The Vancouver Canucks have traded center Jared McCann and two 2016 draft picks (a second and fourth rounder) to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Erik Gudbranson and a 2016 fifth-round pick. The Panthers confirmed the news Wednesday night.
McCann, 19, was a first-round selection, 24th overall, by the Canucks in the 2014 draft. He is coming off his first full NHL season, recording nine goals and nine assists in 69 games played.
There were rumors swirling that Gudbranson, the third overall pick by the Panthers in 2010, was on the cusp of a long-term deal with Florida, but they ended up settling on a one-year contract earlier this month. At the time, Dave Tallon, who was Florida’s general manager before moving to an executive role with the organization last week, called the 24-year-old “an important part of our young core.” Gudbranson had two goals and seven assists in 64 games for the Panthers this season.
Although parting with a young player after only one full season of NHL experience can seem like a risky move, McCann’s potential upside made him a prime bargaining chip for the Canucks. They desperately need a defenseman who can play in their top-four, and Gudbranson gives them that option. Meanwhile the Panthers add to their stable of talented forwards under age 25, which was a big factor in their Atlantic Division-winning run last season.