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Photo Credit: NHL.com

McKenzie: Canucks Aiming to Re-Sign Erik Gudbranson

Erik Gudbranson’s tenure in Vancouver may continue past the trade deadline and beyond, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie:

“There are a lot of people in Vancouver who assume that it’s a foregone conclusion that pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Erik Gudbranson will be dealt as a rental at the deadline; but the Vancouver Canucks are not necessarily among those people. Not just yet, anyways.”

Jim Benning essentially confirmed McKenzie’s report in a conversation with friend of the blog Iain MacIntyre, indicating that he feels Gudbranson provides a physical dimension that the team is lacking and that will be needed in insulate the team’s young players: “[W]e want our young players to be able to play and develop without worrying about getting picked on… We need to have guys on our team who will stand up for them.”

It’s worth noting that Jim Benning made similar comments prior to last year’s trade deadline, so perhaps they should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, it’s unlikely the market will bear a price similar to the one the Canucks gave up for Gudbranson this time around. Perhaps the idea of dealing him for a mid-round pick is simply too unpalatable. We’ll have more analysis of the possibility of a new Erik Gudbranson contract as the deadline approaches.

  • Noooooo, please for the love of god don’t resign Gubranson. We need to turn these UFA’s into future assets to help with, you know , the future. Plus time to talk Edler into waiving his NTC or trade Tanev as we need a return for at least one of them.

    • Edler and Tanev are very good players, trading them makes no sense unless there are other good players ready to replace them. Trading them just for the sake of trading them for some picks and prospects blows a giant hole in the already maxed out defence lineup. I would like to know where the defenceman are coming from, unless of course the plan is to get really lousy and be the worst and most utterly hopeless team in the leauge, and then just turn that around at some mythical point in the future when these assets magically become actual really good players.

      • They are the worst team in the league with these players. Why keep them? So we can have assets that worth something and make no changes and then loose those assets for nothing.

        Trade them get picks and fix the holes with stop gap free agents until the new defense crew is ready to take over.

      • I’ve heard that they want Tanev to partner with Juolevi in the future to mentor him and give him a reliable partner to develop with. While I’ve thought trading Tanev would be smart if the return was good enough, I can live with that plan.

        • I thought that myself. Now there is now way you can. All the trading of picks over the years has left a black hole on defense. Tanev will be gone in 2.5 years and this team will still not be near the playoffs. Had they moved additional assets and not traded away all those 2nd rounders we would be in a position to keep him. Now we simply can not. He needs to be moved for at least a defense prospect or a solid 1st rounder which will be used to acquire a defense.

          By sitting around doing nothing we are wasting years of Bo and Boeser as they will never see the playoffs in a Canucks jersey unless moves are made. We are currently on the same path as the Sabres where we have lots of forwards and absolutely nothing for defense.

          • Or they could re-sign Tanev. The Canucks will have plenty of cap space and he might want to continue playing a key leadership role on an improving team with exciting young players.

            I agree that the team’s defence prospects are a weak point that needs improvement. Hopefully the GM can find a way to do that without trading Tanev.

          • EVD.. the problem is you cant fix this team unless you are willing to part with quality. No one wants to give up tanev because hes not good they want to get rid of him because he is the only asset that we have that can bring back a return needed to get this team back in the playoffs and for years there after.

            If I am Tanev why would I want to sign in Vancouver? The team is not good at all and wont be fixed any time soon.

          • A good reason for Tanev resigning is because the Canucks gave him the break to become an NHL player and he’ll have lived in the city for nearly a decade at the end of his current contract?

            Also, don’t forget that we’ve *already bought* 3 years of his UFA status. Tanev would have qualified at age 27 as he hit both markers simultaneous (age 27 and 7 years). But Benning signed him to a deal that pays him $5M+ in his “UFA” years.

