Florida Panthers top defensive prospect, Erik Gudbranson has been stripped of his "A" and suspended for one game according to Kingston journalist Tyler King. This marks a low point in the 2010 3rd-overall pick's career which has completely fallen out of orbit since the draft.
Gudbranson has struggled to replicate the dominating play he was drafted for all season long with the Kingston Frontenacs and the frustration seemed to hit a boiling point today, when it was learned that Erik had been stripped of his leadership role due to what is being reported as insubordination and apathetic behavior. Infamous Frontenacs head coach Doug Gilmour has reportedly accused Gudbranson of not caring and when confronted with the situation Gudbranson had a tirade and voiced his insubordination and frustration with the coaching system in place.
He hasn't even been the best Gudbranson on the ice in Kingston for much of the second half of the season. While he was chosen to represent Canada this year at the IIHF World Junior Championships, he found himself on the third defensive pairing and giving up the Gold medal winning goal with his lollygagging to the puck as Russian star Vladamir Tarasenko passed the puck to the front of the net. This single play seems to have summed up the young dman's post draft career and precisely what coach Gilmour was trying to address.
This is shocking news for Panthers observers and has to be a huge blow for the scouting and hockey operations staff of the Florida organization who for the duration of the 2010 draft gloated that Gudbranson was "a character kid" with "a good head on his shoulders"-- a main point in drafting this player. "Character is the number one priority as far as the draft," said Tallon. "Erik has impeccable character. I’m tired of teams coming down to Florida and having a vacation and having easy games and Erik is going to help with that."
Gudbranson currently has 16 points (7g, 9A) in 27 games and while this isn't a meltdown statistically, it was not the type of play that was expected from the 19 year old behemoth.
Note: more from Buzzing The Net here.