One will be, what happens to goalie Filip Gustavsson?
Not having to clear waivers, the easiest move is to re-assign the 23-year old to Belleville. However, Gustavsson’s play, though as limited as it is, has to give general manager Pierre Dorion and head coach D.J. Smith second thoughts.
Recalled to replace Murray, after the goalie suffered a neck injury versus the New York Rangers a week ago, Gustavsson provided strong enough netminding to allow the Senators to pull even after trailing 4-1 with the Washington Capitals Monday. The team eventually lost 7-5 and Gustavsson was awarded the loss in relief of game-starter Anton Forsberg. But the blame couldn’t be laid on the young backstop.
Anointed the start Friday in Dallas, “Gus” made 38 saves in a 4-1 Senators’ victory, his second over the Stars in as many games this season.
The win upped Gustavsson’s record to a stellar 7-1-1 as a starter since making his NHL debut on March 17 coming on for an injured Joey Daccord early in the third period of that game against the Vancouver Canucks. Down 2-1, the Senators tied the game, before eventually losing in a shootout.
During his postgame availability Friday, Smith said, “At the end of the day, we’re in a business to win games. If a goalie is going to win games and play like that, certainly he’ll continue to play.”
Smith is most certainly correct. Hockey is a business after all. Senators’ fans have been reluctant to return to the Canadian Tire Centre in droves. Hesitancy due to the pandemic is definitely a contributor, but a winning team may put fans in the seats.
So are we being set up for an old-fashioned goaltender controversy?
One would like to think so.
Ep 12: Biting, Montreal, COVID, and Penguins Sale Updateby Full Press Coverage on December 1, 2021 at 5:52 pm
Mike, Jim, and Chris […]
In 12 career games with the Senators, Gustavsson has posted a 7-2-2 record, 2.18 goals against average, .933 save percentage.
Murray who had his ups and downs, with more downs than ups last season, concluded the 2021 campaign on a high note. The 27-year old compiled an 8-5-0 record in his final 13 appearances. Under new goalie coach Zac Bierk, Murray earned a 3-2-0 mark, with an incredible 1.37 GAA, .954 Sv Pct.
Prior to his injury, the Muskoka area resident was off to a great start this season. His 1.60 GAA, .936 Sv Pct. belies this.
When push comes to shove, Forsberg may become the odd man out. Signed to a one-year, $900,000 deal in the off-season, the 28-year old made a career-high 46 saves versus the Toronto Maple Leafs in the season-opener. In three appearances since, Forsberg has allowed nine goals on his last 48 shots.
To keep Gustavsson on the NHL roster, Forsberg will likely have to be waived. It’s a tightrope that management may look to walk if their mantra truly is; the best players play.
There’s nothing to be gained for the Pittsburgh Penguins 2016 55th overall selection by heading to the American League other than building more reps.
Gustavsson’s AHL stats are actually subpar on the whole. In 76 career games, Gustavsson possesses a 3.21 GAA, .894 Sv Pct for the B-Sens.
Last season, the youngster told Full Press Hockey his style of game is more conducive to the NHL.
“My technique how I play is structured. The saves are a lot more easy. The D’s and the forwards help me make those easy saves by pushing to the outside. And I can just be there to soak the puck up.”
Armed with a one-way contract next season, Gustavsson will be in Ottawa to stay.