The Ottawa Senators continue to add right-handed defencemen, and this time, it’s a local boy. Pierre Dorion is sending a 2021 fifth-round pick (originally via Edmonton) to the Anaheim Ducks, in exchange for Ottawa-born defenceman Erik Gudbranson.
The hulking 28 year-old blueliner is heading into the final year of a deal that carries a $4M cap hit, and $3M in real money. He is coming off of a 2019-2020 season with the Ducks - and briefly the Pittsburgh Penguins - in which he suited up for 51 games; scoring four goals, and five assists for nine points, along with 95 penalty minutes.
In a statement, Dorion said of Gudbranson:
“Erik Gudbranson provides another sizable presence to our defence corps,” said Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. “He’s a reliable veteran who plays an intimidating style of game and someone who will add a combination of grit, energy and, most importantly, leadership to our lineup.”
Drafted third overall by the Florida Panthers is 2010, Gudbranson is a player that has struggled to find a long-term home since entering the league. The Senators will be his fifth team, and he’s struggled statistically, at times.
That said, he brings a much-needed veteran presence to the locker room, and the blue line in particular. Those who know Gudbranson rave about him as a person, and he was one of the players who was vocal in his support of Black Lives Matter over the summer.
With only one year remaining on his deal, the hometown boy will provide some insulation to what is a very green Ottawa blue line, especially on the right side. As it stands, Ottawa’s right-handers on the back end consist of Gudbranson, Nikita Zaitsev, Josh Brown, and Artem Zub. Brown has played 93 NHL games, while Zub has yet to play one.
Expect the Senators to make some more additions when the NHL’s Free Agency window opens tomorrow morning.