The Pittsburgh Penguins traded defenseman Erik Gudbranson to Anaheim in a move which will likely be best for all parties. The giant 6-foot-5 defenseman with enough ink to fit in well at Sturgis was always friendly and willing to humor whatever questions this reporter wanted to lob his way. Of course, his friendly demeanor in the locker room belied the fact that it was he who gave Brian Dumoulin fighting lessons at practice last week.
The Penguins trade saved them about $4 million and eased the nine-deep logjam on the Penguins blue line. It also put Gudbranson in a good spot with a team that needs a right side defenseman.
Gudbranson is a physical defender who seemed to be on the right track after the Penguins acquired him at the trade deadline last February. He and Marcus Pettersson formed a solid third pairing, and Gudbranson’s play was markedly better than it was before the Penguins acquired him from Vancouver.
On Monday, he was sitting alone in the locker room. His hockey socks and shin pads were still taped when I wandered over in search of a few quotes for a story I was working on.