The Toronto Marlies have made a minor transaction today, acquiring Alex Gudbranson on loan from the Minnesota Wild, or more specifically, the Quad City Mallards of the ECHL.
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) February 14, 2017
Gudbranson, who is the brother of Vancouver Canucks defenceman Erik, was originally signed by the Wild as an undrafted prospect ahead of the 2014/15 season. Much like his brother, Alex is a right-handed defenceman with a bit of heft to his frame, coming in at 6’2, 216 pounds. As you can see from the header photo, he’s also currently rocking a Brent Burns-esque beard.
As far as his abilities go, I wouldn’t expect far too much. His best season at any level came last year with Quad City, in which he picked up five goals and 17 assists in 72 games. Even in junior, he wasn’t once able to exceed the fifteen point plateau.
Gudbranson’s value comes more in the defensive zone, as he’s known for both being fearless as far as being physical, and for making intelligent positional decisions. Perhaps more importantly to the Marlies, he makes it a lot easier to fully balance shot handedness every night; the move now means that they have Frank Corrado, Justin Holl, William Wrenn, and Gudbranson as right handed shot options on the point. At the start of training camp, Holl was the only player in the group of four who had a deal available to him. Even if temporary (a distinct possibility, given the loan status), flexibility is always nice.
Worth noting, especially if giving credence to the idea that the loan may be more permanent, is that Gudbranson played under Marlies GM Kyle Dubas’ Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 2012/13 and 2013/14.