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  • Writer's pictureJoel Vanderlaan

Brannstrom Adjusting to Life in Belleville

Updated: Mar 19, 2019

Image Credit: Jason Scourse

A change of scenery can be daunting for anyone, add in the pressure to perform, new systems, and the stress of moving, then you have all the ingredients for a learning curve.

Defenceman Erik Brannstrom arrived in Belleville as the principal trade piece acquired in the deal that sent star forward Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights. 

"It takes a few games", said Belleville Senators' head coach Troy Mann about adjusting to his system."Our neutral zone is much different than, I'd say, 80 percent of the teams we play." 

"We play differently than Chicago, you get used to it, I just have to keep building on that," noted Brannstrom of Belleville's style of play. "I like the way we play; we have a good team."

Having appeared in just seven games with his new squad, Brannstrom continues to learn his new team's systems. 

While Brannstrom has found his stride on Belleville's top power play unit, tallying four assists with the man advantage, since joining the club. Five-on-five play is proving to be the biggest adjustment for the Almesakra, Sweden native, who has gone scoreless, netting a minus-4 rating.

"He's 19-years-old, there's going to be some ups and downs for him," said Mann. "I believe he's going to be a major player for us down the stretch."

Reaching a pinnacle in his young career, recalled on an emergency basis, Brannstrom skated 17:20 of ice time in his National Hockey League and Ottawa Senators' debut, in a 2-0 victory over the St.Louis Blues on March 14th.

Re-joining Belleville the following day, the dynamic blue-liner is now poised to leave his mark on the playoff push at hand.

Brannstrom has moved to his third country before the age of 20 in the pursuit of an NHL dream.

Brannstrom is not only adjusting to life on the ice, but also the "Friendly City," with the help of fellow Swedish born Belleville Senators Andreas Englund, Filip Gustavsson and Marcus Hogberg.

The young rearguard credits his fellow countrymen with helping him settle. "They helped me a lot when I first came here; I'm really happy to be here,"said Brannstrom of his new home. 

Belleville is back in action Wednesday night at CAA Arena, when they host rival Utica. The B-Sens currently sit four points ahead of the charging Cleveland Monsters and Utica Comets in the North Division's fourth and final playoff position with 11 games to play.

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