In the midst of Erik Karlsson’s triumphant return to Ottawa, the Ottawa Senators have announced a roster move, signing defenceman Justin Falk to a one-year, two-way contract. He will make $650,000 in the NHL and $185,000 in the AHL, although the actual dollars will turn out to be less considering the season is already two months old.
Falk, a left-shot defenceman, played the 2017-18 season for the Buffalo Sabres before leaving as an unrestricted free agent. He then signed a PTO with the newly-formed Colorado Eagles (AHL affiliate to the Colorado Avalanche), before being picked up by Ottawa today. He scored a goal and an assist with the Eagles in eight games, the exact same point total he put up with the Sabres in 46 games last season.
The drawing factor to Falk is his size, standing at 6’5” and 223 lbs. At 30 years old, he’s never been an offensively inclined player, scoring 33 points in his 269 games of NHL experience. He’s never really been defensively inclined either, posting a team-worst Corsi% of 42.8% on the Sabres last year. In fact, he’s only once been a positive possession player in his nine NHL seasons, again with the Sabres in 2016-17. He’s also spent time with Minnesota, Columbus and the New York Rangers.
With the signing, one wonders how this may affect the perception of the Wideman trade. It appears less likely that the trade happened because Wideman had been pushed out of a roster spot, considering they’re bringing in someone else almost immediately. Maybe they were just not satisfied with his play to the point that they thought he was providing negative value, or it was something else off the ice *cough* Uber *cough*.
Because Falk shoots left, this could also make things more complicated for handedness. Ben Harpur has some experience playing on his off-hand, although that still leaves Chabot, Lajoie and Borowiecki on the left side, with Wolanin also pushing for a roster spot. It’s a confusing move to say the least.
Falk is expected to join the team for tomorrow’s home game against San Jose, and will wear #42.