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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

WWYDW: The Other Shoe Finally Drops

After weeks of speculation that the Canucks priority had shifted with Erik Gudbranson to a point where they’d rather re-sign the pending unrestricted free agent defenceman, the deal finally came together.

Yesterday morning, the Canucks signed Gudbranson to a three-year contract valued at $12-million, for an AAV of $4-million (that’s his cap hit). The deal is somewhat frontloaded, and by the final year of Gudbranson’s contract, his actual salary drops to about $3-million.

I’d think that at this stage you’re all aware of how most of the staff at CanucksArmy feels about the Gudbranson extension. Clearly, it doesn’t matter what we think though. What about you? What’s your take on the Gudbranson contract?

I want to hear whether you are in favour of the contract or not, and why. Just a simple yes or no and an explanation.

Last week I asked: What would you do if you were in Canucks general manager Jim Benning’s shoes? Is there anything you would do to shake things up? Basically, what type of hockey trade would you make with this roster. Try and steer clear of the obvious sell-off deals, too — get creative!

apr:

I take it everyone should be available outside Brock and Bo, the NMCs, and Benning favourites Sutter, Tanev, Stecher, and JV. Outside the UFA, the only hockey trades to make are with Hutton and Baertschi. That said, there is probable a secondary market for Biega and Dowd. I do think JB will be active and the Nucks will have a few more draft picks for sure.

Burnabybob:

In 2-3 years time, the Canuck top four figures tentatively to be Juolevi, Tanev, Stecher, and whomever the Canucks draft in the first round this year. (I’m assuming Benning takes a d-man who develops into a solid NHLer.)

Hutton doesn’t really figure to be part of that top group. He seems to have already reached his plateau, which is a useful depth player who can potentially fill in on the top four when injuries arise. Considering where the Canucks are in their rebuild, I wouldn’t hold on to a player like that. As many writers on this site have said, Canuck management needs to roll the dice on draft picks that might turn into impact players. They aren’t going to the playoffs this year, so they don’t need insurance players like Hutton.

I would also trade Vanek and Gudbranson for best offer. Not a “creative” approach, but it’s what the Canucks need to do right now. Stockpile draft picks and hope to hit a home run, or at least a double.

I would therefore try to move Hutton,

Goon:

Benning should be entertaining offers on almost every player on the team.

Edler’s been playing very well lately and I have a hard time believing a contending team wouldn’t pay a lot to add him, especially if the Canucks retain a bit of salary. I also have a hard time believing Edler wouldn’t waive his NTC if it meant a chance at a Stanley Cup, which he has to know he isn’t getting again in Vancouver. If you can get a 1st round pick or a quality prospect and a depth pick for him, make that move.

Likewise, Tanev could net a fine return and everyone is looking to add a top-end right shot shutdown defenceman. The Lightning and Leafs in particular are teams that could benefit from Tanev and have the ability to pay. A 1st and a prospect is probably the starting point.

If the Sedins are coming back next year and Petterson is likely coming over, I’d also take a serious look at moving Sutter, as another Gudbranson-like player whose reputation is probably higher than his play warrants. With Petterson and Gaudette both likely getting a crack at making the roster next season, and with Gaunce, Dowd, and Gagner filling in the depth centre roles, it makes sense to move Sutter if you can get a decent return. A middle-six centre in his prime, signed for several more seasons, with a reputation for defensive acumen and an ability to score goals should net the team a very decent return as well.

FireGillis:

Would love to see vanek get traded and then resigned. I also think we need to trade Gudbranson, he’s horrible and has a decent trade value

myshkin:

i would trade linden for lou lamoriello when his contract expires with the leafs. lou would be great at contracts and he doesn’t suffer fools.

Forever1915:

1) Vanek to Boston (with 50% retained salary) for Alex Khokhlachev.
2) Baertschi to Nashville for Dante Fabbro. Alternatively, for Alex Carrier and a high draft pick.
3) Goldobin for Max Domi.

BendingCorners:

No rush. Move Vanek and Gudbranson now, and a few more over the summer or even over the next 2-3 years. Some of the current players and prospects will be useful or starring members of a future Cup-contending team (maybe 3-4 years from now, hopefully). Many others can be moved for best available price between now and then. They don’t all have to be moved this month or this summer, but no good offer should be refused.

Projecting the gaps in that future roster is for fools, but I gladly rush in. Two top-six wingers and two top-pair defensemen need to be found via draft or trade over the next 3 years to make that 4th year a potentially very good one. Get as many picks as possible to help keep the bottom half of the roster young and cheap, and get some high picks to help fill the remaining (projected) gaps. The other spots, provisionally at least, have names penciled in.
A bit of a challenge; I hope Benning succeeds.

