The Ottawa Senators played their fourth pre-season game, and second at home, last night. They were able to take down the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 3-1. Their pre-season record is also now 3-1, with four games to go before the regular season begins. Claude Giroux had the game-winner with 19 seconds left in the second period to go up 2-1:
Mr. Giroux with the silky Mits. 🧤 pic.twitter.com/iKr2dTZ36e— NHL (@NHL) September 30, 2023
Roby Järventie got his second goal of the pre-season on a wicked short-side backhand to tie the game at one, and then later on, Vladimir Tarasenko put the game to bed with an empty-netter with 38 seconds left.
The game wasn't otherise too eventful, but here are some notes from the game as well as updates from the Senators camp:
- Kevin Mandolese played half the game last night and was phenomenal. He stopped 14/14 shots and had to make some miraculous saves at points. He's very likely still behind Mads Søgaard on the depth chart and will have to battle with Leevi Meriläinen (who was 14/15 on shots last night), but with a great season, perhaps he can convince the organization to keep him around for a bit longer.
- After the game, Ottawa announced several players were being cut:
Roster update: The #Sens have completed the following transactions.— Sens Communications (@Media_Sens) September 30, 2023
Players assigned to @BellevilleSens training camp: G Merilainen, G Sinclair, D MacKinnon, D Sebrango, D Toure, LW Crookshank, C Daoust, RW Fizer, LW McPhee, RW Saulnier.
Roster update: The #Sens have completed the following transactions, cont.— Sens Communications (@Media_Sens) September 30, 2023
Players placed on waivers for the purposes of assignment to @BellevilleSens training camp: RW Currie, D Heatherington, RW Pilon, D Thomson.
None of those players were surprising, although one definitely stood out more than others: Lassi Thomson. The 2019 first-rounder has been good in the AHL but he hasn't exactly been excellent at the NHL level. I think he could still probably provide some value in the NHL, although I wouldn't say I feel confident in him being on the roster right away. He looked quite good in the preseason games he played, but the writing was always on the wall that he was going to be put on waivers. The good news is that players slip through waivers all the time in September because teams have their rosters set—a 2021 All-Rookie team player, Ty Smith, just cleared waivers yesterday, so Thomson probably will as well.
- Angus Crookshank is also a notable name there, although I don't think anyone realistically had him making the opening night roster anyway.
- It's interesting that Järventie is still in camp, because I feel like people have forgotten about him as a prospect, but now he's making a name for himself again. I can envision a breakout year in the AHL for him.
- Jiri Smejkal continues to be an intriguing name at the bottom of the roster. He played alongside Järventie and Drake Batherson and almost got an assist but it was ruled a hand pass. He might end up being the odd man out, but I'd love to give him some runway on the fourth line.
- It's great that this is the first training camp where we know that Erik Brännström has a role and it's guaranteed. I think we can trust him with it, and it's not as if a third-pairing role is too much to ask for. I don't see why he can't build on what he did last year.
- Tarasenko played on the left side with Stützle and Giroux, which is definitely new for him. That'd be great for the flexibility of the team if he can continue doing that, although we'll see if it lasts. They might have to try Giroux or Batherson on the left side as well, but at the end of the day, things will probably fall into place just fine.
- Here are DJ Smith's post-game comments from last night:
"It's not the wins and losses. It's the chances, it's the learning to take care of puck at the end of games, all those things that it takes to win a game in the NHL."— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) September 30, 2023
Coach D.J. Smith following tonight's exhibition game against the Jets pic.twitter.com/p6sosk5irq
The next pre-season game for Ottawa is Sunday at 4:00 vs. the Florida Panthers at home.