While the Ottawa Senators have yet to sign an essential piece of their roster for this coming season in Brady Tkachuk, they did manage to sign another player to a two-way contract this weekend. They also brought in journeyman Tyler Ennis on a professional tryout.
The Sens prospects played two games Saturday and Monday against the Montreal Canadiens. Training camp gets underway this week on Sept. 22 at the Canadian Tire Centre when players file in for their pre-camp medical evaluations. Some of the prospects from the Baby Sens camp will look to impress general manager Pierre Dorion and head coach D.J. Smith into giving them a spot on the roster.
Also, did you see that? Tim Stutzle’s shot blew a lot of minds last year, but on Sunday, his TikTok account showed him exploding a watermelon to showcase his deadly release.
Hockey is back in Ottawa, and there’s plenty to look at in this edition of the Senators News & Rumors at The Hockey Writers, so let’s get to it.
Ennis Signs PTO with Sens
Former Senators’ forward Tyler Ennis signed a professional tryout contract with the club on Sunday. The 31-year-old has played with the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs, and last season, he also saw action with the Edmonton Oilers. Despite resting on the taxi squad for most of the final stretch, he contributed in a bottom-six role with the team during their early postseason exit at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets.
Ennis played with the Senators in 2019-20, where he contributed 14 goals, 33 points in 61 games. “Tyler played well here in Ottawa in 2019-20. He has considerable NHL experience and someone we’ll look forward to evaluating as camp gets underway,” GM Dorion said in a release. “The PTO represents a good opportunity for both him and for us.”
If he has a strong camp, Ennis adds some veteran depth for the club heading into the season. He can play both wings if needed. As well as being a potential offensive contributor, he will also look to fill a role as a veteran voice on the bench to help some young prospects further their development in the league.
Logan Brown Sign Two-Way Contract
Speaking of prospects, it’s not the contract resolution most fans wanted, but it’s still a bit of good news that the team was able to re-sign promising forward Logan Brown to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750,000.
Brown played in 13 games for the Senators’ American Hockey League club in Belleville last year, putting up two goals and nine points. He also played one NHL game last season. “Logan is among the most talented prospects in our organization,” Dorion said in a statement released on the signing. “He possesses many of the tools that could ultimately help him find success in the NHL. We’re hopeful that a productive summer translates into a good training camp for him here beginning next week.”
Many expect Brown to be in the running for a spot on the opening night lineup just as he was heading into last year’s camp. In 2019, he was called up to the big squad soon after the season began, and it looked like he would get some solid experience that year until an unfortunate injury derailed his progress a bit. In 30 career NHL games, Brown has notched nine points. Over the last few seasons in the AHL, he’s totalled 79 points in 94 games.
Just before signing his new deal, Brown was spotted training on ice in St. Louis with Tkachuk. Both players reportedly live in the Show-Me State.
While most of his Ottawa Senators teammates are in town to prepare for the opening of training camp next Wednesday at Canadian Tire Centre, Tkachuk celebrated his 22nd birthday more than 1,600 kilometres away in the Show Me State by taking a twirl during a pre-season skate in St. Louis with Blues forwards Robert Thomas and Vladimir Tarasenko.‘Brady Tkachuk is skating in the Show Me State while waiting for his agents to get a deal done with Ottawa.’ Bruce Garrioch, Ottawa Sun. Sept. 16, 2021.
Matthew Tkachuk Throws Shade on Senators Signing Brady Soon
Tkachuk’s older brother Matthew, currently under contract with the Calgary Flames, appeared on Sportsnet’s 31 Thoughts Podcast last week to cast some doubt in the mind of Senators fans that the team and his brother, Brady, were close to signing a new deal. Brady is a restricted free agent. The Senators have reportedly offered him an eight-year contract with $8 million per season.
Reports had circulated just one day before his appearance on the show with Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman that the team and the player were closing in on a new contract. Matthew’s comments revealed that Brady and the Sens were “not too close” in getting a deal and that the entire family does negotiations on agreements “by committee.” Brady wasn’t “as cutthroat as we were during it, but he’s starting to become more of a Tkachuk the later this goes,” Matthew said.
With camp beginning this week, the pressure will be on GM Dorion and his assistants to get a deal done so that Tkachuk doesn’t begin the season behind the eightball without the benefit of extra practise and game time to further develop chemistry with his teammates.
Sen’s Prospect Pinto Wears “C” on Saturday
Prospect Shane Pinto wore the “C” on his jersey for Saturday’s home game versus the Canadiens. Jacob Bernard-Docker and Cole Reinhardt wore the “A.” Baby Sens head coach Troy Mann said he and the rest of the staff made their decisions on the captaincy Friday. As of writing, it’s unclear who will wear the letters for the club Monday night in Brossard, Quebec.
“I thought Shane was the player that stood out the most during the course of rookie camp in terms of his two-way play and his compete,” Mann told nhl.com. “He was staying out late working on his game, asking questions, so we thought he would be a good choice.”
Pinto didn’t expect he would get the honour but said in a release that the experience was “pretty cool” and that he “took pride in that and I’m happy we got the win.” The team came from behind, down 3-2 to the Canadiens in the third, to win the game 4-3, thanks to goals from Max Guenette and Mark Kastelic. Goalie Leevi Meriläinen preserved Saturday’s win with this fantastic save:
Watermelon Stutzel High
On Sunday, Stutzel took to TikTok to showcase his lethal shot, exploding a watermelon he placed on top of the net. What a sweet way to put NHL goalies on notice this season. The Senators have a phenomenal talent in the German-born player who dazzled us with his scoring talent last year.
This franchise is looking at Stutzle and others as signs of the future success the team is trying to build towards in the years to come. He most likely has his top-six spot locked in, with many projecting him to be among the Senators scoring leaders at the end of the year.
Camp Begins this Week
Players report to the Canadian Tire Centre Wednesday for their pre-camp physicals. It’s official: hockey is back in the nation’s capital, and there will be plenty of news to come. Check back to The Hockey Writers often as our Senators writing team works through the files to keep you updated, and be sure to keep tabs on our season preview section for the latest.
Mike Carter is a freelance writer and contributor for the Buffalo Sabres with The Hockey Writers and NHLTradeRumors.Me He is @mikecarterlives on Twitter. Mike has been writing professionally since 2012, with stints as a reporter in northern British Columbia and Edmonton, Alberta. He now calls Salmon Arm, B.C. home.