Ottawa

After trade deadline purge, new Sens prospects eager to prove their worth

With the Ottawa Senators saying goodbye to some of their core veterans before last Monday's NHL trade deadline, two new faces in the organization are looking forward to their futures with the club.

Erik Brannstrom and Vitaly Abramov have joined AHL affiliate in Belleville

Ottawa Senators prospect Erik Brannstrom, acquired in last week's Mark Stone trade, said he's excited to be with his new club. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

With the Ottawa Senators saying goodbye to some of their core veterans before last Monday's NHL trade deadline, two new faces in the organization are looking forward to their futures with the club.

Erik Brannstrom and Vitaly Abramov arrived in Belleville, Ont., last week, to play with Ottawa's AHL affiliate.

Brannstrom, a defenceman, was acquired in the trade that saw the team's leading scorer, Mark Stone, head to the Vegas Golden Knights.

"We have really good prospects here, so I am really excited for the future," Brannstrom said.

The 19-year-old Swede is touted as a younger version of former Senators captain Erik Karlsson, a player Brannstrom said he'd like to model his own game after.

"I'm trying to look at him and see what he does on the ice. And of course he's a really good player, he's really fun to watch," he said.

In the eyes of many, the Ottawa Senators have had a rough week, beginning with the loss of the team's top scorers and ending with the firing of the head coach. 1:33

But ultimately the offensive-minded defenceman said he's focusing on improving his own game for now — a sentiment shared by Abramov, his new teammate.

"There is an opportunity and I need to show myself" said the 20-year-old Russian, acquired in the deal that sent Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

"I think it will come, I just need to play the right way."

Abramov said the deal caught him a bit off-guard, but he's looking forward to a future in the Senators organization. 

He also spent his junior career playing for the Gatineau Olympiques, so the trade served as a homecoming of sorts.

"Everyone is happy. All my friends and my billet family texted me right away [to say] 'Welcome back!'" he said. 

"It happened and it's part of the game and I'm really happy here."

While both new prospects said they eventually want to make their way into the NHL, Brannstrom said he's first focusing on a more short-term goal.

"I'd like to make the playoffs here in the AHL, so that's my main focus right now." 

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