  • Waffles

    I do not like the signing. I think it’s a huge misstep to sign a 6th defenseman, at best, to a $4M AAV contract. If this is just to pump up his value prior to a trade, then I would be more okay with it. However, it doesn’t look that way so I’m not pleased that this is GMJB’s first move after getting an extension himself.

      • LTFan

        By signing Gudbranson the Canucks are keeping an asset. If he was to be traded at this years deadline, the team acquiring him knows what they will have to pay and how it will impact their Cap requirements.
        IMO we should look beyond the actual deal and how JB is managing this asset. There was no way JB was going to allow Gudbranson to walk away at the end of the season and not get something for him. Many moving parts in this deal and others.

      • DJ_44

        Gudbranson’s contract makes him a far more valuable asset for the Canucks, however they choose to proceed. Rental players are always risky, and GMs a becoming (rightfully so) of giving up big futures for them. The market is reportly soft for rentals, especially second tier.

        Trading Gudbranson for a third? No thanks. Keep him and play him with Edler on the first pairing and what his numbers rise dramatically. He is 26, and under a very reasonable contract for three years. A trade for futures, if that is how the Canucks want to go, can now be made tomorrow, at the TDL, or over the summer prior to the draft. It was wise asset management, plain and simple.

  • No. Another example of Benning massively overpaying for marginal players. As the first move after his extension, it does not instill confidence that he has any vision, idea of how to return the team to relevance, or ability to objectively evaluate his own players.

  • DogBreath

    They paid a lot for him, but he would have got that July 1. If tryamkin was here I doubt Benning makes that deal. That said we do need more snarl on D (assuming he brings that).

    Let’s hope Hutton is dealt for a high-ish draft pick or equivalent prospect. Young D have value. He, stretcher, Pouliot, MDZ are too much of the same kind of Defenceman.

  • TD

    I’m okay with the signing. By all the TV commentators and analysts standards, the deal was below market value. He is not a top 4 d man at this point although he has been good with Edler and is one of our best penalty killers, last night not withstanding. The prospect pool (and the league as a whole) is devoid of right shot defencemen which also adds some value. He fills a short term need for a right shot defenceman now and some toughness. This contract seems to be set up to trade him at next years deadline. He would have 20 games left as at 4.6 prorated and then be on a club friendly deal for the last year of the contract. That should make Gudbranson a desirable asset at that time.

  • Holly Wood

    I am in favour of the signing. I like the term and that there is not a no trade clause. You need some size and grit in any lineup especially now with all the soft players. To go out and acquire a 6’5 defenceman with his experience would cost an awful lot through a trade or free agency. If you draft one you would be waiting several years. Now for management to find a couple more forwards with grit that can play and compliment what Gudbranson and Archibald provide

  • Steamer

    Re: Guddy; I’d have tried trade, but don’t think keeping him = ‘the sky is falling’. There has to be somebody who makes opposing players think twice about in the D-zone – for now, only see Guddy in that role as far as team D goes.

  • TheRealPB

    Blech. This ranks with the non-action on TDL 2016 as my least favorite moments of the Benning regime. So now the hope is that he somehow transforms into not Cam Barker. Heaven help us.

  • Dirty30

    Yes. Its an almost perfect ‘show me your assets’ contract that allows management to save face; it allows Guddy to show what he might do (albeit under very sheltered conditions); it allows the team to trade him to whatever GM falls in love with Guddy; its not an onerous or egregious amount of money and in the third year could look good. The contract is very moveable, particularly in year one and three, so he can be moved sooner or later. As well, as trade bait, interested teams have salary assurance for three years, which makes Guddy less of a rental who can sign elsewhere if a team gives up significant assets to acquire him.

    And can anyone really argue he would be the difference either way to this team being competitive or not over the course of his contract?

    Most important: its not an Erikson, Sutter, Sbisa, Miller or Gagner contract. Heck, you can put Guddy on waivers if you had to. So this isn’t as much a ‘keeper’ contract, as one that maximizes the opportunities to get rid of him easily.

    That’s the kind of contract this team needs more of going forward.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      A 26 yr old big, physical D-man that skates well. Furthermore do we have any big physical veteran D-men at the moment? No. Just Tanev and Edler. I like the signing and the 3 year term, with no clauses attached. Good signing by the Canucks.