      • Yes they are good players, they would have to be to get decent assets back. We need to build for the future and could we really get any worse than we are right now or have been for the past 4 years. We don’t have a winning culture that JB likes to talk about. Is it really a big thing to finish 28th (present) and not drop all the way down to 30th?
        I would much rather have a group of young players pushing hard to crack the line up and build a team together with our core of Bo & Brock. By the time the next wave is ready to make the play-offs Edler will be gone and Tanev will be demanding big bucks and probably be pretty worn out.

    • If they end up signing Gudbranson, guaranteed that means one of their three defencemen who play the same style of game (Hutton, stretcher or Pouliot) will be traded at the deadline. An arguement could be made that these three would get more than Gudbranson

      • While I think all three are significantly better than Gudbranson, only Stetcher might get you a better return. Hutton and Pouliot are both lefties, Stetcher is right. I’m not sure it’s fair to say any of them play a style similar to Gudbranson. Hutton and Stetcher are both very much two-way guys, while Pouliot is a more offense-minded defenceman. Gudbranson is the definition of stay-at-home. Hutton’s value seems low at the moment, and the Canucks just picked up Pouliot for a song. As for Stetcher, if you’re rebuilding, why would you trade the best young defenceman on the team? You trade the older guys, you don’t ditch youth.

        • I agree 100 per cent with Goon’s comments. I’m also more than ready to trade Gudbranson, but I don’t know what we are being offered, or what he might accept to stay. If they sign him, it better not include any trade protection and be in the 3-4 year range so we can move him when we need to. I think we need to move him now, but it’s a lot different look with no big bodies back there where once we had him, Tryamkin and sometimes Pedan, all 6’5″ or taller. I can understand the need for some grit, just not sold on Guddy being the answer anymore

  • Guddy will be easier to move with some cost certainty in a contract no matter what the price is but up to now we have seen almost no guile from Benning. His negotiating style with other GMs, player agents or the media leaves the impression of a lousy poker player. Signing Guddy and then trading him makes sense as long as there is no NTC and if there is a NTC Benning should be fired.

    • Term is more of a problem than cap. If its max 3 years, its survivable. Absolutely there should be not clauses on it. That way, if he improves, but team wants to move on in yr or two, they can always retain salary.

      • It`s a two way street. Being only months away from free agency there is no way Guddy signs for 3 years. A 5×5 and then a trade may be enough to get him signed but even then he will want a restricted list of where he goes. I can`t see Benning coming out of this looking good.

        • Strongly agree. No way Benning offers a deal more than 3 years. My advice would be to trade him, then see what happens with Guddy in July. If Guddy gets an awesome deal from another team, good for him. But if not, Canucks can still offer him a deal more to their liking.

        • A sure sign of a guy who has little to no clue how to do his job. Oh wait, I forgot it’s cause he had no actual previous experience as a GM. Hiring a President purely as a PR stunt to quell the anger (who also had no experience) and a coach (who unbelievably also had no NHL head coaching experience) was definitely the right way to go FA. Moron.

    • People talk about sign-and-trade deals, but they seem to be really rare. I think it’s more likely Benning needs to be seen to make an effort by other teams (maintain Gudbranson’s value) and by the Canucks players (for morale) before turning to the trade option. Or maybe he genuinely wants to re-sign Gudbranson if the price and term are right. I think both are more likely than a sign-and-trade.

  • Get this failure Benning out of my club NOW ffs – this is an absolute joke.

    Slugbranson not only offers NO offensive upside whatsoever in a league all in on puck moving D who put up points, he spends so much time injured his so called physicality is totally irrelevant. Benning’s ideas and opinions on bulding a winning team are as outdated as his haircut and that’s why we are perennial basement dwellers year after year while the likes of Vegas, Jersey, Calgary and Colorado are blowing past us.

    Guddy for picks and Dahlin or Tkachuk in the draft under a new GM who has a clue please… the standings and no playoffs for three straight seasons under Dim Jim simply do not lie… do they?

