The Ottawa Senators have sent depth defenseman Dillon Heatherington back to the minor leagues, as they arrive back for a three-game homestand. The move leaves them with six healthy defensemen on the roster.
Heatherington, 27, never did actually play during this recent call-up, and still has just 20 NHL appearances to his name. Without Artem Zub, who is out a few weeks with an upper-body injury, the Senators are struggling to find the right mix of playing time on defense. Nikita Zaitsev, banished to the press box earlier this season, ended up playing over 19 minutes last night because of all the penalties they took against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Both he and Nick Holden spent more than ten minutes shorthanded, leading to the Lightning outshooting the Senators 34-15 overall. They aren’t going to win many games playing a man down, and could sure use Zub’s stabilizing presence as soon as possible.
For Heatherington, he’ll have to return to the Belleville Senators and wait for his next chance. In six games there this season he has one goal and eight penalty minutes.