Dec 6: Aberg has cleared waivers and the Senators have announced his contract will be terminated. He becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Dec 5: Pontus Aberg’s North American comeback will be short-lived. TSN’s Chris Johnston reports that the veteran forward has been placed on unconditional waivers today for the purpose of contract termination. Aberg will return to Europe once clear of the Senators, likely heading back to the KHL where he played last season.
Aberg, 28, returned to North America this season by signing a one-year deal with Ottawa. He had last played in the NHL in 2019-20 with the Toronto Maple Leafs and even earned a qualifying offer from the team, but opted to head to the KHL in search of greater opportunity. Aberg had only played in five NHL games with Toronto and had only 132 career games over six pro seasons. Though a second-round pick in 2012 and always an impressive performer in the AHL, Aberg had rarely been given a fair shake with five different clubs and likely felt that he could burn his final year as a restricted free agent and better showcase his ability and boost his market value in Russia. He did just that, recording 23 points in 49 games with Traktor Chelyabinsk and attracting an offer from the Senators.
However, it was right back to the same old thing for Aberg this season. The veteran forward failed to crack the Ottawa roster out of training camp, despite the rebuilding club’s apparent lack of depth, and had not been recalled by the Senators either. He has 11 points in 19 games with AHL Belleville, but it seemingly has not put him in line for an NHL opportunity. As frequently is the case, Aberg can very likely get a better contract in the KHL than his AHL salary, which is a palatable trade-off for an older player if NHL action (and pay) does not seem likely. Given his age and track record, this is likely the last of Aberg in North America.