    • Great post! I love how much hate it generated with all those trashes ha ha. The organization has been transformed under this regime into one with a culture of losing where nobody sticks up for their teammates (the surest sign of a colossal failure). Unfortunate that our garbage owner won’t give the ok to blow it all up keeping only a few pieces and buying out the rest/healthy scratching/demoting.

  • It may be posturing but both Benning and Guddy are correct.
    When NOBODY comes in to intervene when your CALDER candidate and LEAING SCORER is sent head first into the boards we’re dealing with a team of frickin pansies.

    Guddy on the Lewis hit on Boeser:
    “I’m not the only guy that should do it on this team. I think there should have been a pushback. That’s something that I bring & had I been on the ice there would have been something done a little differently.”

    Dorsett provided protection and so does Guddy.
    Petterson,Dahlen,Joulevi,Boeser,Gaudette et al are cannon fodder with this pansy lineup.

    • The issue may be not that more grit is unnecessary, but that it’s too expensive. And in a spot like defense, can’t afford to have someone there just for grit. Put them on the 4th line, sure.

      • Yes, but I’ve been lobbying for grit on defense because, unlike 4th liners, they are on the ice with your stars who need the protection. I’m not disagreeing with you, they can’t have just grit, so trade Guddy, but try and find some grit with talent for your D corps.

      • exactly. Guddy would have come out and done whatever he thinks he would have done and none of that would have changed Boeser getting slammed into the boards. And by the next game it’s all forgotten and the next guy takes a shot at Boeser. Utterly stupid logic that thinks a tough guy stops injury. NEVER happens.

      • Remember how Gudbransen stopped Kadri from hitting Daniel in the head and then intimidated Martin from not jumping Stetcher? You’ve got idiot lazy narratives and then you’re got evidence.

      • Let’s say Boeser had his collarbone or neck broken or had a serious concussion.Any of those could easily have happened or will happen if/when he gets run again.
        Any serious injury to this present and future star is a tragedy at any time and most especially on this club right now.
        It’s Benning’s responsibility to protect him and all the young men that are coming up.
        Dorsett needed a hand and texted Guddy immediately after he was acquired.
        Virtanen isn’t anywhere willing to assume that role with Dorsett gone.
        Those saying violence and deterrance are not realities could care less about Boeser or Gudbranson but most especially Benning.

        • You need to show some evidence — ANY evidence — that this kind of deterrence actually works in practice. Having Hordichuk, Glass and Rypien didn’t stop anyone taking cheap shots against Daniel and Henrik (and injuring them in some occasions), anymore than having Glass, Oreskovich, Bieksa or Torres on the ice in the SCF stopped Marchand from speed bagging Daniel.

          If this is the reason to resign Gudbranson — a slow, ineffective, poor decision maker — then we are in much bigger trouble than this signing alone would indicate.

    • Re sign Guddy and look for at least two gritty forwards that will show up when necessary, this team is so easy to play against. All the skill means nothing come playoff time if you don’t have size, grit and willingness to stand up for each other

      • This team wont be in the playoffs for 10 years unless they start adding defense that can actually play hockey. At this point everyone knows that guddy can not. Also, why you trade tanev now before he leaves as a free agent and we have an even bigger hole.

        • But you’re forgetting about our future stud Dman in Juolevi. He’ll come and rescue the team from pansiness….right after he figures out how to stop himself from being healthy scratched in Finland.

    • The hit was on a powerplay, which Gubrandson does not play on. Acquiring knuckle-draggers to protect star players is an out-dated notion, because such players are rarely on the ice at the same time as the star-players and thus can’t react when incidents such as the hit from behind occur. All they can do is grit their teeth from the bench until they get on the ice and get a chance to hit another 4th liner. The only players that can initiate a response of any sort are the other star players on the ice, and none of those are goons on the Canucks. The only way acquiring ‘grit’ will make any difference is if they are star grit.

  • If his value is so low right noe maybe it’s best if we can resign him… maybe it’s cheap and he can improve. Gotta try to be optimistic sometimes!! 2 injury riddled seasons… I would give him 1 more shot and hope for the best. Maybe a 2 year bridge deal

  • I heard Linden on the radio yesterday. It really is time to consider him the source of many of the poor roster decisions in Vancouver. He is not just there to be Benning’s spokesman.

