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Trade Rumors: Are The Ducks Still In The Market For A Defenseman?
By Richard Gonzalez
The Ducks recently signed defenseman Luca Sbisa to a one-year deal. Sbisa was placed on waivers by the Ducks and was ultimately picked up by the Winnipeg Jets. This was the official third attempt to secure a defenseman recently. They reportedly tried to land Kevin Shattenkirk and Justin Faulk. Shattenkirk ended up signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Faulk got traded to the St. Louis Blues.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have tried to trade defenseman Jack Johnson but could not find any teams interested in him and his $3.25 million dollar cap hit for the next three seasons. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun mentioned Penguins defenseman, Erik Gudbranson as a possible candidate for the Ducks, especially since they tried getting a right-shooting defenseman in Shattenkirk and Faulk. The Penguins would like to also shed some salary.
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Gudbranson, 27, is a 6’5”, 217-pound defensive-defenseman, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020-21 season. He carries a four million dollar cap hit. Gudbranson was selected in the first round, third overall, by the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL entry draft. Gudbranson has played in 472 career games with the Panthers, Vancouver Canucks and the Penguins scoring 64 points ( 16 goals and 48 assists). He also has 554 blocks and 1,141 hits. This season, he has played in six games without registering a point and has two blocks and 12 hits.
Gudbranson is a good skater for someone of his size and can create chances for other players. He is a locker room leader and is a guy that is well-liked by his fellow teammates. He is a tough and gritty type of player. He is not shy to drop the gloves either. He is credited with 27 career NHL fights including this fight with Ryan Getzlaf on Feb. 3, 2019.
It is believed that the Penguins want to upgrade their bottom six and Carter Rowney, Ondrej Kase and/or an “ex-Pen” would be something that the Penguins would like in return. I am assuming the ex-Pen would be Daniel Sprong. I want to personally add Nick Ritchie’s name into this since there was been speculation that he will be traded.
Kase was injured in last night’s game against the Dallas Stars so his name would probably not be in the rumor mill. Josh Manson was also injured in the game against the Stars so depending on his length of recover, if any, the Ducks might be forced to make a move for some help on the blue line.
Gudbranson would likely fill in at a third defensive pairing role for the Ducks. If Manson is out long-term then he would get an opportunity to earn top-four minutes. He is the kind of physical player I personally like but I do not see it paying dividends for the Ducks. It is an expensive contract for a third-pairing defenseman. If the Penguins were to retain some salary then I would be fine with that. He skates fine for his big frame but speed is a little bit of an issue. He would be an upgrade to the Ducks bottom six but would battle for the sixth or seventh spot. His grit would be the most valuable for the Ducks as they tend to control more of the outcomes when they play with that physical edge.
UPDATE 12:56 PM:
The Ducks acquired defenseman Erik Gudbranson from the Penguins in exchange for left wing Andreas Martinsen and a 2021 seventh-round draft pick.
Gudbranson’s salary is $4 million a year and he will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020-21.
With the trade now official, what other type of trade scenarios can you see the Ducks doing?
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October 25th, 2019