Matt Puempel claimed off waivers by Rangers; forward never panned out in Ottawa | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Matt Puempel claimed off waivers by Rangers; forward never panned out in Ottawa

Ottawa Senators' Matt Puempel celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 in Detroit. The New York Rangers have claimed forward Puempel off waivers from the Ottawa Senators. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Paul Sancya
November 21, 2016 - 12:56 PM

OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators would have preferred to see Matt Puempel remain in the organization, but wish him well in New York.

The Senators placed the forward on waivers Sunday and were hopeful he would clear and make his way to the Binghamton Senators, but the New York Rangers picked him up Monday afternoon.

Puempel, selected 24th overall by the Senators in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, never seemed to find the offensive skills that made him so attractive to Ottawa initially.

Puempel was given opportunities at the start of training camp but was surpassed by Ryan Dzingel, who has been a pleasant surprise for head coach Guy Boucher.

Dzingel was told to find permanent accommodations in Ottawa, as he will be sticking around.

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion admitted they were disappointed to lose Puempel, but felt the need to risk putting him on waivers.

"We just felt that with Matt whatever line you were going to be on, whether it was first to fourth, at some point and time you needed to produce," said Dorion. "We felt he'd lost his confidence and we felt for him to maybe go to Binghamton and get his confidence back as far as scoring touch, but now he belongs to the Rangers and we want to wish him the best of luck and most likely we'll see him next Sunday."

Puempel had four goals and two assists in 52 NHL games. The 23-year-old was pointless in 13 games this season.

Puempel was the last of the Senators three first-round picks remaining from the 2011 draft. Mika Zibanejad, chosen sixth overall, was traded to the Rangers this past summer for Derick Brassard, while Stefan Noesen, selected 21st, was sent to Anaheim as part of the trade for Bobby Ryan in 2013.

Goaltender Andrew Hammond, who cleared waivers Sunday, was sent to Binghamton on Monday.

Hammond, who suffered a groin injury in October, found himself the odd-man out after the Senators acquired Mike Condon earlier this month.

With Craig Anderson dealing with his wife's cancer diagnosis and Hammond sidelined, the Senators felt the need to sign Condon and were quickly impressed.

"With Andrew, obviously everyone knows he refused a conditioning assignment about a week ago," said Dorion. "I put out a note to all the GMs saying if anyone had interest to contact me. Obviously a few teams inquired about him, but at the end of the day they decided to go in another direction."

Hammond has a cap hit of $1.35 million and another year left on his contract.

Anderson will get the start Tuesday night as the Senators take on the Montreal Canadiens.

With just eight goals in its last five games the Senators understand the need to start producing offensively. The lineup could be bolstered by the return of Mike Hoffman, who missed the last two games with a groin injury.

"Yesterday it felt pretty good, but probably going to wait to see for (Tuesday) because it’s not 100 per cent yet," said Hoffman. "If all things go the right way then hopefully it will be ready to go."

Forward Bobby Ryan remains questionable as he recovers from an injured finger.

Centre Curtis Lazar, who was recalled from Binghamton for Saturday's game, is excited to get another game under his belt. Lazar played Saturday with just over three hours sleep and while he was happy with his game feels better prepared having spent some time with the team.

"I'm settled in my place again and can get back to routine which is big," Lazar said. "It helps getting a day of practice, feeling the puck a little bit. I'm expecting to be more like myself Tuesday."

Lazar knows the Senators are in need of some offence and believes he can be the spark plug needed. Boucher has preached the importance of going to the net and creating a presence and Lazar is prepared to do the work.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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