    Linden spoke much more positively about Guddy than he did about Benning. He went on about how the organization really values what Guddy brings to the team and how they are working to get a deal.

    Fire Benning if you want but the bigger part of the problem will still exist.

        • This isn’t about who said what. The Canucks have made some rather poor signings and trades. Where does the accountability for those deals lie? Listening to Linden it seems increasingly clear he has supported, participated in, approved and even directed many of the moves that have been made. His role is greater than simply spokesperson.

          Linden picked Benning and I don’t think the concerns you and others have about Benning are solved by firing Jimbo. The Oilers have floundered under numerous GMs because the vision of how to put together a roster has stayed the same. If you want to change the direction in Vancouver firing Benning will accomplish less than changing the head of hockey operations.

  • If canucks want to keep Guddy, then the issue will be to find him a good left side partner. Hutton and MDZ have not worked. Maybe Pouliot, but what he really needs is a Tanev.

  • Ask any of the young Canucks if they are glad Gudbranson is their teammate? Didn’t Boeser just get cross checked from behind into the boards? He makes opposing fwd’s keep their head up on the rush (just ask T. Hall).
    Lets not over pay or over term. Erik will be an important part of this team to develop and protect the young players (for a few years). We don’t have any other veteran D-men who can fill this role.

      • Well it certainly makes opposing players think twice if they know a cheap shot will be responded to. You run our star player and we run yours. You could say it calms the game having that element on your team. Theres a reason Dorsett was always saying he needed help in that department. Makes your skilled guys play bigger with a little more room.

        • no it doesn’t. You think Marchand ever thinks about “the response” before he goes in for the flying elbows? Grow up. They don’t care. They aren’t thinking about anything except making the hit the want to make. tough guys have never once ever in the history of the world prevented an injury in hockey. It’s a fairy tale.

          • They care about getting suspended, about losing their paycheques and not being able to help their teams on the ice. That’s why better rules, tougher suspensions, and better player oversight leads to reduced injuries.

            It’s bizarre that this is even an argument (though Bud seems to take the position that is opposed by evidence in every instance). The NHL has tightened up the rules and enforcement, NHL GMs have realized enforcers bring little to the game, and injuries as a result of dirty play are *way* down compared to the 80s or 90s. The idea that rolling back the clock and throwing out thugs on the ice to “keep them honest” is the way to go is just asinine.

          • Marchand is maybe an exception but most guys don’t wanna get hit and even less so hit hard. You don’t think a heavy hitting tough team doesn’t prevent they’re own players getting hurt. Maybe a couple less finished checks out there? A little more stick checking? I think so. Nobody is scared playing the Nuck’s. They desperately need more robustness for lack of a better term.

          • He’s not though. Cooke, Tkachuk, Lapierre, Claude Lemieux, Torres…..they’re all the same. They don’t care about your teams tough guy. Not one little bit.

  • You think if the Canucks really ‘valued’ Gudbranson they’d have signed him for a multi year deal in the off-season. Certainly nothing he’s done this year would all of a sudden change their views on him. How many times on that radio hit did Linden say that rehearsed line: “we really value what he brings”! Sure you do, TL!

    It’s obvious what’s happened when recent comments have come out about the possibility of signing both Vanek and Gudbranson. For Guddy, they’re obviously not seeing the deals they’d like at this point – if they take a big loss in the trade compared to what they gave up for him it only highlights their ineptness. They’d rather pretend they want him and sign him than have the optics of getting peanuts back for a guy they gave a 24th and 33rd overall pick for (not to mention downgraded a 4th to a 5th). While they’re at they get a little posturing in there in case someone ups the ante.

    As for Vanek – just flip the guy for crying out loud. Get whatever you can for him and fill that vacancy in the summer. Stop pretending he’s so important for the young guys. What’s important is they get more young guys to ensure this team has a future.

