The Ottawa Senators are bringing back one of their top young defenders.
As training camp approaches, the Senators have agreed to terms with Erik Brannstrom on a one-year contract extension worth $900,000.
Acquired as the main return heading Ottawa's way in the Mark Stone trade, Brannstrom has had a rocky start to his NHL career. The 23-year-old seemed to never find his way onto coach DJ Smith's good side last season, racking up zero goals and 14 assists in 53 games for the Senators while also spending nine games in the AHL. For a player of his caliber, that's a somewhat disappointing result.
Make no mistake, though, Brannstrom is a wickedly talented player who, prior to coming to Ottawa, had shown some incredible vision, adept offensive instincts, and intriguing mobility on the back end as a tantalizing prospect that was thought to be untouchable. The Senators haven't exactly given Brannstrom the best developmental path, either, yo-yo-ing him between the AHL and NHL while strapping him to weak defensive partners in a pure depth role.
Perhaps, with this contract now on the books, that will change.
It should, really. For a Senators team that upgraded its entire roster by leaps and bounds this summer but still desperately needs to upgrade its blueline in order to compete in the Atlantic this season, Brannstrom seems like precisely the type of player they should keep in the building. And that's exactly what they've gone, giving Brannstrom a "show me" deal in the hopes that it'll spark a breakout.
Only time will tell.