Though Mike Condon cleared waivers earlier this month, the Ottawa Senators hadn’t actually assigned him to the minor leagues yet. That changed this morning, when the team officially moved their veteran goaltender to the Belleville Senators to get some work in and regain his confidence. Mike McKenna has already been up with Ottawa for the last few days, and served as the backup for their most recent game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The move may be to prepare for Brady Tkachuk’s return from injured reserve, as Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia reports that the young forward is back in a full-contact sweater today at practice.
Condon, 28, struggled mightily in his first two appearances this season for the Senators and needs to hit the reset button on his career. After a bad year behind a disappointing team in 2017-18, he’s on the edge of being pushed out of the NHL entirely. Ottawa will give him a chance to find his groove again in the minor leagues, but it’s not like Condon has a huge body of work to fall back on. His rookie season in Montreal, when forced into action due to a Carey Price injury, Condon showed he could be useful but not outstanding in the NHL. A .903 save percentage that year wasn’t good enough to post even a .500 record with the Canadiens, and he couldn’t secure a long-term job.
In Ottawa, his .914 save percentage was a huge part of the upstart Senators finish in 2016-17 and eventual run to within a goal of the Stanley Cup Finals. That year though is the only one in which he’s posted numbers anywhere near league average in the NHL, meaning questions surrounding his ability are bound to creep into conversation until he proves otherwise.
Undrafted, Condon signed out of Princeton University and is now in the second season of a three-year deal with the Senators. His contract carries a cap hit of $2.4MM, but more importantly to a team like Ottawa actually pays him $3MM next season. That amount is way too much for an organization to keep in the minor leagues, meaning he either needs to find a way to improve his play or likely find himself on his way out of town.