The Ottawa Senators kick off the 2022-23 NHL season tonight, with renewed excitement and optimism surrounding the club after missing the playoffs in five straight seasons.
The Senators open the new season in Buffalo against the Sabres, with the home opener set for Tuesday, Oct. 18 against the Boston Bruins.
The Senators begin the new season with several new faces, including Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat, while expectations are high for the young core of the team that includes captain Brady Tkachuk, assistant captain Thomas Chabot, and young stars Josh Norris, Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at what you need to know about the Senators as the 2022-23 season begins.
The Ottawa Senators kicked off the NHL free agent season by signing Claude Giroux to a three-year, $19.5-million contract.
Giroux went to high school in Ottawa and spent his summers in the capital. The seven-time NHL all-star played 1,000 games in Philadelphia, before being traded to the Florida Panthers last season. He has 294 goals and 629 assists in 1,019 NHL games.
In practice on Wednesday, Giroux was on a line with Alex DeBrincat and Josh Norris.
The Senators acquired star forward Alex DeBrincat from the Chicago Blackhawks at the NHL draft, in exchange for a first-round pick and a second round pick in this year’s draft.
The 24-year-old is a two-time 40-goal scorer, who led the Blackhawks in goals last season. In 368 games with the Blackhawks, DeBrincat had 160 goals and 147 assists.
DeBrincat will be a restricted free agent after the 2022-23 season.
Tyler Motte agreed to a one-year, $1.35 million contract with the Senators last month.
Motte had 15 points in 58 regular season games for the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers last season, and scored two goals for the Rangers in the playoffs.
On Wednesday, Motte was skating on a third line with Shane Pinto and Mathieu Joseph. Motte is expected to be a key member of the Senators penalty killing unit this season.
Cam Talbot will start the season on injured reserve, but will be expected to be a key member of the goaltending tandem with Anton Forsberg this season.
The Senators acquired Talbot from the Minnesota Wild in July in exchange for Filip Gustavsson.
The Caledonia, Ont. native ranked 10th among NHL goaltenders last year with 32 victories.
Talbot has spent nine seasons in the NHL, starting 381 games and picking up 201 wins.
ROOKIES TO WATCH
Jake Sanderson will make his long awaited debut for the Senators on opening night.
Sanderson signed an entry-level deal with the Senators after the University of North Dakota season ended in April, but he did not play as he recovered from a hand injury.
Sanderson was selected by the Senators with the fifth pick in the 2020 NHL draft.
Shane Pinto’s 2021-22 season was limited to five games after suffering a shoulder injury early in the season.
Now fully healthy, Pinto is penciled in to the third line for opening night in Buffalo.
Pinto played 12 games for the Senators at the end of 2020-21 season after his season ended at the University of North Dakota, recording a goal and adding six assists.
Pinto is one of the core members of the team moving forward.
Derick Brassard returns to the Ottawa Senators for a second stint, this time on a one-year, $750,000 deal. Coach DJ Smith announced Brassard was signing a contract during the club’s practice on Monday.
Brassard played two seasons with the club from 2016 to 2018, scoring 32 goals and adding 45 assists. The 35-year-old played with Philadelphia and Edmonton last season.
For the second straight off-season, the Senators locked up key members of the young core to long-term deals.
Tim Stutzle signed an eight-year, $66.8 million contract extension. The 20-year-old had 22 goals and 36 assists for the Senators last season.
In July, the Senators announced an eight-year contract extension with forward Josh Norris, worth $63.5 million. Norris had a team high 35 goals for the Senators last season.
Captain Brady Tkachuk, Drake Batherson and Thomas Chabot have all signed contract extensions with the club.
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