, talented NHL regulars aplenty, the Canucks are just too stubborn to call them up. That’s the ticket.

  • TheRealPB

    A pleasant surprise and an eminently reasonable contract. Good show-me deal, third in value on the team which is about right (even if Stetcher has already shown more potential). I was really worried we’d see a huge deal being signed but as the article points out he really didn’t have that much leverage. Glad we’re not just walking away from it and hoping that it was the injury that hampered him (though that wasn’t my sense). Also hoping that he (and Sutter) realize that if they want to be leaders they shouldn’t throw their younger teammates under the bus.

  • Roy

    do you mean “laudable”?

    I mean, whatever, Gudbranson was worse than Sbisa at times, there is nothing whatsoever to laud or applaud. Of course Benning is going to sign him, not signing him looks worse than trading for him in the first place. So while we’re at it, let’s trade Tanev and sign some cricket or field hockey players to two-way contracts.

    • Cageyvet

      Edler was worse than Sbisa at times, as was Hamhuis the year before. When I mean worse, I mean jaw-dropping blunders from veteran, top four if not top pairing guys. If you’re not a stud defenseman on this team you’re grist for the mill with all the haters. Neither Sbisa nor Gudbranson are as poor as they are made out to be, just like Bonino is not as wonderful as everyone now claims. Unable to drive the play on his own, he thrives with the 2-in-a-row Stanley Cup Champs, what a shocker. Put our “weaker” players on a team that didn’t feature cast-offs and fringe players throughout the lineup all season long and watch them gain respectability.
      Come on, people, our first unit power play featured Jayson Megna for over 20 games. Our finally-graduated prospect Brendan Gaunce scored zero goals, damn few assists if I recall, and was still scratched several times in a lineup that could instead justify throwing Skille, Chaput, Megna, and even Biega over the boards. This lineup was Swiss cheese, and it’s teams like ours, in times like this, that get what little value they have in their lineup plundered by smart GMs who recognize we lost our judgement when we lost our patience.
      We have nothing but time, you could draft 4 star players this year and we’re still waiting at least 2-3 years for a playoff run, much less a cup. This deal makes total sense, the money is fine, the term is short, the risk is non-existent for a rebuilding team. Then again, maybe we should just trade Gudbranson and Sbisa for a bag of pucks like the no-minds suggest and then we can start another 6 month thread about asset management…….

      • Killer Marmot

        it’s teams like ours, in times like this, that get what little value they have in their lineup plundered by smart GMs who recognize we lost our judgement when we lost our patience.

        On the whole, the Canucks have made some pretty good trades under Benning. The Sutter and Gudbranson ones weren’t great (although not preposterous). The Baertschi, Granlund, Goldobin, and Dahlen trades were excellent.

  • Pat Quinn Way

    “when the team announced that they signed the “physical and tough to play against” defenseman to a one-year contract worth $3.5 million”

    LOL wonderful bit of ‘stealth snark’ here from Vanessa – you go girl!!

    Yes indeed guys a one year ‘show me’ deal is about the best we coulda hoped for out of Benning, seeing as Guddy’s stock is so low in trade value, although i am surpised some here aren’t suggesting we should’ve got Jonathan Drouin outta Tampa in a straight swap lol.

    However, what exactly can Guddy show us now, because he’s been in this league for 6 frickin seasons and his stats prove he is a huge draft bust at 3 when comparbles include the likes of Ryan Johansen (picked 4th the same year), Seth Jones (4th pick), Draisaitl (4rd pick), Hanafin (5th) and even a top two pick Norris winner like Drew Daughty.

    With defensive d men going the way of enforcers and old schoolpower forwards now i’m afraid this has Bennng bust written all over it… again.

  • Bud Poile

    I’m interested to see a healthy,motivated Guddy :
    Gudbranson, who missed 52 games due to injury in 2016.17, recorded six points (1-5-6) and 18 penalty minutes in 30 games in his first season in Vancouver. The 6-5, 220-pound defenceman also ranked second on the team in hits per game with 2.2 and tied for third in blocked shots per game with 1.5.

  • JawKnee

    Who knows, maybe he’ll turn it up after looking disappointing in Florida and also here; doubt it though. Price is high, but the length is okay given that next year is going to be another trash fire anyhow. Maybe Benning (or whoever is the GM prior to the next trade deadline) can actually deal him for something.

  • Rodeobill

    I think alot of people were worried we were gonna handcuff ourselves with his next deal, and kudos to Guds for not pressing for an unreasonable contract too. Who knows different coach, maybe different approach and systems we will see what made him a number 3 pick yet. Last year was an inconsistent and chaotic rats nest of different people in different roles, He didn’t look great, but no one did. Good deal to see how things pan out.

  • Dinsdale

    In this, and your annual recap piece on Gudbranson, you wrote something like, “Coming off wrist surgery and having an extended summer for rehab should be more than enough time to prepare for the summer.”
    Even if you’re a medical professional, how qualified are you to make this claim?