Man Down! Who Will Fill Erik Gudbranson’s Skates?
Hello once again, hope everyone enjoyed the first week of the NFL season. Hopefully your team won! If you’re a Dolphin fan like me, well lets just say they did better then I thought they would. Also if you’re a Falcons fan like I am, our team looked pretty great on Sunday.
Anyway, I’m sure most of you have heard the terrible news about Erik Gudbranson. the 3rd overall pick back in 2010 who seems to have injured his shoulder during a training session last week. He had successful surgery and is expected to miss roughly four months of action.
This has to be a devastating blow to the Panthers plans for next season, but what is shocking to me was the fact that the Panthers were even thinking about starting Gudbranson in the AHL whether or not there was a lockout. To me this is kind of surprising and raises curiosity at the same time. You’re going to send a young future star that played his best hockey of the year in the postseason to the AHL even if the regular season got under way? I’m personally trying to understand that, and while there may be good reasons for it, I don’t agree.
What Does The Gudbranson Injury Mean For The Panthers?
Yesterday at the Saveology.com Iceplex, a metaphorical wrench was thrown in the Panthers’ plan for the upcoming year. Erik Gudbranson, in an informal workout session, apparently badly injured his shoulder. Even though he received treatment right away and the Panthers have yet to announce his injury, Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel was tipped off that Gudbranson could be out of action for up to four months.
Gudbranson could still be considered the Panthers’ sixth defenseman, even after his ice time increased late in the season and during the playoffs last year. His NHL stats, though they aren’t spectacular (2 goals, 6 assists, -19 plus/minus, 78 penalty minutes), were decent enough to hold off his competition and keep his spot on the blue line. As the year progressed, you could really see coach Kevin Dineen‘s confidence in Gudbranson grow. His ice time grew, he took more chances in the offensive zone, and he took more faceoffs in his own zone - I detailed his progress as a player about a month ago. Most people were looking forward to see if Gudbranson’s second NHL season would push him up to star status.