In what might be a case of addition by subtraction – or maybe attrition by subtraction – the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday traded defenseman Erik Gudbranson to the Anaheim Ducks in return for forward Andreas Martinsen and a 2021 seventh-round draft pick.
The Penguins, by all accounts, have considered trading or tried to trade a defenseman for some time. Even with Brian Dumoulin out right now because of injury, the team was carrying eight healthy defensemen before moving Gudbranson, who carried a $4 million salary cap hit for this and next season. This move alleviates a glut of defensemen and opens some salary cap space.
Juuso Riikola has been used as a fill-in at winger, and Chad Ruhwedel hasn’t sniffed a game.
Martinsen, 29, seems to be more of a depth acquisition. He is signed through the end of this season for $750,000 at the NHL level, but he is beginning his stint with the Penguins organization with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.
Martinsen has played in 152 NHL games among three clubs, with nine goals, 23 points. He had not played any games for the Ducks.
The native of Norway was not drafted and played in the German DEL before coming to North America.
Gudbransen, 27, was the Penguins’ most physical defenseman. He has no points, four penalty minutes in seven games this season. But he and Jack Johnson had been essentially rotating in and out of the lineup. The Penguins also seem happy with the performance of rookie John Marino. who has played in nine games.