Ottawa Senators make roster adjustments with Thomas Chabot returning…

Thomas Chabot’s imminent return to the Ottawa Senators has prompted strategic roster adjustments by Steve Staios, the team’s president of hockey operations and interim general manager. To accommodate Chabot’s activation off long-term injured reserve and his $8-million salary, the Senators needed to clear $1.55 million U.S. in cap space. The absence of center Ridly Greig, sidelined due to injury, provided temporary relief for Staios.

In response, Staios made two key moves, placing both Greig and center Mark Kastelic, recovering from high-ankle sprains, on LTIR retroactively to Nov. 3. This timeline renders them eligible to return after missing eight games, potentially being back in action against the New York Rangers on Tuesday. Currently, the Senators have $148,000 in cap space, and if Greig is ready to play on Tuesday, a decision between forwards Zack MacEwen or Matthew Highmore may be necessary to make roster space, potentially requiring a move to the AHL affiliate in Belleville.

Chabot, who suffered a right hand injury on Oct. 26, is set to make his return after missing 10 games. He expressed eagerness to contribute and emphasized the team’s goal of progress in upcoming games. Chabot’s presence is expected to alleviate defensive pressure, allowing Jakob Chychrun and Jake Sanderson, who have carried a significant workload, to benefit from a more balanced defensive lineup.

Coach D.J. Smith stressed the importance of a strong top four defensemen, especially during away games, where the team lacks the advantage of last-minute changes. Chabot’s anticipated pairing with Artem Zub and Chychrun with Sanderson is seen as a positive alignment, likely improving the team’s defensive performance.

Despite defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker likely not playing against the Blue Jackets, he won’t be put on waivers, given his commendable performance in the recent 12-game stretch. There is acknowledgment that another NHL team, such as the San Jose Sharks, would likely claim him if he were placed on waivers.

The Senators are awaiting the recovery of 2021 first-round pick Tyler Boucher, who injured a groin muscle before rookie camp in September. While there is optimism about his return, there is currently no specific timetable. Boucher has been engaged in skating activities and spent time in Ottawa this week working with the Senators’ training staff.

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