Matinpalo, 25, was a scratch in Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. He came out of the lineup to make way for Artem Zub, who returned to action after missing seven games with a concussion.
The Senators signed Matinpalo to a one-year entry-level contract in May with an $885K cap hit. An undrafted free agent at the time, Matinpalo had just made his international debut for Finland, recording a goal, two assists, and a +5 rating in eight games at the 2023 IIHF World Championship.
Born in Espoo, Matinpalo had spent his entire professional career in the Finnish Liiga before joining the Senators, aside from a handful of loans to the second-tier Mestis. In 205 Liiga games across five seasons with Ilves and Ässät, the bulky right-shot defender had 14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points, 121 PIMs, and a +4 rating.
In four games of NHL action in the absence of Zub, Erik Brännström and Thomas Chabot on the Sens’ backend, Matinpalo averaged just seven minutes per game and didn’t get on the scoresheet. He did well defensively in limited action, though, controlling 54.5% of shot attempts when he was on the ice at even strength.
He’ll now head back to Belleville, where he’s logged a goal through his first four minor-league games. Matinpalo will be a restricted free agent next July, and his qualifying offer is $840K, per CapFriendly.