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.

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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.

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    Gudbranson is a flawed player, but no one else on the team can throw a check like him or answer the bell the way he can. I am curious how team toughness will be addressed in the off-season.

  • North Van Halen

    Brian Burke, Kelly Hrudey & Nick Kypreos all hated this trade for Vancouver and not because they don’t like Pearson. They all think Vancouver just got awfully soft, awfully fast.

    I guess now we find out if the old school hockey guys know anything cuz I’m an old school hockey guy and I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, we are awful soft on the back end, especially with Hughes and his 180lbs on the way. On the other hand Gudbranson was so hard to watch game in and game out. I know from a hockey sense we are better off and man, just to stop listening/reading to the same negative stuff about how bad he was every day like it was some new discovery thrills me. I’m a little concerned the summer may have been a better time for this deal just so guys like Petey, Boeser & Hughes have a little more to protect them down the stretch.
    If they come out of it unscathed, it was more than worth it just not to read about him again and here’s hoping Pearson can score 20 again and make this trade a win.

      • North Van Halen

        There was so much conviction, it made me wonder if that had actually watched him play. Definitely shows he was still valuable to old school guys that hadn’t actually seen him play. We’ll soon see if face punching abilities and good looks were at all valuable or if they’re better off with hard work & better corsi of Biega

    • Macksonious

      Agreed in that I’m also sick of reading the “worst defenceman ever” themed articles. For that reason alone, glad he’s been traded.

      Canucks don’t have much to lose with this deal. Time to move on.

    • KGR

      It was a well timed trade. Gudbranson needed to move on. The Canucks are out of the playoff race and should start a lot more youth in the coming days. Surprised at how little offense the veterans have supplied over the last few weeks. Time to audition players for next year. Would be nice to see McKwen back up for his toughness.

    • speering major

      Kypreos thought the Canucks absolutely robbed FLA when the trade happened. Burke is old school. I still like toughness but you have to be an actual player these days. Guddy was just completely lost out there. I think Zack can pick up a bit of that slack but it’s not as important as it used to be. Scrums after the whistle, fights, etc are all down. It’s not the same game.

      I hate Bennings summer spending record but I actually think this situation is the right opportunity to shore up RHD. The Canucks have the cap space, the roster hole, and a paper thin prospect pool on the right side.

  • Hockey Bunker

    This Dahlen trade is a head scratcher. The only justification I can think of is the team didn’t think they could place him on the roster now (insane) and so opted for a guy a couple of years later in his development. Haven’t heard JB’s reasoning. What I worry about is SJ has been able to develop players like this and keep the NHL team at a high level while the Canucks fell off the cliff. Hope its not a SJ fleecing of the Orca gang. If Dahlen looks good in next year or so, its a firing offense.

    • North Van Halen

      By the time we know if this trade was a success or failure, Benning will either have established this team as a playoff contender moving forward and Dahlen wasn’t necessary or he will be the ex-GM.
      If Benning doesn’t have this going in the right direction by the end of next year he will not be back. This trade is years from being decided but I get the feeling Benning got the Hunter Shinkaruk vibe from Dahlen.

    • Hockey Bunker

      and my apologies to Matt Sekeres who first broke the news Canucks were considering trading Dahlen. That’s some great investigative reporting right there!!!

  • 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.

    • Nuck16

      Yeah I was on the fence with Gudbranson because I liked his presence…but considering my first reaction to the trade was joy, I now know what side of the fence I was on after all.

  • browncoat

    The whole Gudbrandon story is a complete failure by Benning, but I’m very happy that he managed to get rid of Gudbrandon. He was a terrible defenceman for Vancouver and it was time to move on. Glad we didn’t have to retain salary.

  • Hockey Bunker

    and my apologies to Matt Sekeres who first broke the news Canucks were considering trading Dahlen. That’s some great investigative reporting right there!!!

  • Mike Bossy

    I’ll definitely admit that Guddy was not the dman that we all expected him to be as a former 3rd overall pick plus what we gave up for him. I also think this is ultimately a good trade for the Canucks. But…this total hate-on (not so much here, but on Twitter) for a, from what I’ve determined as an outsider, total stand-up guy whom team-mates appear to love really grinds my gears

    (insert Peter Griffin Grinds My Gears still).

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Bud Poile

      Benning said some young players feel entitled and don’t want to pay their dues.
      Dahlen’s agent requested the trade.
      Edler would not waive but was asked.
      Pearson is insurance for Sven’s uncertainty..

  • Fred-65

    I’m wondering if this reflects ( aquire Pearson ) a concern if Beartschi is not coming back ?? The hole that’s left is of course RHD which I suspect JB is looking at Meyers come the summer, but he’ll have competition from other teams. I can’t see Chatfield making the jump, this season for injury reasons has been mostly out of the line up in Utica. I’m think Schenn might up his game as this is his last chance. Who knows maybe Tryamkin ill find his was back.But the RHD needs addressing.

  • 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.