Marian Gaborik looks to make best of surprise trade to Senators

Marian Gaborik admitted getting traded to the Ottawa Senators came as a surprise, but intends on making the best of the situation.

Winger is expected to play on top line with Matt Duchene and Mike Hoffman

Marian Gaborik, who had 14 points in 30 games with the Los Angeles Kings this season, is hoping to make an immediate impact with his new club when the Ottawa Senators take on the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. (Harry How / Getty Images)

Marian Gaborik admitted getting traded to the Ottawa Senators came as a surprise, but intends on making the best of the situation.

The 36-year-old was acquired Tuesday night in a trade that saw the Senators send Dion Phaneuf and Nate Thompson to the Los Angeles Kings for Gaborik and forward Nick Shore.

The Kings (30-21-5) are fighting for a playoff spot, while the Senators (19-27-9) are just waiting to see who will still be part of the team once the Feb. 26 trade deadline has passed.

"I think every player wants to compete in the playoffs and to play for the Cup," said Gaborik. "L.A. is in a pretty good position compared to Ottawa, but you know there's 27 games left and we just have to play game by game and you never what can happen. It's just to create good habits and make sure the team gets back on track and be ready to play every game and compete."

Through 30 games Gaborik has seven goals and 14 points and has the ability to provide offence. From morning line combinations it appears he'll be given the opportunity to play alongside some of Ottawa's top forwards.

Gaborik gets shot on top line

Gaborik is expected to play on the right side of Matt Duchene with Mike Hoffman on the left.

"Hopefully I can come back to being myself and play good hockey for Ottawa," said Gaborik.

Shore, who has played his entire career with the Kings, will centre Ryan Dzingel and Colin White.

"It's a new team, new city so you want to come in here and try and play your game," Shore said. "There's a lot of different changes, but you just want to try and stick to your game and just go play."

Phaneuf's departure created an opening on the blueline and Ben Harpur hopes he can take advantage.

Harpur looks to fill void left by Phaneuf

Harpur, who signed a two-year extension last Friday and was recalled from AHL Belleville, will look to prove that he can be an everyday NHL defenceman.

The 23-year-old has spent much of the season going back and forth from the AHL and wants to make the most of this latest opportunity. Through 20 games with the Senators he has one assist.

"Definitely it's been mentally challenging, but I think it makes you stronger," said Harpur of being sent up and down this season. "It's out of my control. I can control what I do on the ice, but everything outside of that is out of my hands. As long as I have the right attitude."

Senators head coach Guy Boucher is pairing Harpur with Cody Ceci, saying he believes they'll be a good fit.

"They have the look of a shutdown pair," said Boucher. "We'll see if over time, it's not over night. Harpur has deserved to be here. He was dominant in the AHL with his style and we knew that. We also needed him to continue growing enough to maintain a lot of ice time here.

"Harpur with more pro experience is able to come in now and we'll see what he's able to do over time. We're not expecting him to come in and be a perfect shut down guy. It's just something we'd like to develop over time."

Craig Anderson will get the start in goal for the Senators.

Erik Karlsson left the skate early for what Boucher called maintenance, but is expected to play.