  • Fred-65

    Three things are becoming apparent.
    A) VCR. more than ever needs a Capologist
    B) JB does tend to be vain, he sees Gudbranson as a must sign to cover up the initial trade
    C) The team needs a reset for it’s Pro scouts, they keep recommending poor additions to the roster ie EG and LE et al

    • crofton

      I don’t think EG is a poor recommendation, he’s just a bit overpaid, and now that he has a contract, JB can be patient about accepting any offers he may get for him. And no one disliked the LE acquisition, again, maybe overpaid a bit but we reasonably expected at least a 25 -30 goal scorer. Even Sutter that JD and others hate, is a good player, just somewhat overpaid, and I think that is the main reason for the hate.

  • OMAR49

    I don’t have a problem with the signing. First of all, most of the experts feel the Canucks would be lucky to get a 3rd round pick. While you can get lucky on occasion the odds of a 3rd round draft pick making the NHL are in the 30% range so we are not losing that much by not trading him. Second, I’ve seen a variety of statistics which indicate he is a bad but those same statistics also indicate that Biega should be the teams #1 D-Man which makes me question the validity of those statistics. I believe statistics are valuable tools but you need to take other factors into consideration. Now. I don’t think he is any better than a 2nd pairing D-Man and on a better team would be 3rd pairing at best. In that regard he is being overpaid, however, that has partially been offset by the fact there is no NTC in the contract. In any event this signing will neither make or break the Canucks but it will provide a bit more muscle so it is a contract I can live with.

  • Dirk22

    Signing a bottom pairing defencemen for $4 mill a year because he’s big and good looking probably isn’t the most astute move, no.

    On the other hand, looking ahead to 2018-19, it may help secure a shot at Jack Hughes.

  • Not a fan of the signing but it could have been worse as the term and cap hit are not much more than what we’ve already seen. No NTC handcuffs either. Now that it’s a done deal, let’s hope that Gudbranson develops into the Top 4 D that Benning envisions.

  • livininvic

    No.

    Intangibles aren’t worth $4 million, hitting people isn’t worth $4 million, and I question this whole “leadership” thing, since his way of leading seems to be blaming those around him for not performing.

    We could probably buy everything positive he brings to the team for $1 million in the off season. I’m also worried about the precedent this deal sets for future defense negotiations. Imagine, hypothetically, there were a better defenseman than Guddy on this team… how do you extend them for less than $4 million?

    Combining what the front office thinks of him with his draft pedigree, I’m readying myself for the announcement of Captain Gudbranson.

  • liqueur des fenetres

    With this signing Benning is signalling that the next 2-3 years will be like the last 2-3 years, and since his contract was just renewed you have to assume that ownership is on board. The stakes are quite high for him though, because if things don’t magically turn around in year 3 he’ll be out the door.

    Anyone heard what if anything was being offered for Gudbranson? Because with a little more data the math nerds should be able to calculate the monetary value of a draft pick (assuming one or two were being offered in trade for G).

  • argoleas

    Part of the problem of this conversation is that it cannot be separated from the assets given up to get Gudbranson in the first place. If this was just a simple UFA signing, that’s a different debate. So let’s leave that aside.

    Part of my concern about retaining Guddy is that he takes up a valuable defensive spot that now needs to be properly sheltered. I like grit and toughness as much as the next person, but do we need that from defense at the cost of bona-fide defense. So now, you have to play Guddy with Edler to shelter him, since no other pairing, maybe for Pouliot, works. So now this forces you to make key roster decisions about keeping Edler after next year. You sure as hell will not put Joulevi with him (maybe after a few seasons). So this is one aspect of the domino effect that Guddy’s presence causes.

    Now, from the Canucks perspective, I see it this way: Yes he needs to be sheltered, but with Edler, he could form a good top 4 pair. And yesterday, in even-strength, as well as a few previous games, they would say, there is promise. So in other words, with the right partner, their hope is that he effectively can become a top 4 Dman. This is by far IMO the key to their reasoning. Because if to this you add what appears to be his genuine popularity in the dressing room, and all the other leadership intangibles, him being RD in a system that basically has none, then they feel $4M is suddenly not bad. And with no trade protection and not too much term, they can more easily extricate themselves from this contract. And in the end, he is the devil you know as opposed to any other UFA that may or may no be there in the summer so you can save yourself a few millions.

    • TD

      I sort of agree about the need to shelter Gudbranson, but the flip side of the argument is that he could be part of a suitable top two pairing if partnered with Edler. IF (big if) that happens, then we have signed a top for d man for 4 mil. That’s quite palatable and would up his trade value if other players are pushing to get into the line up. Until partnered with Edler, he has only played with fringe d men.

