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Photo Credit: NHL.com

Canucks trade Erik Gudbranson to Pittsburgh for Tanner Pearson

The Canucks have traded defenseman Erik Gudbranson to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Tanner Pearson. The trade is one-for-one with no salary retained.

The 26-year-old forward Pearson has nine goals and 15 points in 61 games this season split between the Kings and Penguins. He was a first-round draft pick of the Kings in 2012 and was a member of the club’s Stanley Cup Winning team in 2014.

Pearson was traded to Pittsburgh back in November after managing no goals and just one assist in his first 17 games of the season with LA. He’s just two years removed from a career-high 24 goal, 44-point season and has two years left on a contract paying him $3.75 million per season.

Gudbranson spent three years in Vancouver after being acquired from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Jared McCann in 2016. The 27-year-old rearguard has two goals, six assists and a minus-27 rating in 57 games this season. The 6’5″ defensive defenseman failed to make much of an impact during his time with the Canucks and should benefit from a change of scenery.

With youngster and exciting defensive prospect Quinn Hughes expected to arrive in Vancouver soon, the Canucks appear to make off well in this deal. Gudbranson is signed for $4 million per year through 2021.

Gudbranson opened up about his time in Vancouver to TSN 1040:

“Honestly, I’m not too proud of it. I don’t think I played very well. I worked hard every single day, came to the rink and tried to get it together. I want to thank the Canucks for the time the spent, taking care of my injuries, and treating me with nothing but respect, and I really enjoyed my time here. I just wish I could have been better.”

Gudbranson played a physical game and provided grit to a team that was lacking in that department. The Canucks will miss his style of play, but they’re getting a proven scorer who should get an opportunity to be a top-six forward.

The Gudbranson deal comes amidst trade rumours around blueliner Alex Edler. According to GM Jim Benning, the Canucks did receive calls on Edler while trying to negotiate a new contract for the Swedish blueliner. Benning went to Edler’s agent with a couple trades, but the long-tenured Canuck was unwilling to waive his no-trade clause.

  • Rodeobill

    The real asset Guddy brings to a team is not wanting to answer to him and having him break your face, and whatever that possibility deters (whatever little that deters?). His game was devolving though as he was asked to do more and more to the point where you could count on a puck to die on his stick almost all the time. This moments happen each shift, where as the deterent effect he brought happened maybe one every game or few. This is good for us, especially since we didn’t eat any salary either. We have guys who sill step up now too, and worse case scenario, we find that in the off season somewhere if needed. If Pearson works out better that Loui, he will be welcome to this team.

  • Captain Video

    A middle six winger for Gudbranson is more than I was expecting. Unfortunately, the Canucks traded away more than a middle six winger to get Gudbranson in the first place, so consider this the epilogue to an inexorable tragedy of mismanagement and poor Pro scouting.

  • sloth

    Gudbranson seems like a high-integrity individual, his comments upon leaving are worthy of a ton of respect. But basically, by his own admission, he has not been good enough at preventing opposition hockey players from scoring goals when he’s on the ice to be an NHL defenceman in 2019. And as much as I could enjoy the entertainment value of his ability to punch the faces of some opponents, anyone who thinks that provided any tangible physical protection for the team is out to lunch. Look at the IR right now. Edler, Tanev, Baertschi, Virtanen, Sutter. The fact is that most significant injuries are the result of accidents not dirty plays, and if the Matheson or Kotkaniemi or Getzlaf plays are outliers, it’s pretty evident that the “deterrent” aspect of his fighting skill still doesn’t stop guys from making borderline plays that can result in significant injuries.

  • Freud

    The initial potential for the assets given up for Gudbransen was Pastrnak and DeBrincat.

    Taking McCann over Pastrnak I could live with, but you have to raise an eyebrow knowing Benning was discussing Pastrnak all season with the Bruins before coming over.

    At the beginning of a supposed rebuild, to flip cost controlled McCann and a 2nd for an older d-man who people screamed “don’t touch!” was unforgivable. We see it’s now it’s from page one of the Chiarelli playbook. We won’t even mention the defence man was due a new contract after only 2 more seasons.

    So, this team could be icing a 21 and 22 year old who have combined for 65 goals this season. Instead, Benning magically turned that potential into a 26 year old with 9 goals while icing the worst team in the league over the 3 seasons Gudbransen played.

    This is exactly what Chiarelli did to Edmonton.

    But somehow the tired, beaten down fanbase is just happy the team got “something” for Gudbransen.

    Let the excuses continue…

    • steviewire

      I think the McCann pick was a case of drafting from positional need, as the Canucks were sorely in need of center depth. I don’t get the obsession some people have with drafting from hindsight. Most people understand that other than a few sure things, the draft is a crapshoot. Every organization has their share of misses

      • Freud

        You’re missing the point, not surprised.

