SNAPSHOTS: Matt Murray ready to make his return to Ottawa Senators net Wednesday ... Club signs prospect goalie Mads Sogaard

"I'm just trying to get back into the rhythm of it because I've missed quite a bit of time."

Article content

Matt Murray spent most of Tuesday in the starter’s net during the club’s skate at the Canadian Tire Centre.

We’ll see if he gets the chance to return to that spot Wednesday night against the Winnipeg Jets at home, but as the skate wrapped up it was certainly trending in that direction.

The last time we saw the 26-year-old Murray in the net was March 14 in warmup before a home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and that night he left the ice early due to an undisclosed injury that didn’t allow him to start.

That was six weeks ago and since then a lot has changed, however Murray is ready to roll.

“I feel really good,” Murray said Tuesday. “It was one of those take it one day at a time type of things. It was hard to put a number on it or a timeline, so it can get a little bit frustrating at times.

“But, like I always said, you just have to wake up every day and see how it feels, and go from there.”

Of course the biggest switch was the decision to move goalie coach Pierre Groulx to other duties in the organization while bringing in Zac Bierk from the Arizona Coyotes organization. He worked with coach D.J. Smith while they were together with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals when they won a Memorial Cup in 2015.

Advertisement

Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Bierk has spent he last week working with Murray and preparing him to make his return. There were no specific instructions from Smith on what areas to work on, but Murray was brought here to stabilize the goaltending and that simply hasn’t happened. He has a 6-12-1 record with a 3.84 goals-against average and an .880 save percentage.

“I’m just trying to get back into the rhythm of it because I’ve missed quite a bit of time,” said Murray. “I’ve just been skating on my own for quite some time and not getting a whole lot of shots. I’m trying to get the timing back and get back into the competitiveness of practice. It can get frustrating, at times, with a day-to-day type of thing.

“I just tried to stay the course, get lots of treatment and get lots of work in the gym. I’ve been able to get into a few practices lately, which has been awesome. It’s feeling better and better every day.”

NEW FACES IN NEW PLACES

Since the injury, the club has brought in Anton Forsberg on waivers from the Jets and he’s had some success. Joey Daccord is out for the season with a high-ankle sprain while Filip Gustavsson has been sent back to the club’s AHL affiliate in Belleville.

Murray said he had no issues with Groulx and will stay in touch with him. They worked together after Murray was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in October and for a couple of months while waiting for the season to begin.

“It’s always tough to see a guy go,” Murray said. “He was great with me and I wish him all the best. That’s out of my control and working with Bierk has been good thus far. That’s a really positive thing and I’m looking forward to working with him in the future.”

Advertisement

Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

ANOTHER GOALIE ON THE WAY

The Senators signed goaltender Mads Sogaard to a three-year entry-level deal Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Sogaard was the No. 37 overall pick in the 2019 draft. He played in the pro league in Denmark this season because the Western Hockey League was delayed starting. He had a 10-5-1 record with a .922 save percentage and 2.58 goals-against average.

“Mads’ development continued to strongly progress while playing overseas in 2020-21,” said Dorion. “He’s a big, athletic presence in the net and showcases a very competitive style. We’re anticipating a nice transition to North America next season.”

The decision to sign Sogaard means Marcus Hogberg’s days in the organization are likely numbered. He’s a restricted free agent this summer and it may not make sense to qualify him. He is back from injury, but is now the club’s No. 3 behind Murray and Forsberg, who has moved up the depth chart under Smith.

THE LAST WORDS

The Predators were pleased to get defenceman Erik Gudbranson from the Senators at the deadline. Nashville believes Gudbranson, an Ottawa native who was a dealt for a seventh-round pick in 2023, will be able to help the club’s penalty-killing units. The Predators have struggled to stay healthy on the back end. “We felt like we could get a defenceman who could help us with depth,” said Nashville coach John Hynes. “We feel like Erik has good size, he plays on the penalty kill and he’s a guy that can come in (to help). He’s been through playoffs, he’s got a lot of experience, and we’re looking for him to come in and fit into what we’re doing and how we want to play.” … Winger Connor Brown, who has an eight-game goal-scoring streak, will try to become the first player since TeemuSelanne in 1997-98 to score in nine straight when the club hosts the Jets. Ottawa centre Jason Spezza is the only other Ottawa player to have scored in eight consecutive appearances from Dec. 12, 2009 to Feb. 4, 2010, but he missed 20 games in between. Brown tied it up 2-2 in the first period on Monday to extend his franchise-record streak.

bgarrioch@postmedia.com

Twitter: @sungarrioch

News Near Trenton

This Week in Flyers