Senators starting Forsberg, sending Brannstrom to AHL ahead of opener

Edmonton Oilers' Gaetan Haas (91) looks to shoot on Ottawa Senators goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during first period NHL action in Ottawa on Thursday, April 8, 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick / CP)

Ottawa Senators goaltender Anton Forsberg will start the team's season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, head coach D.J. Smith announced.

Fellow goaltender Matt Murray has been battling a cold this week and said Wednesday he was not at full health.

Forsberg played in eight games with the Senators last season, posting a 3-4-1 record and .909 save percentage.

The Senators also announced they've recalled goaltender Filip Gustavsson from AHL Belleville and sent down prospect defenceman Erik Brannstrom.

Gustavsson, 23, dazzled in net for the Senators late last season, posting a 5-1-2 record and a .933 save percentage.

Brannstrom, 22, was in and out of the Senators' lineup last season. He recorded 13 points in 30 games in the shortened campaign. The 2017 15th overall pick was the Senators' key acquisition from the Vegas Golden Knights in the Mark Stone trade.

Smith added that Thomas Chabot, Connor Brown, Nick Paul and Nikita Zaitsev will begin the season as Ottawa's leadership group. Brady Tkachuk, who signed Thursday morning, will be an alternate captain upon his return to the club. The Senators' first captain since Erik Karlsson is still to be determined.

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