The Ottawa Senators announced that defenseman Nikita Zaitsev (personal) and Vladislav Namestnikov (lower body) were going to miss the next few games. The team also announced that defenseman Erik Brannstrom (undisclosed) was looking to return to the lineup shortly.
Nikita Zaitsev Takes Leave of Absence
Nikita Zaitsev has left the Senators and gone back home to Russia. Zaitsev left the team to take care of some personal problems. So far this season, Zaitsev has zero goals and six assists to go along with six minutes in penalties in 22 games played. His possession numbers are 41.8 percent Corsi For and a relative Corsi of -7.8 percent.
Over his four-year NHL career, Zaitsev has played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators. In 245 career games played, he has 12 goals and 57 assists for 69 career points. Zaitsev was passed over in his draft year but had a very solid few years in the KHL, with his best season seeing his amass 32 points in 57 games with CSKA Moscow. His strong play attracted many NHL teams but he decided to sign with the Maple Leafs after the 2015-16 season.
Zaitsev’s play has divided many in his short time with the Senators. Some people look at him being a valuable leader for the Senators’ young defence core, while others see his possession numbers and shake their heads. While people are divided on what value he provides to the team, no one wants to see a player have to leave their team for personal reasons. It usually never results in a positive situation.
Vladislav Namestnikov Very Sore
The Senators will also be without Namestnikov for the next few games. He was hit hard into the boards in the Senators’ last game against the Montreal Canadiens and ended up leaving the game. So far this season, Namestnikov has six goals and six assists for 12 points to go along with 12 penalty minutes in 20 games played. His possession numbers are 46.4 percent Corsi For and a relative Corsi of -0.2.
Over his seven-year NHL career, Namestnikov has played for the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New York Rangers and the Ottawa Senators. In 382 career games played, he has 72 goals and 98 assists for 170 career points. He was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, 27th overall in the 2011 NHL draft.
Namestnikov has been good for the Senators this season. After he was traded from the Rangers, Namestnikov came in and provided great playmaking prowess while getting top-line minutes. Even though his production has dialled down a bit, he is still a valued member of the Senators.
Erik Brannstrom Nearing Return
Lastly, the Senators announced that defenseman Erik Brannstrom was looking to make a return to their lineup soon. Brannstrom has been out of the lineup for a few games while dealing with an undisclosed injury. So far this season, Brannstrom has zero goals and two assists for two points in 19 games played. His possession numbers are 46.9 percent Corsi For and a relative Corsi of -0.2.
In his very brief NHL career, Brannstrom played solely for the Ottawa Senators. In 21 career games, he has zero goals and two assists for two career points. He was originally drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round, 15th overall in the 2017 NHL draft but was the key piece returned in the Mark Stone trade.
Even though Brannstrom may not have had the best start to his NHL career, the potential is certainly still there. He has amazing playmaking abilities and loves to take control of the play. He is a very fluent skater and knows when the time is right to jump into the rush. The Senators have a very good prospect on their team, who will only look to get better as time goes on.
Continuing Their Hot Start
The Senators have defied the odds so far this year. They have found a way to put a few wins together and would like that to continue. Even though they are missing a few critical pieces in their lineup, they are still confident in their abilities and believe they can compete with other teams in the league. They will look to keep their winning streak intact as they host the New York Rangers in their next game.
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