A broken hand in mid-November gave Brannstrom an expected return timeline of two months. However, it appears as though he’ll be returning to the lineup about two weeks ahead of schedule, which is great news for both him and the Senators.
Ottawa’s current depth on defense is running a tad thin with both Nikita Zaitsev and Josh Brown on injured reserve. With Michael Del Zotto waived and sent to AHL Belleville, names like Dillon Heatherington and Jacob Bernard-Docker are on their list of six healthy defensemen at the NHL level.
Brannstrom had played sparingly prior to the injury, however. The 15th overall pick in 2017 got into just two games with Ottawa, recording no points and an average ice time of 16:54. He did, however, spend some time in Belleville, recording three points in nine games.
Now healthy again, Brannstrom’s short-term future in the Ottawa lineup may seem unclear due to him jumping up and down between the NHL and AHL this season. However, with the current state of their defense personnel, it’s likely he gets another shot in an NHL role.