      • argoleas

        My expectation is that Edler and Guddy will form a pair for the next few years as the rest of the D corps is rebuilt around Pouliot, Stecher, Joulevi, maybe Tryamkin, Tanev and whoever they trade for him, and possibly their 2018 1st rounder, and others.

  • Gino über alles

    Yes, I like this signing. Ultimately it may be a face-saving signing on both sides; Benning to not let a player whom he sunk significant assets towards walk away and Gudbranson as he may be left short of the money and term he thought he could get as a UFA. You can tell Benning isn’t totally happy with how this trade worked out as he only signed him to 3 years and you can tell Gudbranson isn’t totally happy with his play as if he was then he could have asked for more than $4m/per. Call it a draw, it’s a reasonable deal and won’t hurt the team (much) in the years ahead.

    This is a big signing if he remained a 3rd pairing guy but Guddy can play with Edler on the top line, and the Canucks are positioned to carry that quite well over the term of the deal. He’s a quality person, has the character you need in the dressing room, and will provide leadership and a physical presence on the back end. Remember how vital character is during a rebuild, the youth of the team need that and will be thrilled that he’s around.

    You never want to go full Oilers…

  • Rodeobill

    A tentative yes.
    Unlike many people here and talking heads, I question the idea that he has leadership qualities and is a great team guy in the dressing room. I am admittedly distant from the reality of that situation, but what I get from him is he seems lost, uninvested, or perhaps unable to find his role. I get the sense that he wants that, and when people say “we haven’t seen the best that he has to offer in Van” that this is a big part of it. This deal is not what he perhaps thought he would get a few years ago, but it does show an investment in him, and in spite of the media. The gamble is if this investment in him is the catalyst for him to invest in his team and the organization. Play with passion, be that team guy, and provide those intangibles we want from him. If he can do that, I think his game will pick up more too (I’m not expecting him to be a first pair stud, but try harder, check harder, shoot more, clean up the details a little, etc.)
    The other reason is I do believe this team will be much better 3 years from now (I know, call me an optimist), in then his numbers should hopefully rise with the tide, and hopefully his trade value as well. I also believe that they could not move him right now and thought this gamble preferable to losing him for nothing.

  • defenceman factory

    No I do not agree with re-signing Gudbranson.

    It is not about the $$, term or the value of players with Gudbranson’s strengths. The vision for this team is supposed to be about getting hard to play against. Guddy simply does not move the puck well enough to make the Canucks difficult to play against. A 220lb Horvat on a hard forecheck is difficult to play against, the way Tanev frustrates opposing forwards is difficult to play against, the way Boeser’s shot can thread a needle in a heartbeat is hard to play against. Even the way Jake can drive the net is hard to play against (maybe that’s a reach). Whenever you can hem a team in their own end as often as that happens to Guddy that is not hard to play against.

  • jaybird43

    Not a fan of the signing, nor the dollars. He’s a 6/7 defenceman, being paid 3ish dollars. And his footspeed is too slow to expect him to improve much, if at all, over his remaining 3.33 years. Blahhhh …

  • Puck Viking

    Fire Benning and Linden.. They have 6 million in Luoi, 3.5 Gagner, 4 Gudbranson, 4.5 Sutter and all are terrible and bottom end players. If none of those players were on the team guess where we would be.. thats right one of the bottom 5 teams in the league and where are we today oh thats right bottom 5 team in the league.

  • Puck Viking

    This management group is a joke. Last years deadline was fluke. They clearly have no plan and no idea what the hell they are doing. 4 million a year for 6 or 7 dman on the worst defense in the league instead of adding assets and just signing a player in the off season, maybe even this very same player.. Benning and Linden are JOKESSSS

  • BC SPORTS FAN

    Terrible signing. Now they are bragging about his hard shot, might be able to shoot it hard in practice but in the 2 years he has been a Canuck us fans have never seen it. hahahahaha

  • TheRealRusty

    Not a fan of Gundy’s play. I get that he is not a mobile puck carrier, but I cannot for the life of me think of a stretch of games in his 2 years here where he impressed me with his strong defensive play. The club put themselves in a corner when they traded 3 cost controlled assets for him (plus the 5th) and the clock was ticking on his UFA pay dirt the moment he arrived. They were either forced to sign him or trade him for less than when they gave up for him. Not an enviable position.

    That said, I was surprised at the salary and term that they managed to sign him to. Is it great? No, but it is not an immovable contract either (no NTC or NMC). With the cost certainty of a 3 year term, GMJB can now explore more of a hockey trade (Dale Tallon and the Panthers?) instead of being pressed into selling him off as a TDL playoff run rental.