The Ottawa Senators’ roster has only one major shortcoming right now, and despite an amazing summer of improvements, it’s the same shortcoming that existed at the end of last season – a shortage of top four defencemen.
So when the Sens brought in three new veteran players in the past 24 hours, it seemed a little curious that all three were forwards.
Today, the Sens signed forwards Derick Brassard and Michael Dal Colle to professional tryouts. Yesterday, they signed forward Tyler Motte to a one year contract worth $1.35 million.
The two tryouts will help push Ottawa’s bottom six, creating a little competition and pace at training camp. But both players may be here as favours as much as anything else.
Brassard is the player the Sens acquired from the Rangers in 2016 as the biggest piece in a deal for Mika Zibanejad. While Zibanejad has since emerged as an NHL superstar, it turned out that Brassard’s best days were behind him.
But GM Pierre Dorion probably still feels nostalgia for that amazing 2017 Sens’ playoff run. That was Brassard’s sunset as an impact player in the league, picking up 11 points in 19 playoff games. Since then, the 34-year-old centre has mostly been a depth forward scoring 19 points in 46 games last season, split between the Flyers and Oilers. He hasn’t hit 40 points once in the past 5 seasons.
Dal Colle was an AHL player last season and hasn’t come close to living up to his draft pedigree (5th overall in 2014). In 112 games with the New York Islanders, the 26-year-old has 21 points. But it should be noted (in bold font) that Dal Colle was D.J. Smith’s top scorer in 2014-15 when the Oshawa Generals went 51-11-6 and won the Memorial Cup.
Yesterday, the Senators signed winger Tyler Motte, who has a far bigger opportunity to crack the Sens lineup. Motte was in there for 15 playoff games with the New York Rangers last season. He’s not a scorer, but he is hard skating, defensive buzzsaw. Those latter assets are exactly what Alex Formenton brings to the table. Formenton is an RFA and still doesn’t have a contract, which may leave room for someone to step up or step in.
Maybe that’s Motte.
The Senators begin their rookie camp today (Sept 15) and start a rookie tournament tomorrow in Buffalo. Their pre-season begin a week from Saturday (Sept 24) in Toronto.