Erik Gudbranson signs multi-year deal with Vancouver Canucks (via @Canucks/Twitter)

COLUMN: Benning stands firm on Gudbranson, will keep him with Canucks until 2021

Canucks opt to not trade the 26-year-old defenseman, but sign him to multi-year deal

As the National Hockey League’s February 26 trade deadline approaches, the Vancouver Canucks have made their decision on defenseman Erik Gudbranson’s future.

Vancouver announced Tuesday that they had signed him to a three-year contract extension worth approximately $4 million a year through the end of the 2020-21 NHL season.

“Erik is an important part of our team and provides a physical element to our blueline,” general manager Jim Benning said in a statement. “His leadership qualities help us as we continue to integrate younger players in our lineup.”

It is safe to say Gudbranson, a former third overall pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft, has not lived up to his full potential.

Vancouver didn’t re-sign the 26-year-old for his offensive upside, as he’s only had two goals and two assists in 41 games this season.

After the New York Rangers traded defenseman Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins for a third-round pick in 2018 on the same, it was obvious that Vancouver would have been able to trade Gudbranson to a number of playoff-contending teams looking for a big and physical presence during long playoff runs.

One would have to be crazy to offer a third-pairing defenseman a $4-million average annual value for the next three years. Gudbranson is now set to earn more than the likes of Nashville’s Roman Josi, Anaheim’s Cam Fowler and Pittsburgh’s Olli Maatta.

Benning is aiming to define two aspects of this extension.

First, Vancouver is re-signing Gudbranson to be the player that they want him to be. Since arriving in Vancouver, he hasn’t showed his full potential on a team that is in the midst of a rebuild. He is young, which allows for improvement in the coming years.

Secondly, this shows Benning is standing firm on his move two years ago to trade Jared McCann and a pair of 2016 NHL entry draft picks for Gudbranson. Had he traded the Ontario player before the deadline, he would have admitted to a mistake.

It is unclear as to whether Gudbranson would have earned the same contract entering free agency following July 1, or he would be left picking from the few offers he receives.

How do the Canucks benefit from the extension? According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the deal does not include a no-trade clause.

In the long run, it is possible the Canucks could flip Gudbranson onto another team, as the prospect of adding a 6-foot-6, 220-pound defenseman would provide a great amount of interest from GMs.

For now, Gudbranson will be sticking with Vancouver’s rebuild plan over the next three years in the hopes of returning to playoff hockey.

– with a file from The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Port Alberni Black Sheep win match against Island rivals

Black Sheep squared off against the Nanaimo Hornets for TC Cup action

11th annual Magic Cottage kicks off this weekend in Port Alberni

Cottage will be open over two weekends in November

Port Alberni RCMP hold second bike registration event

Project 529 will be at Canadian Tire on Saturday, Nov. 17

Husky Gas Station robbed on Third Avenue

Port Alberni RCMP still searching for suspect

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom (updated)

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

Most Read