ShareThis Page
New Penguins defenseman Erik Gudbranson gets ex-teammate’s stamp of approval | TribLIVE.com
Penguins/NHL

New Penguins defenseman Erik Gudbranson gets ex-teammate’s stamp of approval

Jonathan Bombulie
805198_web1_gtr-pens13-101718
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Canucks’ Erik Gudbranson takes out the Penguin’s Dominik Simon in the third period Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018 at PPG Paints Arena.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Since they were teammates with the Florida Panthers for four seasons, Pittsburgh Penguins center Nick Bjugstad is well qualified to give a scouting report on newly acquired defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

He did that after morning skate as the Penguins prepared to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

“He’s a big, stay-at-home defenseman that you like to have on your team because he makes it hard on your opponents,” Bjugstad said. “He’s a big, strong kid that makes a good first pass. He’s a good guy too.”

One key element of Bjugstad’s evaluation of Gudbranson stemmed from a moment when they weren’t teammates, however.

Earlier this season, when Gudbranson and the Vancouver Canucks took on Bjugstad’s Panthers, the 6-foot-5, 217-pound defenseman tangled with Florida pest Micheal Haley.

Gudbranson dislodged Haley’s helmet with a series of left-handed jersey jabs, then held the Panthers forward at bay with his long reach while he threw a torrent of right-handed bombs before the pair tumbled to the ice.

It was a good indication of what Penguins fans can expect from Gudbranson, Bjugstad said.

“He’s very vocal, a fun guy to be around for everyone. I think he’ll be a good fit here,” Bjugstad said. “He sticks up for his teammates. I watched him fight Haley this year. He did really well, and that’s no easy opponent. He’s a tough defenseman to play against and he’s a guy you want on your team.”

The lingering questions about Gudbranson as he joins the Penguins have nothing to do with high toughness. They’re centered around whether he can help his new team keep pucks out of their net. He is, after all, a league-worst minus-27 this season.

Coach Mike Sullivan said he thinks the Penguins can help Gudbranson in that regard.

“Our hope is that we’ll cast him in a little bit of a different role here in Pittsburgh than maybe he played in Vancouver,” Sullivan said. “He’s a steady defenseman that brings a physical dimension to our blue line. We believe he’s going to make us harder to play against.”

Gudbranson won’t play Tuesday night as he works out immigration issues.

Follow the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Penguins
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.