The Swiss press is reporting today that Chris DiDomenico has been signed by the Ottawa Senators for the remainder of this year. This is a depth acquisition of a novel sort.
According to watson, DiDominco [sic] has signed a one-way contract with the Senators for the rest of this season and a two-way contract for the upcoming season. Ottawa, however, has yet to confirm this contract.
DiDomenico will have to clear waivers before he can join the Senators if this deal does go through. This is not without precedent, signing a player at this point in the season. The Flyers put Ray Emery on their bench in a similar deal when they had injury concerns about their goalies. It isn’t common, however, and the waiver requirement is likely reason number one why teams rarely do it.
Reason no. 2 is the lack of potential players who are free to sign. The Swiss league just finished their regular season, and DiDomenico’s team, the SCL Tigers, did not make the playoffs. He had to have had a contract that had an open NHL out clause, however, since the non-playoff teams play in a “playout” series to avoid relegation.
So, if an NHL team wanted the NLA points leader, Mark Arcobello, they would need to talk him out of his playoffs, which start soon, and get him out of his contract, pay him enough to make him come back to the NHL and then get him through waivers.
DiDomenico is a special case. He was a Leafs draft pick, a sixth rounder, and you can see him above facing off against Sidney Crosby in a preseason game. He never played any regular season Leafs games, rather he was bundled off to Chicago in the trade that brought Kris Versteeg to the Leafs.
He scored a lot in junior hockey, had seven points in six games at the WJC, but failed to stick in the NHL. He couldn’t crack the AHL in the Chicago organization either, and after two years of AHL and ECHL play, he went to Europe and worked his way up from the Italian league, the Swiss B league and then into the A league when his team gained promotion.
As a depth signing, he’s an interesting case. He’s not a big guy, he’s not a hitter, he’s only been okay at faceoffs, and he’s been a power play specialist, not a penalty killer. Ottawa has a lot of coaches who know the Swiss league, however, so he must fill a need they have. I guess Toronto was never going to trade them Josh Leivo, so they went looking for a depth guy who could maybe play up the lineup some other way.
Whatever happens, it just goes to show you that the NHL dream never dies, and old Leafs draft picks can show up in surprising places. Does he qualify for the curse, though? Is he destined to score against the Leafs whenever they play the Senators?