So it turns out the Pittsburgh Penguins move for the 2019 trade deadline was only a small, minor one announced at the last minute. Vancouver Canucks’ defenseman Erik Gudbranson will be making his way to Pittsburgh in a one-for-one exchange for recently-acquired winger Tanner Pearson. No salary will be retained.
To be frank, Gudbranson is not very good.
Erik Gudbranson (to Penguins, ahahaha) is a terrible, truly, truly terrible defender. Just, like, so bad. pic.twitter.com/iy0AIesLxc— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) February 25, 2019
He is relatively young at 27-years-old, big, and a right-hand shot, but all the good traits seem to stop there. Gudbranson is signed for two more seasons at a $4.0 million cap hit, continuing the Pens’ trend of overpaying lower pair defensemen who struggle to defend and don’t create offense.
Pearson, while being seen as somewhat of a disappointment since being traded for only recently, still did at least provide nine goals in about half a season with Pittsburgh, while playing through a hand injury. But Pearson was a healthy scratch last week and obviously fell out of favor with the coaches and management.
Rutherford was scheduled to meet with the media at 2:45 p.m. The official trade deadline was at 3:00 p.m. That tells you about all you need to know about how early he figured he had concluded business. Except, there apparently was some last-minute phones to work and he never showed up on time — something he never does.
In a way, the Penguins made their big move a couple of weeks ago — bringing in forwards Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann. That trade also sent out the majority of the Pens’ best trade chips in Derick Brassard and their second round pick in 2019.
The Pens have also acquired Marcus Pettersson and Pearson since the start of the season, so there was plenty of turnover with regards to the entire roster.
Not the most exciting thing, but it’s over and all focus can turn onto tomorrow’s super-super-important game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Pens and Jackets are locked in a tight playoff chase, Pittsburgh would have a chance to pass them in the standings tomorrow with a regulation win.
In more encouraging news, there was a quick update on Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin by coach Mike Sullivan
Coach Sullivan on the injured defensemen: "Dumo and Tanger obviously did not practice today. Tanger will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. He will not make the trip to Columbus, neither will Dumo."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 25, 2019
Brian Dumoulin not traveling isn’t a shock, tough to expect someone to suffer a concussion on Saturday to play just a few days later. It could be a positive that Kris Letang is being considered on a day-to-day status, but in coach-speak that doesn’t mean much as far as actually giving an update. Though it could be considered somewhat positive that Letang’s evaluation wasn’t revealed as worse.
Overall the deadline add of Gudbranson represents more trouble in Pittsburgh’s overall strategy and seems to add another not-very-good defenseman to the mix.