Senators by the Numbers: #44
Mike Peluso L 1992-1993
Born in Pengilly, Minnesota in 1965, Peluso was drafted 190th overall by the New Jersey Devils in 1984. Peluso didn't sign with the Devils and instead spent four years at the University of Alaska-Anchorage as a defenseman. He signed with the Blackhawks in 1989 and was switched to forward. He was encouraged to fight to retain his place in the lineup; he accumulated 728 PIMs in his first two seasons in the NHL. He is one of 4 NHL players to record more than 400 PIM in a single season (408 in 1991-92). He was picked 21st by the Senators in the 1992 Expansion Draft. A fan favourite in Ottawa, Peluso set a Senators franchise record for most penalty minutes in a single season (318) but also played a more offensive role in Ottawa. He was traded to the Devils on June 26, 1993 in a deal that brought Craig Billington, Troy Mallette, and a 4th round pick (Cosmo Dupaul) to Ottawa. He won the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 1995 and he retired after the 1997-1998 season having suffered a spinal cord injury in 1997. After retiring, Peluso worked as a scout for the Oilers.
Radim Bicanek D 1994-1995, 1996-1997
Born in Uherské Hradiště, Czechoslovakia in 1975, Bicanek was drafted 27th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 1993. Bicanek played parts of four seasons with the Sens, the last two wearing #23. He made little impact in his limit time in Ottawa and was traded to Chicago for a (previously acquired from the Kings) 6th round choice (Martin Prusek) in the 1999 Draft. Left unprotected in the 2000 Expansion Draft, Bicanek was claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets. His last season in the NHL was 2001-2002. He spent the 2002-2003 season with the Binghamton Senators and missed all of 2003-04. Bicanek returned to Europe during the 2004-05 lockout and has played in the Czech league since 2004 for Orli Znojmo and HC Kometa Brno.
Karel Rachunek D 1999-2000
Born in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia in 1979, Rachunek and was drafted 229th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 1997. Rachunek spent parts of five seasons with the Senators and wore #23 for the final four seasons. Twice Rachunek and the Sens had contract disputes and both times he played in Russia with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. In March, 2004 he was traded to the New York Rangers for Alexandre Giroux and Greg De Vries. He returned to the NHL in 2006-07 with the Rangers and would play one more season in North America with the Devils in 2007-08 before finishing his career in the KHL. In 2010-11, Rachunek joined Lokomotiv Yaroslavl for the third time and had a successful season (46 points in 50 games). Rachunek return to Lokomotiv for the 2011-12 season as the team's captain, but tragically was killed in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Air Disaster on September 7, 2011. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Patrick Eaves R/L 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008
Born in Calgary in 1984, Eaves was drafted 29th overall by the Senators in 2003. While born in Alberta, he was raised in Minnesota and has represented the United States internationally. Eaves comes from a hockey family: grandfather Cecil played for the University of Denver and was a coach at Ohio State and the University of Windsor; father Mike spent seven seasons with the Minnesota North Stars and Calgary Flames and has coached at the college, AHL, and NHL level; uncle Murray played 57 games for the Jets and Red Wings; brother Ben played in the Swedish Elite League with Espoo Blues and Jokerit. After starting the 2005-2006 season with Binghamton, Eaves was called-up mid-season and provided vital secondary scoring for the Senators (20 goals in 58 games). He played the entire 2006-2007 season in Ottawa and recorded his career high in points (32) but wasn't able to equal the previous season's goal mark. His play continued to disappoint in his third season with Ottawa and he spent a significant portion of the year injured. He was traded mid-way through the campaign with Joe Corvo to Carolina for Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore. He has been a member of the Red Wings since 2009 and has dealt with concussion problems for the last few years.
Jason Spezza C 2006-2007
Born in Mississauga, Ontario in 1983, Spezza was drafted 2nd overall by the Senators in 2001. Spezza garnered considerable attention as a junior, both for his more than point-per-game performance as an underage (15-year-old) player with the Brampton Battalion and for being just the third 16-year-old to represent Canada at the World Junior Championships. After playing for four different junior teams, Spezza began his pro career with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2001-02, playing in three playoff games. Spezza would split the 2002-03 season between the Senators and the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton, playing 76 combined games and recording 75 combined points. In 2003-04, Spezza played his first full season in the NHL. While Spezza is known for wearing #39 and #19, he wore #44 in one playoff game in 2007. In game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, Spezza got blood on his jersey and without a spare to wear, he was forced to wear Patrick Eaves's #44 to serve a penalty as well as play a few shifts.
Mike Commodore D 2007-2008
Born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta in 1979, Commodore was drafted 42nd overall by the New Jersey Devils in 1999. Commodore spent three years at the University of North Dakota before splitting two seasons between the AHL Albany River Rats and the NHL New Jersey Devils. Commodore is best known for his curly red afro and beard, grown during both the Calgary's 2004 playoff run and the Carolina's Stanley Cup season in 2006. He was acquired by the Senators in 2008 as part of the Stillman deal. He did not enjoy his time in the nation's capital and was not retained at the end of the season. An unrestricted free agent, he signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, inking a 5-year deal worth $18.75 million. He was bought out three years later. Commodore is known for his humour: wearing a bathrobe before the pre-game skates during the 2006 playoffs, playing a truck driver in Paul Brandt's music video "Convoy," and debating wearing the #64 with Detroit. He is currently a member of Admiral Vladivostok in the KHL.
Ryan Keller R 2009-2010
Born in Saskatoon in 1984, Keller went undrafted after four years with the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL. Keller began his professional career with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL in 2005. He spent time in the AHL, UHL, and the SM-1 before signing with the Senators in 2009. He started the season with Binghamton but was recalled in November and made his NHL debut against the New Jersey Devils on November 25, 2009. Keller led Bingo in scoring and was re-signed by the Senators for the 2010-2011 season. He didn't play for Ottawa, but was captain of the Binghamton team that won the Calder Cup in 2011. He currently plays for the ZSC Lions in Switzerland.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau C 2012-2013, 2013-2014
Born in Ottawa in 1992, Pageau was drafted 96th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2011. He played for his hometown Gatineau Olympiques as well as the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in junior. Pageau made his pro debut in 2012-2013, playing 69 games with the Binghamton Senators before being called-up by Ottawa for the remaining 9 games of the regular season. Pageau recorded 2 goals and 2 assists in his 9 game audition. He remained with the team for the post-season and had one of the most memorable performances in Senators history on May 5, 2013 when he recorded a hat-trick in game 3 of Ottawa's first round series against Montreal.
Best #44: Mike Peluso
Pageau was great against the Canadiens, but Peluso was one of the few bright spots for many Sens fans during the inaugural season.
Worst #44: Radim Bicanek
Commodore was disappointing and Eaves never lived up to the hype of his rookie season, but Bicanek failed, despite several opportunities, to make a mark with the Sens.
Who wore it best?