Patrick Wiercioch was injured on Thursday evening, as the Ottawa Senators took home a victory over the Metropolitan Division’s Columbus Blue Jackets — and in his place, the Senators are giving one of their summer free agents a shot in the lineup.
Michael Kostka, an undrafted UMass-Lowell alumnus, was announced as a recall for Ottawa early on Saturday morning. With a goal and five helpers in his first 13 games with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators this fall — and four goals and 20 points in his 70 regular season NHL games to go with >50% possession rates at even strength across his smattering of appearances in various NHL roster lineups — it’s a logical recall, despite the 29 year old’s journeyman status over the last handful of pro seasons.
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch suggested that the recall of Kostka before any other Senators blue line depth wasn’t a surprise due to the Ontario native’s utility, but also alluded to a potential recall of Mark Fraser at some point in the near future. It’s hard to know exactly how long Kostka will remain with the club — and whether he’ll serve out the entirety of Wiercioch’s absence — since the Senators haven’t given a timetable for Wiercioch’s return to the ice just yet.
The Senators, of course, could end up seeing both Kostka and Fraser draw into the lineup at some point; veteran Chris Phillips remains on injured reserve, and former first round selection Jared Cowen is missing from the roster as well. The Atlantic Division club would only need to lose another blue liner for Fraser to get the nod as well, and they’ve got a grueling six-day road trip coming up; although they haven’t been the most snake-bitten roster from a health perspective, they’re far from immune to the scrapes and bumps that hold players out over time.
The Senators will play their first game with Kostka up in the lineup tonight at 7:00 PM EST, as the Philadelphia Flyers host them at the Wells Fargo Centre.