Just as the Vancouver Canucks appeared to be getting healthier on defense, they’ve been hit with another blow.
Erik Gudbranson will undergo surgery to repair ligament damage in his wrist, the team announced Sunday. There’s no timeline for a return, although Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported the injury could keep the 24-year-old defenseman out of the lineup for months.
"Erik suffered ligament damage to his wrist this season that has affected his wrist function," Canucks GM Jim Benning said in a statement. "Continued treatment and rehabilitation have not improved his condition and Erik and our Canucks medical team believe that surgery offers the best long-term outcome and are confident in a full recovery.”
Gudbranson missed Friday’s 4-2 win over Tampa Bay and Sunday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Columbus, a game that saw Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella win his 500th NHL game.
It was Friday that featured the return of blueliner Chris Tanev to the lineup. Tanev has now played just 10 of Vancouver’s 32 games because of an ankle injury. Alex Edler remains out with a fractured finger.
Gudbranson was one of Vancouver’s biggest off-season acquisitions. He was obtained, along with a fifth-round pick, from Florida for center Jared McCann and two draft choices.
His start to the season hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. Per Corsica, Gudbranson’s Corsi For percentage is 48.03, eighth worst on the team. Four other Canucks defensemen are averaging more than his 20:20 ice time. He has one goal and six points in 30 games.
Without Gudbranson on Sunday, the Canucks dressed a six-man D-corps of Tanev, Luca Sbisa, Ben Hutton, Troy Stecher, Alex Biega and Nikita Tryamkin. Despite scoring three times to force overtime, the Canucks lost in overtime to fall to 13-16-3 – third last in the Western Conference.