Erik Gudbranson was traded to the Ottawa Senators by the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday for a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.
"My family was so excited," Gudbranson, an Ottawa native, said Friday. "My mom called me and she was in borderline tears. I've been gone since I was 16 years old and I'm now 28, so just the thought of having me back home, this is very exciting for them. My buddies are all texting me and a lot of people from my school days and they seem to be very excited."
The 28-year-old defenseman had zero points in seven games last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins before being traded to the Ducks on Oct. 25, 2019. He scored nine points (four goals, five assists) in 44 games with Anaheim.
"Erik Gudbranson is someone we targeted over the last few weeks," Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said. "He knows that the type of team that [coach D.J. Smith] wants is to have with the physical presence on the back end, and we felt Erik is going to bring that for us. He's a big guy, he's rangy, he's got a presence, he can shoot the puck hard.
"Obviously, he's a local guy that we like. … And he was extremely excited when we talked to him about Ottawa, playing in his hometown, and we know that he'll be someone that'll fit in our lineup."
Gudbranson said getting to play with Ottawa's young defensemen was exciting. Thomas Chabot, 23, led Senators defensemen with 39 points (six goals, 33 assists) in 71 games. Close to being ready for NHL duty is Erik Brannstrom, 21, who had four assists in 31 games, and among Ottawa's top prospects are Lassi Thomson (2019 NHL Draft, No. 19), Jacob Bernard-Docker (2018, No. 26) and Jake Sanderson (2020, No. 5).
"I'm excited to work with all those guys," Gudbranson said. "I know those guys move the puck extremely well and skate extremely well. I'm excited to learn from them. I mean, they're quality, quality players that are going to be very good for years to come. So I mean, it goes both ways, I'm coming here to learn from them as well."
Gudbranson has one season remaining on a three-year, $12 million contract ($4 million average annual value) he signed with the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 20, 2018. He was traded to the Penguins for forward Tanner Pearson on Feb. 25, 2019.
Selected by the Florida Panthers with the No. 3 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, Gudbranson has scored 73 points (20 goals, 53 assists) in 518 regular-season games with the Panthers, Canucks, Penguins and Ducks, and one goal in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Goalie Matt Murray was acquired by the Senators in a trade with the Penguins on Wednesday.
NHL.com staff writer Mike Zeisberger contributed to this report