Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said Monday that fans should be optimistic for the team's future after adding defensive prospect Erik Brannstrom from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Dorion told TSN Radio 1200 Ottawa after Monday's deadline that the team has "never traded for a player" of Brannstrom's calibre.
"Our job as a hockey group is to look forward to how good our team is going to be down the road. I wish I could have brought all our fans with me on a big private charter plane two Fridays ago in Winnipeg when the Chicago Wolves played the Manitoba Moose because I left the rink there, and I was with assistant general manager Peter McTavish and our pro scout Jim Clark, and for what a 19-year-old did that game and what he's done all year in the American League, I know our fans might look at the short term, but trust me, long-term, this guy is a star.
"We have never traded for a player of this calibre. And unfortunately Mark Stone didn't want to sign and we got an outstanding return here. We did – whatever people want to call this situation – we did well today. I, as the GM of the Ottawa Senators, am proud of what we've done today."
Brannstrom, 19, was selected 15th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft by the Golden Knights. He has seven goals and 28 points with a plus-1 rating in 41 AHL contests this season and posted four goals in five games while serving as captain of Team Sweden at the world juniors earlier this year.
"In addition to being an exceptional young man with great leadership skills, high character, high talent, his presence on the ice is electric and I'm confident that our fans will love him," Dorion said at his news conference Monday.
Brannstrom was ranked No. 11 on TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button's annual list of the Top 50 NHL-affiliated prospects last month. He came in 12 spots ahead of the top-ranked Senators prospect, Drake Batherson.
The Senators have traded Mike Hoffman, Erik Karlsson, Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and Mark Stone over the past year, but Dorion said the team's young players will not have the same fate.
"We feel that when those players are in their prime we're going to be a contending Cup team," Dorion said. "All these players are going to be part of this rebuild and what's encouraging is these players are going to be in the prime of their career and we have no intentions of moving any of them."