Austin Watson is confident goaltender Magnus Hellberg will be a good addition for the Senators

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MONTREAL _ Magnus Hellberg is a stranger to Ottawa Senators fans.

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But Austin Watson has seen firsthand what kind of role the veteran goaltender can play after spending three years with the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals and the veteran winger is confident Hellberg will be able to do the job. for the Senators.

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Picked up off waivers from the Seattle Kraken on Monday, the 31-year-old arrived in Ottawa on Tuesday and will travel to the East Coast on Wednesday afternoon. Brought in after the club lost Cam Talbot with a broken rib, Hellberg will be seen as a reliable replacement for Anton Forsberg.

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At 6-foot-6, Hellberg casts a big shadow, but there’s more to his game than that. He finished 13-20-4 with Sochi of the Kontinental Hockey League last season, but he wasn’t on a very good team as he had a .917 save percentage and goalscoring average. allocated of 2.42.

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« He’s tall and he’s super athletic, » Watson said Tuesday. “When you get up there (at his age) and the guys stick around, he’s a competitor and he works. They will love it here. I get along very well with him and I am delighted that he is coming here.

“It’s a good opportunity for him, but as far as goaltenders go, his numbers in the KHL and in the minors speak for themselves. He’s played well over the years and it’s a great opportunity.

Take a look at Hellberg’s career and it’s a road map of the hockey world. He was drafted from Frolunda _ the home of former Senators captains Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Karlsson _ in 2011 by the Nashville Predators and has bounced back since.

A quick count on hockey.db indicates he’s faced 11 different teams since being snapped by the Predators. It was there that Watson met him in the AHL, but had the chance to catch up with Hellberg, who was playing for Team Sweden at the world championships last spring.

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He signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Kraken during the offseason because he wanted to give his NHL career another shot. He was drafted by Nashville when Pekka Rinne was there and was in New York when the Rangers had Henrik Lundqvist.

Artem Zub also played with Hellberg with SKA Saint Petersburg in Russia.

« Everyone has a different story, right? » Watson said. “A big part of the story is you get drafted and play in the minors. You might not even play in the minors now, but back when (Hellberg) and I started, you played in the minors for three tears and then you were unlucky until you ask for exemptions. At that point, a decision had to be made.

« Coming here at his age and giving him another chance definitely shows a lot of determination and you have the guy to thank for that. »

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The news that Talbot, 35, acquired from the Minnesota Wild offseason, will be out for at least five weeks caught everyone off guard. He shot under his kit in the club’s 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on September 24.

Talbot thought it was just a bruise and was in pain so he skated with it for a few days. He was scheduled to start Saturday against the Canadiens at the Canadian Tire Center but was off the ice Friday and was on the day-to-day slate.

General manager Pierre Dorion and trainer DJ Smith were both under the impression that Talbot wouldn’t be out for long until the results of an x-ray came out on Monday afternoon and that’s when that the club lodged its complaint.

« It’s really unfortunate, » Smith said. « I felt like it might take a few days or maybe a practice or two. Then hearing that he’s out, how long he’s out affects us. It’s going to really increase Forsberg’s workload and that’s why Peter went to look for (Hellberg).

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Forsberg will have to carry the ball for the team and Mads Sogaard is expected to be sent to the club’s AHL affiliate in Belleville to continue his development. Kevin Mandolese was called up on Tuesday to disguise himself as a substitute in Montreal.

Forsberg, 29, had good numbers last season and he doesn’t lack the confidence to get the job done. You can’t do anything about injuries, so there’s no sense the Senators are trying to overthink how badly this injury is going to hurt.

« Everybody, including our dressing room, believes in (Forsberg), » Smith said. “They know how talented he is and how hard he works. Guys love it. they’re going to play for him and I’m sure when we start (the season) he’ll be ready.

The hope is that Talbot will return sooner than expected.

« I can tell you Talbot is on the bike, he wants to play and he’s hungry to play, » Smith said. « It’s not nice for him and we wouldn’t put him in a situation where he would be in danger. But, at the same time, if there’s one guy who’s going to beat the timeline, I think it would be him.

Twitter: @sungarrioch

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