It’s been more than a year since Anton Forsberg suited up in an NHL game, so if he’s to carry some of the load for the Ottawa Senators while they deal with injury, he’ll need some conditioning. That’s exactly why the Senators sent Forsberg to the AHL today on a conditioning loan, where he is expected to start for the Belleville Senators this afternoon.
Forsberg, 28, is on his fourth team of the season already but hasn’t played a single game. Originally signing a one-year, one-way, $700K contract with the Edmonton Oilers, he was first claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes, then the Winnipeg Jets, and then the Senators, each time he hit waivers. Not only has that kept him traveling the continent and adhering to various quarantine protocols, but the fact that he hasn’t been able to clear waivers has kept him out of the AHL as well. The veteran goaltender hasn’t been able to get any game action, just seeing practice shots as the third goaltender in most stops.
Now, after Matt Murray suffered an injury in warm-up and replacement Joey Daccord’s season is likely over with a high-ankle sprain, Forsberg will likely have to start several games down the stretch for the Senators. Ottawa is gratefully off until Monday, but currently have only three healthy goaltenders in the organization. Filip Gustavsson, who has played exactly one period at the NHL level, Kevin Mandolese, who has only two games at the AHL level, and Forsberg, whose 48 games of NHL experience make him feel like a grizzled vet at this point.
The fact that Murray has been downgraded to “week-to-week” and Marcus Hogberg, the regular backup isn’t expected back until later this month, means it could be Forsberg’s crease for the time being. Despite the Senators not playing very tight defense in front of their goaltenders this season, this is actually a huge opportunity for the veteran, who will be showcasing his skills in advance of another unrestricted free agent period.