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
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) June 15, 2017
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.