Only fools and dead men don't change their minds, and that includes the Vancouver Canucks. The Canadian team has signed pending unrestricted free agent Erik Gudbranson to a three-year, $12 million contract extension on Tuesday.
The defenseman will carry an annual cap hit of $4 million, up from his current $3.5 million salary. The 26-year-old Gudbranson is currently in his second season with the Canucks, and has tallied two goals and two assists so far in 41 games.
"Erik is an important part of our team and provides a physical element to our blueline," Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a press release. "His leadership qualities help us as we continue to integrate younger players in our lineup. He is a quality person, a great teammate, outstanding in the community and we are excited to have him as part of our team moving forward."
On Monday, the defenseman himself had revealed that he was weighing his options between signing an extension and exploring the free agency market in the summer.
“There are a lot of angles and it’s not the most black-and-white thing I’ve experienced,” Gudbranson told the Vancouver Province on Monday. “I’m learning a lot about the business side of hockey and making an educated decision.
“I’m aware of all the angles. I have a mindset that I want to be here and getting something done soon. It certainly has been on my mind the last month. I think I deserve some security and I’d like a couple of years to be part of a group that’s growing.”
He was even mentioned, and for several months, as Vancouver's biggest trade bait as the deadline approached. The market has been booming for blue liners and his name had come up several times as Benning seemed to be debating re-signign the 26year-old.
Many expected Gudbranson to be on the move again, he would joined the Canucks after the 2015-16 season in a trade with the Florida Panthers for centre Jared McCann.
Gudbranson, who was the third overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft started his career with Florida, has a total of 14 goals and 39 assists in 380 career NHL games.