Things continue to get worse in terms of the amount of personnel available for the Ottawa Senators. Defenseman Artem Zub left Thursday’s game against Los Angeles with an upper-body injury, and head coach D.J. Smith says there’s “no update” on his status.
Ottawa is already without nine players due to COVID-19 protocol, including defensemen Nikita Zaitsev, Josh Brown, Victor Mete, and Nick Holden. The team is down to just nine healthy defensemen under NHL contracts now, as Jacob Bernard-Docker, Maxence Guenette, and Jonathan Aspirot remain with AHL Belleville.
The team’s depth is stretched extremely thin, as many young players are now getting NHL time sooner than expected. 2019 first-round selection Lassi Thomson made his NHL debut Thursday in place of Zaitsev.
If Zub is to miss any period of time, Bernard-Docker is the obvious choice to come up from Belleville. The 21-year-old right-shot defenseman does not require waivers and got into five games with the Senators at the tail end of last season.
Zub himself was having a great start to the 2021-22 season, notching five assists in 12 games while working his way up to the team’s top pairing with Thomas Chabot. He’s been Ottawa’s most responsible defenseman since joining the team prior to 2020-21, now averaging nearly 23 minutes a night this season.
If it happened on the play I’m thinking about he absolutely crushed the King who was carrying the puck along the boards dropping him both flat, bit also backwards to the ice.
Zub stayed on his skates so it appeared that he delivered the but without damage to himself. A truly (rare in the NHL) clean and devastating hit.
He departed pretty much right after that play.