NHL Trade Rumor: Erik Gudbranson To The Maple Leafs

The Leafs and Canucks have been connected all year with Erik Gudbranson being the centre piece of the trade. Today these rumors intensified.

On TSN radio in Vancouver today, it was reported that the Maple Leafs have offered the Canucks, Defensive prospect Andrew Nielsen and a 3rd round pick to acquire Gudbranson's services.

While not the blockbuster trade many buds fans are hoping for, Gudbranson addresses the teams need for solid, gritty, stay at home defenseman. 

With the expected departure of Roman Polak at seasons end, Gudbranson would be a perfect replacement/upgrade. The former 3rd overall draft pick is still just 25 years of age and about to enter his prime. Gudbranson is currently in the last year of a 3.5 million per year bridge deal and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

Capable of playing behind any of the Leafs puck moving defensemen, Gudbranson could be a very versatile player under Head Coach, Mike Babcock.

Vancouver, being mid rebuild, could stand to add a quality defensemen in Nielsen, who has an absolute booming shot from the point. After shuffling down the depth chart, with the addition of 2017 1st round pick Timothy Liljegren, Nielsen's numbers have dropped off slightly this year from that of his strong rookie season with the Leafs AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. At just 21 years of age, Nielsen still has room to grow both his skill set and his already sizeable, 6'3 - 207lbs frame.

Given the stage of development of both the Maple Leafs and Canucks, this trade could stand to benefit both teams equally.