        This is a trend for Benning. He bleeds value on a large portion of his picks and transactions. His process is flawed and his understanding is limited.

        He starts with a first and a second, through a number of choices and decisions, all in Benning’s control, he ends up with a washed up 9 goal scorer.

        He started with a dollar and ended up with 5 cents.

        This is how Edmonton blew it. This team is next.

    • TheRealPB

      You can assess the Gudbranson saga as a loss because in the end McCann is a slightly better (and younger) forward than EG who was an oft-injured and ineffective defenseman. To say that it should be equated as Pastrnak and Debrincat for Gudbranson is ridiculous. It’s like saying the Neely trade should be thought of as Pedersen for Neely and Sakic — who was picked 16th instead of Wesley who the Bruins took with the 1st they got in the deal.

      In the end it was a bad bet all around — Gudbranson was terrible, McCann has been ok, Ang and Candella remain prospects, Asplund has stalled, and Mascherin didn’t sign with Florida. I don’t think you have to extend the story to make it even worse for Benning, it was a bad deal even without the hyperbole.

        • TheRealPB

          Your “concept” is that instead of Gudbranson we should have Pastrnak and Debrincat. Your “concept” is laughable because it’s utterly impossible to make with the kind of certainty you do. It is enough to say that we would be better off today with McCann and whoever we selected with the 2nd rounder than with three terrible years of Gudbranson. Extending your argument in this ridiculous manner doesn’t do anything other than make you look foolish.

  • Kanuckhotep

    I just wish Gudbranson’s hockey talent matched his class personality. The guy admitted he never did play well here and he just never felt to me like a true Canuck, if there is such a thing. Along with Leipsic, Nilsson and MDZ that makes four guys gone from the Oct 3rd opening game roster now. Benning knew Gudbranson was a boo boo but at least he got something for him and eases up on a bit of cap room. Now no more crying about Guddy because he’s gone.

  • rediiis

    This just goes to show that large defensemen can suck and still be an asset.

    It is interesting that Edler would not waive his NTC. Benning needs to play hard ball on that contract.

    Pearson fits on the left side. His ceiling is higher with the “deadly stare.” He will probably get tossed in the blender instead of playing with the same line for a week.

    Gudbranson is gone. I don’t mind the effort in mind-melding Guddy although it shouldn’t have been done by Lady Bing.

  • Flames Nation guy here. Checking in on the reactions to this one. I agree that you guys came up with a win on this. Not sure why Gub was signed in the first place besides the optics but I think Pitts will regret that one. Pearson is not a game breaker but Gub was not a good defender. Great face puncher!

  • Robson Street

    I would have preferred trading Gudbranson for a D- prospect or seventh, but can live with with this. Yeah both players are overpaid but Pearson isn’t actively hurting the team on the ice and can join the island of misfit bottom six players until his contract runs out.

    A couple themes just don’t sit right with me in this thread. One is essentially, “don’t be excited because of what Benning traded for Gudbranson”. Yeah, that was a bad deal, should the team hold onto Gudbranson until he regains his value in the league? While we’re at it, we might as well wait for Eriksson to score 30 goals again. Any day now, gang.

    The second is that the team will miss Gudbransons toughness. You know, the two fights a year. His protection of Elias from dirty plays because he is some kind of deterrent (remember that time Matheson decided to lay off on EP behind the net, fearing righteous retribution?)

    Going forward, I’m actually curious whether some folks on the internet will have to rethink their abilities as pro scouts.

    • Benning has been saying he’s been looking for another Top 6 scoring winger since the 2017 off-season. Hopefully Pearson works out and Baertschi gets healthy. Then we have a decent Top 9. That just leaves the need for another Top 4 defender (excluding Hughes) and we should be able to push for the playoffs next season.

    • DogBreath

      It’s partly fighting to stand up for teammates in the rare instance where a fight is required. More, it’s the physical presence where the opposition knows it’s going to be rough along the boards and in front of the net. Without him, their D is incredibly soft and easy to play against. It will be interesting to see if the opposition takes advantage.

  • Boywonder

    I’d say Benning has as many hits and misses as most GMs. i’m just glad he has the balls to move the assets for something. I think what we’re gonna see with the type of wingers he’s picking up is to hopefully play a more quick passing system for quick outs instead of counting on a defensive d man who can’t pass (and as much as I actually did like Guddy, he cant pass). Benning is getting wingers who can skate and stretch the play and it does seem like Green is pushing that system too. The move makes sense especially with Hughes and Juolevi on their way.