Everyone wants to see the team improve quickly in a rebuild, but it’s important to remember that when you’re talking about free agents, you have to outbid everyone else – especially when you’re trying to attract players in Columbus. And doubly especially, in the midst of a rebuild. In the case of Gudbranson, that’s exactly what GM Jarmo Kekalainen did.
The Jackets, often pushed around the season before, needed to get bigger and tougher. They also needed a veteran to solidify their defense. So, they added both of these attributes in Gudbranson; a veteran of 11 NHL seasons, known for his physicality and no-nonsense attitude on the blue line.