As the Ottawa Senators look to finally move past their extended rebuild and take a step toward relevance this season, it is about time they name a leader of this next stage for the franchise. Speaking with the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Senators head coach D.J. Smith stated that “It’s time for someone to be the leader of this group.” Smith believes that Ottawa is ready to name a captain after a three-season hiatus and tells Garrioch that he intends to speak with owner Eugene Melnyk and GM Pierre Dorion about making a decision before the end of training camp. The last player to wear the “C” was Erik Karlsson during the 2017-18 season and the Senators have used only alternates in the years since. However, with young defenseman Thomas Chabot signed long-term and young forward Brady Tkachuk hoping to join him for years to come, the Senators have two players that can be the face of the franchise for many years and either one would be a good pick as captain. Which one will be a difficult and important decision for the young locker room, which is why the organization’s leaders have taken their time and will still wait to name a captain until closer to the beginning of the season.
- The odds of Carolina Hurricanes prospect Kirill Slepets making the jump to North America any time soon took another hit today. Just two weeks ago, Slepets re-signed in the KHL on a one-year deal with Spartak Moscow. The move came on the heels of a poor season for Slepets in which he played exclusively in the second-tier VHL rather than the KHL and led some to believe that the 22-year-old may cross the pond to continue his development. Instead, he stayed in Russia and after today’s trade may be settling in for an extended stay. Spartak has traded Slepets to his hometown team, Amur Khabarovsk, the club announced. Going the other way was former NHL forward Andrei Loktionov, proving that Slepets still has value in the KHL despite a down year. He has even more value to Amur, who are very excited to bring the prodigal son home and could be able to convince him to stay long-term. The 2019 fifth-round pick remains an interesting project to watch for the Hurricanes, especially given the ability he flashed at the junior level, but his NHL future is more in doubt now than ever.
- Minnesota Wild prospect Marco Rossi has no doubt that he is ready to compete for an NHL roster spot after missing this past season due to an extensive battle with COVID-19. The 2020 No. 9 overall pick has been working out hard to get back into game shape and will get his first test this week suiting up for Austria in the Olympic qualifiers. However, he is already looking ahead to Wild training camp and is confident that he can make impact in Minnesota this year. Talking to The Athletic’s Michael Russo, Rossi stated the following:
I know I haven’t played a lot of games in the last year, year and a half, but now that I can see my fitness level and my shape, I know I’m better in shape than a lot of NHL players. I see no doubt about it that I can play in the NHL. I know I can play there. I know how good I am, but I have to prove myself in training camp that I’m ready for that. I know it’s going to be up to me to show I’m ready to play right away.