The Ottawa Senators offseason rolls on as they get another piece of work done. Today, they announced that they have signed defenceman Erik Brannstrom to a one-year deal. This deal holds an annual value of $900,000. Brannstrom will once again be a restricted free agent next summer.
News Release: The #Sens have signed defenceman Erik Brannstrom to a one-year contract. The contract holds a value of $900,000 for the 2022-23 @NHL season: https://t.co/O5KLdvLbfK pic.twitter.com/CVLLgMbn2p
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) September 5, 2022
Ottawa Senators Offseason Remains Busy
This was a piece of news many were waiting to see how it would shake out. Brannstrom was the key piece back in the infamous Mark Stone trade. However, he just hasn’t developed as the team or fans have hoped he would. Some of that is on him. But some of that is on the organization as well. For whatever reason, it feels like Brannstrom hasn’t been given a fair shake at times. Despite routinely tearing up the AHL, and looking decent in the NHL, each year the team would find some veteran to replace him. Often time, fans were sick of this veteran player halfway through the year and would bring Brannstrom back up.
“It’s a dream.”
Hear from rookies Brannstrom, Batherson, Sabourin and Chlapik after they found out that they had made the #Sens roster out of training camp.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) September 30, 2019
No better example of this was the shortened 2020-21 season. Thomas Chabot went down with an injury and didn’t finish the season so Brannstrom was routinely getting top pair minutes. He looked really good in those minutes and showed he was absolutely an NHL defenceman. Despite that, the team still went out and signed Michael Del Zotto to a bizarre contract in the offseason which once again forced Brannstrom down to the minors.
This contract will provide great value for Ottawa this year as Brannstrom looks to prove he is an NHL defenceman again. Whether that be to the Sens, or an external organization. Ideally, Brannstrom shows enough that the team views him as their long-term third-pair defenceman. He has speed and lots of skill with the puck. His offensive abilities haven’t shown at the NHL level as much as you’d like, but his defensive game has been surprisingly strong.
The biggest thing he needs to work on is not getting shoved off the puck in the corner, and being stronger in front of the net. If he can do that, there is no doubt that Brannstrom is a legit NHL defenceman. It will be interesting to watch how this year goes and if it leads to another contract with Ottawa next off-season.