Erik Gudbranson is staying put.
With just six days to go before the NHL trade deadline, the Vancouver Canucks have announced that they have re-signed the 26-year-old defenceman to a three-year contract worth $4 million per season.
“Erik is an important part of our team and provides a physical element to our blueline,” said GM Jim Benning in a media release. “His leadership qualities help us as we continue to integrate younger players in our lineup. He is a quality person, a great teammate, outstanding in the community and we are excited to have him as part of our team moving forward.”
The hulking 6-foot-5 rearguard was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and had been the subject of rumours all season. In the end, Canucks management chose not to trade him. But they also didn’t sign him to as ludicrous a contract as some felt Gudbranson could command. Gudbranson reportedly turned down a four-year contract worth $4.5 million per season from the Florida Panthers before being traded in 2016.
A polarizing player for fans and media, Gudbranson checks a lot of boxes in the intangibles category. He’s big, he’s tough. He’s said to be a leader in the dressing room.
Where he doesn’t check boxes is on the scoresheet, or analytics used to measure his effectiveness in his own end of the rink.
Currently on a one-year deal paying him $3.5 million, Gudbranson has just four points (2-2-4) in 41 games. While producing points isn’t his job per se, that ranks him third-highest in terms of cost per point (minimum 40 games) in the NHL this season.
His Corsi-For percentage (43.21%) is the lowest among Canucks defencemen this year, which is an indication that he’s a liability defensively. Gudbranson averages just 17:56 in ice time per game, ranking him sixth out of eight Canucks defencemen.
It hasn’t gone smoothly for Gudbranson since coming to Vancouver, though management is likely hoping the best is yet to come.
Gudbranson suffered through a wrist injury in his first season with the Canucks, playing just 30 games before undergoing surgery. This season, he’s missed games due to a shoulder injury.
The Ottawa native has played his best hockey as a Canuck in recent games, being paired with Alex Edler and receiving over 22 minutes of ice time against San Jose and Boston.