Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 195 pounds at the age of 18, Gudbranson was too big to miss and too intriguing to overlook at the 2010 NHL Draft. The Florida Panthers thought so, and quickly chose him with the No. 3 pick.
Gudbranson had been ranked fourth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting heading into the draft. A punishing physical force in the corners and in front of his net, the Ottawa native had just finished his second junior season with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League.