Senators Sign Rudolfs Balcers to One-Year Extension

It’s a prove-it deal coming off of an injury-shortened season.

The Ottawa Senators have locked up another RFA, extending forward Rudolfs Balcers for another season.

The one-year, two-way extension is worth $753K in the NHL, and $70K in the AHL.

In a statement issued by the team, GM Pierre Dorion said of Balcers:

“Despite a discouraging injury at the start to the year, Rudolfs battled back to become an important contributor to Belleville’s success last season. He’s a dynamic player with a great release, who’s quick and who has good skill. We’re confident that he’ll set out to prove that he’s overcome last year’s setback to be a full-time player in Ottawa.”

The injury in question occurred in a preseason game on September 25th, 2019. In a contest against the Vancouver Canucks, Balcers suffered an MCL strain that sidelined him until mid-November.

While he only played 15 games in Ottawa last season, scoring a goal and two assists, Balcers roared to the top of Belleville’s lineup. He tallied 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points in 33 games, and was a key contributor to a squad primed for a deep playoff run before the COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short.

The 23 year-old Latvian forward was acquired by Ottawa from the San Jose Sharks in 2018, as part of the return in the Erik Karlsson trade. He has played a total of 51 NHL games since then, with six goals and 11 assists to his name.

A fifth-round pick of the Sharks in 2015, the deal presents an opportunity for Balcers to prove that he is a full-time NHLer, as Dorion said. Even with the signing of Evgenii Dadonov yesterday, there is plenty of playing time to be found for wingers in the Ottawa lineup. If Balcers can provide some secondary scoring, and provide some steadiness defensively, he could see himself earn a longer contract next year.

With Balcers signed, the Senators still have new deals to work out with Connor Brown, Chris Tierney, Christian Jaros, Filip Chlapik, and Joey Daccord.

Brown, Jaros, and Tierney have all filed for arbitration. Their hearings are scheduled for October 20th, November 7th, and November 8th, respectively.

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