The Anaheim Ducks have acquired Erik Gudbranson from the Pittsburgh Penguins, sending back Andreas Martinsen and a 2021 seventh-round pick in exchange. That return shows just how little value Gudbranson represented at this point, after struggling early in the season but still carrying a cap hit of $4MM through the 2020-21 season. The Penguins, in cap trouble with players returning from injury, needed to move out at least one defenseman.
It is incredible just how far Gudbranson’s value has fallen in a few short years. In 2010 he was selected third overall by the Florida Panthers—just ahead of Ryan Johansen, Nino Niederreiter, Brett Connolly and Jeff Skinner—as a potential franchise-changing shutdown defenseman. The 6’5″ behemoth could basically do anything he wanted in his own end at the junior level, pushing smaller competition off the puck with ease.
Unfortunately in the NHL, that defensive ability was tested right away. With no offensive game to speak of to help him move the puck quickly out of his own end, Gudbranson put up poor possession numbers right from the start of his career with the Panthers, and never did become that minute-munching defensive stalwart. Through his first five seasons—309 games—he averaged fewer than 18 minutes a night and racked up just 43 points.
Then came trades to Vancouver and finally Pittsburgh, where he actually showed well in short spurts. Paired with Marcus Pettersson for a time last season, Gudbranson played perhaps the best hockey of his career for the Penguins. Unfortunately, that wasn’t good enough to save him from this new fate.
Pittsburgh not only had too many bodies on defense, but they have also been pushed right up against the cap all season. Moving Gudbranson’s entire $4MM cap hit was obviously worth it, and the fact that they didn’t need to include any “kicker” is even better. Martinsen represents a minor league addition and will likely not play many games for Pittsburgh, though he will give the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins another experienced body.
In Anaheim, the team will hope they can bring out the good parts of Gudbranson’s game and make him into the player he was once projected to be. The team has been looking for right-handed defense help for some time, and will at least get plenty of experience in the 27-year old.
Solid move for the Pens losing his cap hit.
Getzlaf's Bald Spot
I’m sure the Pens would have liked to get something more of value back for him, but they’ll gladly take the cap space.
Ducks definitely have to hope Gudbranson fits their style and can keep up with the pace of play. IIRC, he isn’t a very mobile dman.
I mean sure they would have liked to get something better, but he is a bad defenseman making 4 Million by getting nothing the trade would be a win for the pens
Dumping 8 mil in salary while getting a draft pick in return while not having to send out any additional assets to dump the salary is a win for the Pens.
How is it a “win” when Pitt could have saved itself this particular self-inflicted wound 8 months ago? GMJR got laughed at back then, and the doubters were spot on.
The Pens were desperate for a Dman back in February. He actually has played fairly well for the Pens since being acquired. Now that the guys that were hurt are all healthy he is expendable, plus they picked up Marino in the mean time.
He lost that deal, and won this one. At the end of the day their payroll is less than what it was yesterday.
“His doubters were spot on” except for the part where Gudbranson was fine here, only got moved because Marino emerged from nowhere and Rutherford gave up nothing the Pens missed (Tanner Pearson) to get him, they were spot on, sure.
The same geniuses who mocked the Tanev signing.
Because they let Corsi watch the game for them.
that’s a bad deal, because he’s had a nice 10 games means basically nothing
Now Pens can take that $ 8 million in salary cap and go out and get a forward and possibly reasonable defenseman. Rutherford always acquiring depth players that fit the system.
The still are carrying 8 defensemen and their injured players are starting to come back now. When they come back the salary cap will tighten again.
Bob Murray is really getting off his rocker. “Oh yeah well take a 4 million cap hit and Gudbranson off your hands no problem”. This is the same guy that couldn’t plan ahead with Bieksa and actually protected him in the expansion draft. What next sign Phaneuf to a 7 year deal?
maybe Murray will call on Puljujarvi or Ho-Sang,
Great move Mighty Ducks. Hahahahaha.
Pens forced into this move. Liked 44 while he was here. He served role as police officer as demonstrated by his shot to Maroon’s ear on Wednesday. Not sure who handles that role now as it will be needed with Washington in division. None the less can’t pay 4M for that guy for 15 min of ice.
Correction. 4M to sit in press box and eat nachos. Right side D all full. Marino is young fast and cheap. And future replacement for Schultz