The Ottawa Senators got bad news yesterday when head coach D.J. Smith told the media that he was not confident that Josh Norris, a crucial top-six center in his lineup, would return to the ice this season. This unfortunate development has led many to wonder whether the Senators, led by GM Pierre Dorion, would pursue immediate upgrades to fill the hole left in their lineup by Norris’ absence. Veteran forward Derick Brassard is currently occupying Norris’ old slot in the lineup, and seeing as the Senators have hopes of contending in the Atlantic division, so they may want to upgrade on Brassard, who had 19 points in 46 games last season.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger on today’s Insider Trading program, that’s not the direction the Senators will be headed. Dreger reports that Ottawa feels “that they are OK” despite Norris’ injury, and they believe that they have the depth in their lineup to overcome the challenges they’ll face in his absence. The Senators certainly have enviable scoring depth, and with Shane Pinto off to a scorching hot start, the need to find an immediate upgrade at center looks to be less urgent.
Some other notes regarding Eastern Conference teams:
- New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood is out with a day-to-day injury and could return as soon as tomorrow, reports Amanda Stein of the Devils’ team website. While this injury appears to be a minor one, it’s worth noting considering the larger situation Blackwood finds himself in. A pending arbitration-eligible restricted free agent, Blackwood is looking to rebound after an injury-plagued 2021-22 campaign that saw him post an .892 save percentage in 25 games. Staying healthy could be the key to him having that rebound season, so hopefully he’ll find his way back into the lineup quickly.
- In another injury update concerning the Devils, forward Ondrej Palat is “continuing to be evaluated” for a lower-body injury, per Devils head coach Lindy Ruff. According to Ruff, an update on that injury should come in the “next few days.” Palat was the team’s major free agent signing this past summer and has three goals in six games so far this season.