The Ottawa Senators have recalled forward Matthew Highmore from the team’s AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators. Per the team’s announcement, Highmore will make his Senators debut tonight against the Vancouver Canucks.
He’ll replace forward Zack MacEwen in the team’s lineup, according to Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch. MacEwen has been on the Senators’ roster on an emergency recall and has averaged under six minutes of ice time in the Senators’ last two games.
Assuming Highmore is a direct replacement for MacEwen, he’ll draw into head coach D.J. Smith’s fourth line, alongside Roby Järventie and Parker Kelly. Whereas MacEwen brings imposing size and physicality to that role (but not all that much else), Highmore has a bit more offensive touch. The undrafted former QMJHL champion was an AHL All-Star as a rookie and scored a career-high 61 points in 68 games last season for the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds.
The Senators gave Highmore a hefty $400k AHL salary to be a key offensive contributor to Belleville, and so far he has delivered with seven points in nine games. Although he has just 27 points in 139 career NHL games, the addition of Highmore adds some skill to the Senators’ fourth line in place of some physicality.
With Ottawa playing Vancouver rather than the Toronto Maple Leafs (who have enforcer Ryan Reaves on their roster) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (who employ Tanner Jeannot and Austin Watson) it’s understandable that Smith might see himself more in need of offensive energy from his fourth line rather than imposing physicality.