The Ottawa Senators continued their busy Canada Day with the signing of unrestricted free agent forward Jordan Szwarz on a one-year deal.
Szwarz was named the captain of the Bruins’ AHL affiliates the Providence Bruins last season and has been a regular 20+ goalscorer in the minor leagues since moving to Rhode Island.
In 185 regular season appearances with the AHL Bruins, Szwarz has 66 goals and 148 total points – making him one of the premier minor league players available in free agency this summer.
Despite his impressive performances in the minors, the 28-year-old has made just 47 appearances in the NHL after originally being selected by the Arizona Coyotes in the fourth round (97th overall) of the 2009 Draft.
In those 47 games, Szwarz scored just four goals and had an additional three assists with both the Coyotes and Boston.
With the Ottawa Senators entering a crucial rebuild in 2019, the organisation will rely heavily on their farm team, the Belleville Senators, to help develop their top young prospects until they are ready to make the jump into the major leagues.
Having a veteran minor league player such as Szwarz, who has taken on the responsibility of wearing the coveted ‘A’ and ‘C’ in almost every season at that level, the Senators are bringing in a guy that will be expected to be a mentor to the younger players working their way through the system.
Prospects don’t always jump immediately from juniors or Europe into the NHL team and spells in the AHL can help prospects adjust to the professional leagues or North American ice if arriving from abroad.
Setting a good example and expectations in the minor leagues is important to an NHL team’s development and players such as Szwarz are worth bringing in, even if they are not expected to play in the majors.
His value to the team can be seen in the deal he has signed, with his NHL salary of $800,000 dropping to $425,000 while he is in the minors.
That’s a big contract for a player expected to remain in the AHL and it shows that the Senators are truly trying to build a professional culture throughout their development system and not just in the NHL club.
What do you think Sens fans? Are you pleased to see the team care about their farm system? Do you see Szwarz ever playing in Ottawa this season? What are your thoughts on the team’s moves so far on Canada Day? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!