After a dreadful game on Saturday night, you would think there’s nowhere to go but up for the Ottawa Senators. Except Sunday didn’t start out on a good foot either. The Ottawa Senators announced this afternoon that they have sent down Thomas Chabot and Ben Harpur to the AHL.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) October 1, 2017
Ottawa Senators Assign Thomas Chabot to AHL
Of the two defencemen that were sent down, Chabot was the big surprise. This news comes to a shock of many Sens fans. For the most part, Chabot looked spectacular in the pre-season. He was undoubtedly the Senators best defender in preseason. With Erik Karlsson looking highly doubtful for the start of the regular season, this move makes even less sense. Many fans thought that reason alone would allow Chabot to start with the big club on October 5th. Not only fans but even general manager Pierre Dorion was confident in his young defender, saying many times that Chabot making the opening night roster is very likely. When a general manager makes comments like those and turns back on them, it makes people wonder what went on behind closed doors.
If Karlsson is unable to lay October 5th, some might argue it would be more beneficial to the team to keep Chabot up until Karlsson draws back into the lineup. With the Sens remaining defenders, there is very little offence if any coming from the Senators back end with this lineup.
Some would argue they would have wanted Chabot to stay up so he could provide that offence, clearly Senators management would rather Chabot develop in Belleville for the time being.
Why Thomas Chabot Might’ve Been Sent Down
Although Chabot looked great in the pre-season, as competition got tougher the young defender started to struggle. He started having trouble adapting to defence in his own end when legitimate NHL players were coming towards him. That’s most likely not the sole reason he was sent down, but it could have been one of them. Chabot will look to improve his game down in Belleville. It’s not necessarily a bad thing for Chabot to be sent down, as many players need some AHL time. Although, sending him down when Erik Karlsson is projected not to play sounds out of place.
Maybe the Senators have something brewing here. Karlsson has seemed pretty firm that he won’t be able to start on opening night. In the most recent press conference Senators head coach Guy Boucher sounded more hopeful about Karlsson. He stated that he has looked fantastic in recent practices. Boucher also said at the training camp that the team will carry an extra defender to start the year. With two being sent down today, that leaves them at six defenders. No extras. With Boucher’s recent comments on Karlsson and not keeping an extra defender around, Karlsson’s return might be imminent.
The Conclusion on Chabot
It’s safe to bet that Chabot does not feel good about himself today. You can’t blame the youngster, he was looked at as a lock for making the Senators opening night lineup, especially with the Karlsson situation. Whether Chabot spends the whole year in Belleville or just a certain amount of time, in the long run this will help him more than hurt him. A 20-year-old offensive defender developing his game in the AHL isn’t a bad thing anyway. It might not be great for the Senators, but it’s helping out Thomas Chabot throughout his young years.
OTTAWA, CANADA – OCTOBER 18: Thomas Chabot #72 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Arizona Coyotes during his first career NHL game at Canadian Tire Centre on October 18, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)