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.
Hearing Erik Gudbranson on the move, from VAN to PIT.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 25, 2019
Believe Tanner Pearson is heading back to Vancouver in the Gudbranson deal.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 25, 2019
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.
“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.