    • Can’t say I disagree with you on this one. Only would add that these are press statements. They are meaningless. Just like the people who get their panties in a bunch when Benning made the “Sutter is a ‘foundational’ piece”. It’s simply what managers say to the press. It’s there version of the “I’m just trying to contribute to the team” boring press talk the players give.

      I do disagree a bit with regards to vanek though. The guy is headed for a near 60 point season. He’s bringing way more than just importance for the young guys. He’s 34. No reason to think he can’t do this again for the next 2 seasons at least. Is a third round pick going to ever give us a season of even 40 points? Not likely. Re signing Vanek does make sense. Much more sense than signing Gudbranson. Sorry but sometimes a player’s performance now is more important than the long shot odds of a single 2nd round or later draft pick. We keep crying for guys who can score and now that we’ve got one everyone wants him shipped out….lol. I say no lower than a second rounder for him or just resign him.

      • I like Vanek but this franchise needs difference making players for down the road. Despite the low odds of draft picks turning into that you have to at least give yourself the opportunity – even if it’s just a 3rd or 4th rounder. It’s like if you had to make a basket from half-court – the more opportunities the better.

        This team doesn’t need to be good next year and needs to face the fact that they won’t – Vanek or not. Stop the nonsense and keep building for 2-3 years from now. As well, there’s going to be other ‘Vaneks’ available in the off-season if you still want – maybe even Vanek himself.

        • well…ideally I would like to see the wink wink trade him sign him thing. The more opportunities the better but not at any cost. You still have to weigh it. You’d trade Vanek for a 7th rounder if that’s all that was offered? Really? The here and now does matter. Just ask Edmonton. And as for the “Chances from half court”….well…some people just suck at basketball and it’s never going in. Even if you gave them 100 shots. The lower you pick the more chance it’s just never going to go in. But Vanek for the next two years would be like having Curry at the freethrow line. You know you’re going to get some production.

          And I personally don’t believe turnarounds for NHL franchises have to take that long. We’ve got a good solid foundation of young players now and they can start to be complemented by decent mid age or Vanek type players. It could easily happen in the next two years. Just look at the Avs. The cap era and teams under cap pressure have turned the NHL into a bouncy league where teams can be out of the playoffs one year and back in the next. It’s not this old school idea of be good for a decade, then fade away and then have a long rebuild.

          Management does have to make good decisions though. They start with balancing these ideas. Not just taking any old thing out of desperation, for productive players.

      • B.S. Smart managers create reasonable expectations for their players through interviews. Dumb guys make “foundational” statements because they truly feel that way or they are trying to toot their own horn. Dumb guys talk about other players under contract and get fined for tampering too. Why would a smart guy put so much pressure on a player like Sutter?

        • Give me a break. Like calling him a “foundational player” is going to pressure him. Like they haven’t sat Sutter down and explained his role and expectations. You must be pretty sensitive if you think being called a foundation piece is too much pressure…lol.

  • I have no problem re-signing him, sure he has had injury problems, but I am not talking a long term contract. In defensive hockey modules, years 27-30 are prime. A two year bridge at 3.5 would work for both parties. If he wants more, toss him.

  • Gudbranson’s value to the Canucks and other teams increases with cost certainty. Responsible management explores all options. And this is not to say they will sign him… But you want to inquire.

    I am amazed that no one even commented on the first part of MacKenzie’s tweet… The Canucks are getting a ton of offers.

    Cue last year’s outrage at not asking anyone to waive their NTC….

    • If one or two of the offers were reasonable he’d be gone by now. It’s likely the offers underwhelm based on the fact that G’s a free agent in a few months and can go wherever he wants. Don’t forget, Benning knows G’s asking price because he negotiated with him over the summer, right before he tried to unload him to Florida. You think G’s asking for less now then he did then? And there’s no way he agrees to a sign and trade either when he’s literally months away from picking his next team.

