25-Year-Old Defenseman – Vancouver Canucks
Erik Gudbranson Contract Information:
Signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract extension with the Canucks in June 2017.
Gudbranson will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Friday for boarding Boston's Frank Vatrano during Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Bruins.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Gudbranson arrives in Vancouver after spending the first five years of his NHL career with the Panthers. While he isnít a big offensive producer, Gudbranson logged 20:07 of ice time last season and is punishing with the body. Heís never surpassed 13 points in his career, though, so with Ben Hutton, Chris Tanev and Alex Edler in front of him on the defensive depth chart donít expect any big surprises in his first season with Vancouver. Look for the 24-year-old to slot in on Vancouverís second defensive pairing and be a solid shutdown guy who can kill penalties.
The third overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Gudbranson has been a full-time NHL player since his arrival in the organization. At 6-foot-5 and over 215 pounds, Gudbranson is a big body, but his offensive potential has never been realized. Even so, he's still been a nice piece for the Panthers in their defensive rotation, logging more than 18 minutes of ice time per game last season. Because he's not going to do much on the offensive end, Gudbranson's fantasy value is limited to penalty minutes and hits. He racked up 212 of the latter category last season, good for second on the team.
Gudbranson played his third full season before his 22nd birthday, which is quite impressive, but don't be fooled - he managed just nine points in 65 games in 2013-14 playing almost 18 minutes per game, indicating he is more valuable in real life than in fantasy. There were positive signs: he improved his plus/minus, shots, hits, blocked shots, and PIM last season setting career-highs in all of those categories. In leagues that count those stats he could add value; that said, his role is not expected to change and he won't see much time on the power play. Given his career trajectory to date he won't be at the top of your draft list this year.
The Panthers took Gudbranson with the third overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, but he's more of a defensive defenseman than a puck-moving one. He had four assists in 32 games last season, and with a minus-22 rating, his only value was in the penalty minutes category, where he had 47. If he doesn't develop a scoring touch this year, he won't be nearly as valuable to fantasy owners as he is to his team.
Gudbranson made the jump to the NHL, registering two goals and six assists in 72 games this past season with the Panthers. The former first-round, third-overall pick in 2011, has a big shot from the point and passing ability worthy of becoming a decent fantasy play for years to come. Gudbranson may still be a year or two away from making a leap into fantasy relevance, but should be viewed as a solid long-term keeper option. His path to contributing offensively isn't the clearest, as the Panthers will rely on Brian Campbell, Dmitry Kulikov and the newly-signed veteran, Filip Kuba on the power play. Regardless, Gudbranson is a name well worth remembering.
Much of Florida's success in the upcoming season depends on the quality of their blue line. At 18 years old, Gudbranson figures to be a big part of that equation, even though he was just drafted this year. With his solid two-way game, he's already being considered a Chris Pronger prototype of sorts, and that bodes well for his future with the Panthers.