Oct 19: Balcers has been loaned overseas to the Stavanger Oilers of the Norwegian professional league for the time being, though he is expected to return in time for Ottawa’s 2020-21 training camp.
Oct 16: The Ottawa Senators have signed Rudolfs Balcers to a one-year, two-way contract worth $735K at the NHL level. Balcers split the 2019-20 season between Ottawa and Belleville of the AHL. Senators GM Pierre Dorion released an encouraging statement on his young forward:
Despite a discouraging injury at the start to the year, Rudolfs battled back to become an important contributor to Belleville’s success last season. He’s a dynamic player with a great release, who’s quick and who has good skill. We’re confident that he’ll set out to prove that he’s overcome last year’s setback to be a full-time player in Ottawa.
Balcers, 23, was one of the big pieces of the Erik Karlsson trade in 2018 and quickly made his NHL debut with the Senators the following season. He has now played in 51 games for the team, scoring six goals and 17 points in the process.
The injury Dorion is referring to happened in the preseason, halting his preparation for the 2019-20 campaign and limiting him to AHL action through the first part of the season. Once he got back up to speed he showed exactly why Senators fans are so excited about the Latvian winger, recording a point in his first 15 minor league games and 17/19 before a call-up to the NHL.
There’s a lot of talent in Balcers and the Senators are committed to giving the reins to their young core this season, even if they did bring in Evgenii Dadonov this week. He should be in the mix for a full-time spot out of camp.