  • Hmm. The Canucks are short two top-line forwards, two top-pair defensemen, a starting goalie, and miscellaneous other parts. Yes, signing a #7 defenseman should be a priority. This team’s management could deliver a doctorate course on how to suck forever.
    Here’s the lineup after trading for picks at the TDL and over the summer, and before drafting in late June:
    F:
    X1-X2-Boeser
    Baertschi-Horvat-Virtanen
    Granlund-Sutter-X3
    X4-X5-Dorsett
    X6-Gaunce
    D:
    X1-X2
    Huttton-Stecher
    DelZotto-Tanev
    X7
    G:
    X8
    X9
    Keep the Sedins for the rest of the year (and at $1MM/yr each plus bonuses, for another year too).
    Sell, waive, or buyout everybody else. Yes, Gaunce can be replaced by X10, but he has some use as a fill-in. And if you’re fond of Markstrom or Nilsson, keep one as a backup for now, but neither one is reliable enough for that role and neither one is a starter. Whoever can’t be sold or waived by the TDL gets to fill a hole for the rest of the season. Rebuild starts at the draft.

  • If Gudbranson’s such a liability, then why is he tied for second best +/- defensemen behind Tanev +6 on the team? I know +/- is not highly very valued on this site but you’d think the opposing teams would be taking advantage of a weak defensive pairing. His partners are always much worse +/-. Is it possible what he lacks in foot speed he makes up in front of net presence and ability to clear pucks and prevent dirty goals. I think Benning is right… we can’t be too soft and be intimidated… reminds me of the Boston final, IMO being intimidated and Luongo’s chokefest lost the cup. The game has changed to faster smaller teams true, but that doesn’t mean toughness is not important… maybe Gary Roberts, Doug Gilmour type player are the way to go… combo of scoring and grit. If we’re loaded with pansies (which we are) then a couple of Gudbranson’s are necessary… especially in the playoffs where it matters.

  • The eg saga all points to the indecisiveness of management. Jb and tl are without doubt over their heads and abilities. The club should say adios to both. Nothing can be done about the owners but they have not made a good move in ten years. Fasten your seat belts its going to be a while before the Canucks frighten anyone.

  • The whole narrative about team toughness is wrong. It’s not about having one guy as the “designated fighter”. It’s about not taking crap from your opponents and not giving up. Let’s look at the “Matt Martin is dead” situation. Martin jumps Stecher, Gudbranson has a *staged* fight in the next game because he has too. At that point, Gudbranson was already backpedalling on the comment. What pissed me off about that game was that Kadri blindsided Daniel and it was HANSEN that stepped up to fight immediately. Where was Gudbranson then? Where was that Hansen-type player when Boeser got hit? We don’t need enforcers, we need engines like Kesler and Horvat. We have a loser team culture and I don’t think Gudbranson’s presence changes that. Guys like Horvat who never gives up on a play, Boeser, who scores on the subsequent power play after dirty hit, or the Sedins who are elite despite the media namecalling and dirty hits they’ve had to endure, they are the ones that epitomize real toughness.

  • I hope that this is all to be taken with a grain of salt, just like “foundational player” and “we’re not moving any vets” from last year. Because as has been repeatedly demonstrated, Gudbranson is not worth paying the money he thinks he’s worth. He has an inflated sense of whatever it is he thinks he brings and luckily a lot of other GMs seem to think so too. We should get out while we can from this disaster. He is slow, cannot make decisions fast enough, transition dies on his stick, and he calls out all kinds of others while not really showing a great deal of toughness on the ice. One or two hits a game and the occasional fight doesn’t do it. Biega, MDZ and Edler all hit more than him. Gudbranson’s also been injured a lot. Whatever respect I had for him went out the door when he threw Hutton under the bus last year. Pass on resigning him. Forget about the price paid (instead of keeping on about the draft picks, let’s talk about the real cost which was McCann — a bottom six prospect at this point — Mascherin — who seems like he has some potential but he’s small — and Ang who I don’t think is any better than Candella who we got for flipping those picks)