Ottawa Senators Sign Defenceman Nikolas Matinpalo to New Deal

ottawa senators sign defenceman nikolas matinpalo to new deal

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The Ottawa Senators have announced they've signed Finnish defenceman Nikolas Matinpalo to a one-year, two-way extension. The contract is worth $775,000 in the NHL and $200,000 in the American Hockey League.

The 25-year-old played 67 games with the Belleville Senators last season, scoring 14 points and leading the club with a plus-15 rating. He made his NHL debut in a win at Pittsburgh in October and was held scoreless over four games with Ottawa.

Of the 16 Belleville players under contract, Matinpalo is now the highest-paid Belleville Senator (AHL salary), ahead of Max Guenette, who just signed for $120,000.

Both players hope to push for a bottom-pairing job this fall in Ottawa, where right-shot D are in short supply, at least for now. More likely, after a few AHL departures, newly re-signed B-Sens head coach David Bell will lean heavily on both players in Belleville this season.

Lassi Thomson and Jacob Larssson were not re-signed, and they've returned to Europe to play next season. Team captain Dillon Heatherington may follow suit, and Tyler Kleven may compete for an NHL job.

If Heatherington and Kleven aren't back, that leaves a blue line of Matinpalo, Guenette, Donovan Sebrango, Jorian Donovan, Djibril Touré, and Tomas Hamara, who are all signed for this fall and targeted for Belleville. If the B-Sens roll with that, then Matinpalo, who'll be 26 on opening night, is the veteran greybeard of the bunch.

"Nikolas is a steady defensive defenceman who impressed while making his transition to the North American game last season," said Staios. "He held a key shutdown role in Belleville, was a strong penalty killer and performed well in NHL games when he was recalled to Ottawa."

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