Monday afternoon during the team pre-game warmup, Mark Borowiecki suffered a leg laceration, and there has been very little details about the injury to date. Apparently Borowiecki cut himself on something while his teammates were playing soccer in the hallway. He required 48 stitches and the cut was three layers deep, and it can only be described as gruesome from those who saw it.
Because of this, Borowiecki will be out a few weeks and with him and Marc Methot out for a while, the Ottawa Senators now have only 12 forwards and 6 defensemen. They could have called up a forward by now, but they haven’t. However, now that another defenseman is hurt, it seems plausible that another AHL body will be coming up. Who could the call-ups be then?
Well, there is essentially only two options: Chris Wideman and Fredrik Claesson. Wideman was drafted quite a while ago, back in 2009 in the fourth round. He’s 24 years old, so there shouldn’t be any questions about his NHL readiness. Not many Senators fans know much about Wideman, but he has quietly built has value over the past few years. He originally played at Miami University where he played in relative obscurity compared to other Ottawa prospects who play in the CHL.
Last year he was fantastic, putting up 51 points in 78 games; and this year he has been even better. He leads the team with 28 points in 30 games, and is 9th in the entire AHL in points. Erik Karlsson has been the only Senator to put up good offensive numbers this year, although Patrick Wiercioch and Cody Ceci have potential to be better. However, it’s clear that breaking out of the zone is a problem right now and an offensive minded defenseman like Wideman could help with that.
I know that Senshot’s own Jeff Ulmer has praised Wideman before, and he could help a lot on the power play so Karlsson isn’t relied on too much. I’m sure management is strongly considering him, because he’s surely due for a chance with the big club.
The other good option is Fredrik Claesson. Claesson is more familiar to people who follow the Senators, although he has yet to play in the NHL, just like Wideman. He was drafted back in 2011 in the 5th round, but he was a late birthday so he’s actually 22 years old. He is definitely not an offensive defenseman like Wideman, as he recorded 29 points with Binghamton last year, which is most likely a high point.
While Claesson won’t be able to bring much of an offensive flare, he should be able to help out in the defensive zone with his solid coverage. The problem with Ottawa’s defense is two-pronged: firstly, they have trouble breaking out so their offensive output is limited, but also they seem to have a severe problem with positioning and simply being able to contain other teams forwards. Claesson would help out with the latter, and I think he is already better defensively than most players on the team.
He seems to have a ceiling of a second pairing player, which is fine because Ottawa needs any kind of top-4 defenseman they can get. I would like to see Claesson up with the team at some point this season, because I’m curious if he could actually improve the team’s defense, or if he’s not quite ready yet. Whether he can help or not, it’s clear that the current group is not getting it done, and changes are needed.
If it were up to me, I would call-up Wideman and see if he could help out in all areas of the game. He would certainly make the team more entertaining. However, I would still love to see Claesson get called up, because I’ve been a fan of his since he got drafted. Either way, Ottawa should be calling up a potential solid NHL player, and I’m looking forward to seeing one of them.
With the smallest possible roster right now, it looks like one of these players will be called up soon.