Talk about a quick turnaround.
Roughly two weeks after defenseman Erik Gudbranson agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million bridge contract with the Florida Panthers, the Ottawa, Ontario, native is set to ship back across the northern border.
On Wednesday, Gudbranson’s former club dealt the former third-overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks, swapping him and a 2016 fifth round draft pick for forward Jared McCann and a pair of draft selections in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
Packaged along with second and fourth-round selections in 2016, McCann is coming off of a nine-goal, 18-point rookie campaign with a team that finished sixth in the Pacific division. Skating in 69 NHL games as a teenager, the Stratford, Ontario, product finished fourth on the Canucks in even-strength goals, despite spending most of his time skating alongside depth forwards.
While the deal may come as a surprise to fans, Gudbranson could have indirectly had a hand in things.
Per the Miami Herald’s George Richards, the 6’5″, 216-pound rearguard rejected a four-year contract carrying an average annual value of $4.5 million in favor of a shorter term bridge deal. And, with the emergence of 2012 first-rounder Michael Matheson as a solid option on the blueline, the Cats’ new management may have deemed him expendable.
The NHL Entry Draft is slated to take place on June 24-25 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York.