The Hockey Spy’s 2010 NHL Entry Draft Preview – Erik Gudbranson

Christopher Ralph is a sportswriter with a focus on hockey prospects, the entry draft, as well as occasional Flames coverage here at THW.

“Full Potential” Prospect Profile:

Please “Click Here” for “Notes Up Front” and the “Legend” for various topics covered below as covered for the NHL 2009 Draft rankings. Stay tuned for a live updated article dedicated to the NHL 2010 Entry Draft.

Erik Gudbranson (Click on name for up- to- date stats)


Age: 18
Date of birth: January 07, 1992
Place of birth: Ottawa, Ont., Canada
Ht: 6-3.75 Wt: 195
Shoots: R
Current team:  Kingston Frontenacs, OHL
NHL Status: Draft Eligible 2010


Gudbranson might be raw at this point, but he’s the prototypical big, physical, skilled defenseman every GM and scout covets. He had a good sophomore year, but was limited somewhat as he battled a knee injury as well as a lengthy bout with mononucleosis.

While he has tremendous upside, the team that selects him in June will likely have to be patient. Should everything go as expected and planned for the young blueliner, however, that team will be rewarded with an intelligent defenseman with great character who possesses superior leadership ability.

Scout’s Honor:

* “No fewer than two scouts told TSN they now rate the Kingston Frontenacs’ hard-rock defenceman ahead of Fowler. And he wasn’t able to play in the CHL Prospects Game because of an enlarged spleen as a result of a bout of mononucleosis.” – Bob McKenzie (TSN)

* “Huge defender. Communicates on the ice well, supports his partner well, good shot, moves the puck with authority – crisp and hard passes. Has a long reach and uses it.” (THN Future Watch issue 2010)

* ” The more we at North American Central Scouting watch this kid, the more we are convinced he has the potential to become a franchise defenseman who can quarterback a power play. Although there are some concerns about his propensity to get hurt and the fact he still has a lot to learn about the defensive side of the game, his toughness, offensive sense and hockey IQ make him an attractive prospect” – Mark Seidel (THN)

* “Gudbranson to me is a guaranteed long-term NHLer. In my opinion, Gudbranson is another Chris Pronger-type, what he brings that (Pronger) really didn’t do much of, though, is he’ll fight. He is some kind of tough. Chris Pronger is mean and will hit you; Gudbranson will hit you and fight you. Pronger is three inches taller than Gudbranson, so maybe Dion Phaneuf would be an even better comparison.”
– E.J. McGuire, Director of Central Scouting

Current Season:

In 41 games for Kingston, Gudbranson notched 2 goals and 21 assists for 23 points.  He finished with a +11 rating and 68 penalty minutes in a season that was shortened due to a knee injury and a  bout of mononucleosis.

In 7 playoff games, Gudbranson contributed 1 goal and added 2 assists for 3 points.

Other accomplishments:

  • 2009-2010: Erik was awarded the Bobby Smith Trophy, which is an award that is named to the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year.

Scouting Combine Performance:

Ken Reid talks to Erik Gudbranson about the gruelling combine tests and being watched by scouts. (TSN)

– Erik finished 10th in Peak Power Output, which measures anaerobic fitness.

– He tied for 6th in Wingspan measurement.

– 4th in Upper Body Power

– 9th in Push Strength

– 8th in Pull Strength

International Tournaments:

  • He was captain of Team Ontario for the U-17 Championships (6 games -2G-2A-4pts)
  • Erik was a member of Team Canada for the U-18 Championships. (1A in 6 games in ’09-’10, while he managed 4 points in 6 games in ’08-09)

ETA = 3-4 yrs

Risk-Reward Analysis: Risk = 2.5/5   Reward = 4.5/5

NHL Potential: Top pairing physical blueliner with offensive upside


*See “One Timer” section above.

* Plays hard, tough with an edge and a mean streak.

*Good puck mobility and shot from the point.

* Coached by Doug Gilmour and this shines through in his game.

* Exhibits willingness to do what it takes to win.

*It has been said that he perhaps has the most untapped potential in the draft.

Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:

* Coughed up the puck too often in this year’s OHL playoffs.

*Offensive skills still quite raw.

Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 7.5/10   Defensive = 9.5/10

NHL Player(s) Comparison:

At his best: Chris Pronger (best case scenario), Dion Phaneuf, Shea Weber, Brent Burns


Interesting Notes:  (

  • Gudbranson’s younger brother Alex was selected by the Kingston Frontenacs in the first round of the 2010 OHL Priority Selection Draft.
  • One of the biggest influences in his life has been his younger brother, Dennis, who has now beaten cancer twice: “He’s battled through cancer, and had to go through the whole radiation, chemotherapy, and all the drugs. He’s definitely a really tough kid and someone you have to look up to.”
  • Favourite Shootout move: “Forehand, backhand, at the top of the circle, then shoot”
  • Favourite Goal celebration: “A little fist pump and point to the passer”

Other Rankings:

ISS: 7 (Mar ‘10)

CSB: 4-NA (Apr ‘10)

TSN: 5 (Apr ’10) {Bob MacKenzie}

NACS: 3 (Mar ’10) {Mark Seidel – THN}

RLR: N/A (May ’10) {Kyle Woodlief – USA Today}

McKeens: 4 (May ’10)

THN: 5 (Future Watch issue)

THW: 6 (May ’10) {Christopher Ralph }

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4 thoughts on “The Hockey Spy’s 2010 NHL Entry Draft Preview – Erik Gudbranson”

  1. Good question Karl.

    I think he’s over the knee injury no question. His scouting combine performance was very impressive.

    He oozes potential, but is still raw and I think will require seasoning a la Pietrangelo (probably even more so).

    He is early pick worthy for the simple fact of what a team will get several years down the road – a monster mobile, physical & skilled blueliner who is intelligent and has a mean streak to go with!

    The team that selects him will have to know this going in and will have to be patient. Prospects that can make an immediate impact are still a rare breed.

  2. Is his knee injury a long term concern? Or is that history. It sounds like he’s probably not NHL ready for a year or two. So is that good or bad that he’s probably one of the first 2 defencemen taken? I’m just thinking of the immediate impact someone like Hedman had, or even Kulikov who was taken 14th. But if he goes at #4 or #5, it sounds like a big risk for a spot that usually produces NHL ready talent.

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