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Svatos brings depth to Senators' depleted roster

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
The Senators hope Marek Svatos, whom they claimed off waivers today from the Nashville Predators, can ease the strain on their forward ranks caused by injuries and trades (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images).

Call it a match made by fortuitous timing.

With their forward ranks depleted by injury and trades, the Ottawa Senators claimed Marek Svatos off waivers from the Nashville Predators earlier today. The 28-year-old native of Kosice, Slovakia, is expected to make his debut with the Senators this weekend.

"We can bring him in and we get a 20-game look at him, and we can see what he can bring to the organization," Senators general manager Bryan Murray said of Svatos, who is currently on a one-year, two-way contract. "We've talked about him a couple of times this year. He's not a big guy (5-10, 185 pounds), but he has a history of scoring goals and we really need people (for our lineup)."

Svatos's arrival coincided with the trade of forward Alex Kovalev to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. But even if that deal hadn't gone down, the Senators were still looking at being shorthanded up front for Friday's matchup with the Sabres in Buffalo (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200).

Forward Chris Neil suffered a lower-body injury during Wednesday's 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers and won't make the trip to Buffalo, though Senators head coach Cory Clouston was hopeful he'd be good to go Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200). Ottawa was already missing captain Daniel Alfredsson (lower back) and forwards Peter Regin (left shoulder) and Jesse Winchester (lower body), with only the latter likely to see action any time soon.

The rash of injuries, combined with the trades of Kovalev, Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly and Jarkko Ruutu — all of them for draft picks — has forced the Senators to bring up a number of players from their American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y.

"We've got eight guys from Binghamton (in the lineup) for tomorrow night," said Murray. "It's a lot for a team that's trying to make the American Hockey League playoffs and is playing well. Unfortunately, we have to take players from them but for now, that's the case."

Svatos should provide a bit of relief in that area. He produced 94 goals in five seasons for the Colorado Avalanche before signing with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League to start this season. He was granted his release from the team in December and signed with the St. Louis Blues, who then lost him to the Predators on re-entry waivers.

In nine game with the Predators this season, Svatos recorded one goal and three points. He also crossed paths with Clouston in his junior days, when both were members of the Memorial Cup-winning Kootenay Ice in 2001-02. Clouston, then an assistant coach for the Ice, said Svatos was "a huge part of that team," adding "I don't think I've ever coached a guy who liked to score more. He absolutely just loves to score."

"He's a goal scorer. He's always been that," Clouston said of Svatos. "Real good around the net. Not a big guy, very quick, great hands ... it's been awhile since I've seen him, but he has had a couple of real good years in the NHL. He's had some injury problems that has hurt his development and hurt him overall.

"We'll wait and see. It's tough to put any expectations on him since we only have 20 games or so left. But it's also an opportunity for him to possibly rekindle his career. He can score, he has been a scorer at this level and he will get an opportunity."

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