Jared Cowen #2 of the Ottawa Senators at American Airlines Center on December 1, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.
(November 30, 2011 - Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)

Big addition: Sens’ Cowen to make season debut tonight

After a season of getting decimated by injury, the Ottawa Senators are rounding into form.

That was the news out of the Canadian capital on Tuesday as defenseman Jared Cowen — who hasn’t played at all this season after undergoing torn labrum surgery — will make his season debut tonight against Carolina.

The 22-year-old was hurt on Oct. 19 while playing for AHL Binghamton. The shoulder injury was initially diagnosed as minor but, after missing seven straight games and showing no signs of improvement, the decision was made for him to go under the knife — a procedure that was supposed to end his season.

At the time, it was a huge blow for the Senators, who expected Cowen to play in the top four this season.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound rearguard played all 82 games last year — his rookie campaign — scoring 5G-12A-17PTS. He led all Sens defensemen in hits during the regular season, then upped the ante in a seven-game playoff loss to the Rangers, leading all skaters with 28 hits.

In late March, Cowen surprised many by returning to practice, fueling speculation he’d be able to play this year.

The Senators have now returned goalie Craig Anderson and last year’s leading scorer, Milan Michalek, from injury. Reigning Norris winner Erik Karlsson has resumed skating after suffering a lacerated Achilles, and forward Jason Spezza is on the mend from a back injury and could be ready for the playoffs.

Ottawa has seven games remaining in the regular season, including a make-up date for yesterday’s postponed contest against the Bruins, due to the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.

Slepyshev earns final Oilers roster spot; Draisaitl to AHL

Anton Slepyshev, Anton Lander
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The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.

The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.

The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.

But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.

“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”

Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.

Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado

Jared McCann, Connor McDavid, Ben Hutton

A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.

The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)

It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.

Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.

Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.