The Vancouver Canucks made a pair of moves ahead of the NHL trade deadline, the most notable of which shipped out defenceman Erik Gudbranson to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Tanner Pearson.
Both players have struggled in the 2018-19 campaign, and get to hit the reset button for their new teams.
When asked Monday why it was time to move on from Gudbranson, Canucks general manager Jim Benning said, “The style of game we play maybe wasn’t a fit. I got to give him credit, he fought for our guys and he stuck up for our team.”
Gudbranson struggled over his three years in Vancouver — his plus-minus sat at -48 in 139 games with the Canucks. The Canucks acquired Gudbranson for Jared McCann, a 2016 second-round pick, and a 2016 fourth-round pick in 2016.
Pearson, 25, is a former 24-goal scorer who spent 17 games with the LA Kings to start the year before he was sent to Pittsburgh for forward Carl Hagelin. He has nine goals and six assists on the year.
The Canucks are hoping Pearson can finally give them the coveted scoring winger, to pair alongside centre Bo Horvat, that they’ve been looking for all season. Prior to his production drop in 2017-18, Pearson netted back-to-back 40-point seasons and had helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2014, adding 12 points in 24 playoff games.
With the promise of top-six minutes Canucks fans should be excited to see what Pearson can do in a larger role, and if he can slot into the second power-play unit before the season ends.
The Canucks also swapped prospect forwards with the San Jose Sharks. Linus Karlsson is now a part of the Canucks organization and Jonathan Dahlen will now reside in the Bay Area.
Benning said Dahlen’s agent “asked me a couple weeks ago if we could move him.”
The 21-year-old has 14 goals and 15 assists for the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets this season.
Karlsson, 19, has four goals and 13 assists for Karlskrona HK in Sweden’s second-tier league.
— With files from The Canadian Press