Major injuries have struck the Ottawa Senators for the second time in one month. Earlier in December, it was team leading scorer Matt Duchene and veteran winger Bobby Ryan who fell out of the lineup for a combined nine games. However, just as they have nicely settled in their return to action, a second wave of major injuries have struck the Senators.
3 Injuries in 1 Game
Chabot, Jaros, and Paajarvi all suffered injuries in a heated match against the New York Islanders on Friday night, where the Senators ultimately lost 6-3 after leading 3-1 near the mid-way point of the game.
Chabot was hurt after taking a heavy hit from the 220 pound Matt Martin. The 21-year-old left the game immediately with what appeared to be an upper body injury, specifically around his shoulder area. Meanwhile, Jaros was injured in his fight against Ross Johnston during the last minute of the game. It is unknown at which point Paajarvi suffered his injury.
On Saturday, the Senators confirmed the dreaded news: Chabot is expected to miss the next three weeks with a shoulder injury; while Jaros sustained a broken finger and will miss the next month as a result. Paajarvi will also miss time and is considered day-to-day.
These injuries are major blows against the Senators. They effectively knock out their best defenseman in Chabot, a serviceable defender in Jaros, and a reliable penalty killer in Paajarvi.
Chabot is averaging a point per game after 38 games this season, including 10 goals and 28 assists. On multiple occasions this season, he has flirted with the NHL lead for most points from a defenseman. He currently ranks second in the league, trailing Morgan Reilly of the Toronto Maple Leafs by six points. Reilly leads the NHL with 44 points (13G, 31A) in 38 games.
Elliott and Wolanin Recalled
In response to these injuries on their blue line, Ottawa has recalled Stefan Elliott and Christian Wolanin from Belleville (AHL). Elliott has four points (1G, 3A) in eight games with Bellville. He was acquired by the Senators in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 5. In two games with Ottawa this season, he has one assist.
Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Wolanin has 18 points (5G, 13A) in 26 games with Belleville this season. The young defender has offensive promise, and may be able to fill some of the void left by Chabot.
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Senators starting goaltender Anderson was concussed on Dec. 21 in a game against the New Jersey Devils, after he was charged and run over by Miles Wood.
The 37-year-old goalie was playing magnificent for the Senators before his concussion. On many nights, Anderson was the difference maker between the team winning and losing. The native of Park Ridge, Illinois, has a record of 14-13-3 along with 3.58 goals against average and a .905 save per cent this season.
Hogberg’s NHL Debut
In response to Anderson going down, the team recalled Marcus Hogberg from Belleville (AHL) on Dec. 27. This year, Hogberg has a record of 3-3-0 in Belleville with 2.32 goals against average and .916 save per cent.
After 35-year-old Mike McKenna received the start against the Islanders on Friday, Hogberg will make his NHL debut on Saturday. His first game comes against the Stanley Cup defending Washington Capitals. The Caps currently sit first in the Metropolitan Division and fourth in the NHL with a record of 23-10-3 and 49 points.
This moment has been a long-time coming for the 24-year-old. The Swedish native was drafted half a decade ago by the Senators 78th overall in round three of the 2013 NHL draft.
The odds of winning his NHL debut are not in favour of Hogberg. The Senators are tired and embattled having played Friday, and are now missing key pieces. Furthermore, they spent the night travelling home to take on a fully-loaded and charged Washington Capitals team the next day.
However, Ottawa needs a hero, and they need one now. Hogberg has been patiently waiting and developing in the Senators system for years. He has long been speculated as the goalie of the future in Ottawa. This is his opportunity to start proving that.
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.