Ahead of a weekend of back-to-backs, we got a slew of roster updates today. The first was that Rudolfs Balcers will get his first taste of Ottawa Senators (and NHL) action:
#Sens have recalled Rudolfs Balcers and sent Jack Rodewald to Belleville.— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) January 4, 2019
Balcers leads the Belleville Sens with 26 points in 36 games, and has spent the entire season on the B-Sens top line. It looks like just like Drake Batherson got a shot to show what he could do in the NHL, Balcers will now get a chance to prove he can continue his production in the big leagues. Coach Guy Boucher has confirmed that Balcers will play on Saturday against the Wild, the same day Anders Nilsson will make his Sens debut.
Secondly, Pierre Dorion gave a lot of information about injured players:
Some injury updates from the GM:— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) January 4, 2019
- Barring a setback, Pageau returns Sunday
- Anderson has resumed skating
- Condon (hip) expected back in February
- Jaros has a good chance to play tomorrow
- Chabot skated for the second time this morning
Christian Jaros broke his finger in a last-minute fight against the Islanders, so the fact that he could play tomorrow says that he’s going to “pull a Bobby Ryan” (in the words of Colin) and play through his broken finger. Jury’s out as to whether that’s a good move. Jean-Gabriel Pageau tore his Achilles on the first day of training camp. Original prognosis put him at 4-6 months for recovery, so returning on Sunday puts him about a week ahead of four months, so right at the low end of his projected recovery time. The return of Pageau is likely the biggest reason Tom Pyatt was waived, because with the emergence of Colin White, the Sens had five non-Pyatt centres on the roster (Duchene, White, Tierney, Smith, Paul) and it didn’t make sense to add a sixth.
The timelines on the goalies explains the Nilsson trade a little bit. With Anderson just resuming skating, he won’t be an option to start for a couple weeks at least. With Mike Condon out for another month, he likely won’t be an NHL option until at least mid-February, assuming he gets a few AHL games. In the words of Guy Boucher, it wasn’t fair to expect Marcus Hogberg to shoulder the starter’s role three games into his NHL career, and Mike McKenna also wasn’t going to be more than a stopgap. The Sens will likely ride Nilsson-Hogberg for the next couple weeks at least. Also as pointed out by Garrioch, the trading of McKenna demonstrates the Sens are more than happy to have Hogberg and Filip Gustavsson man the net in Belleville. Of course, there is always the possibility that this clears the way for a Craig Anderson trade. I’m sure Dorion is looking into this, but I’m not sure he expects it to be likely. Anderson still has another year after this one, and the market for 37-year-old goalies probably isn’t huge. More likely the Sens just want to be patient with Hogberg, and don’t really want Jake Paterson as a regular option in the AHL.
As for Thomas Chabot, the lack of news isn’t surprising. We were told it would be about three weeks, and that would put him about on timeline.
Finally, Belleville is getting a roster boost:
Belleville is getting 2 players back tonight. Chlapik and Brown return tonight.— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) January 4, 2019
Filip Chlapik has been out since December 11th with a foot fracture, while Logan Brown has been out since December 29th with a lower-body injury. Chlapik has 15 points in 21 games with the B-Sens this year, while Brown has 12 points in 21 games. Both have spent time centering Balcers and Batherson this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two spend time with Batherson together after Balcers’ call up.
As a final note, the Phildelphia Flyers claimed McKenna on waivers today. So his NHL/AHL journeyman journey continues.