Senators sign defenceman Aspirot, goaltender Mandolese to entry-level contracts
An Ottawa Senators player carries a hockey bag into the change room. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators have signed defenceman Jonathan Aspirot and goaltender Kevin Mandolese to three-year, entry-level contracts.
Aspirot, a 20-year-old from Mascouche, Que., had two goals and 14 assists over 44 games in 2019-20, his rookie season with the American Hockey League's Belleville Senators.
He ranked third among team defencemen and tied for sixth among the AHL's Senators with a plus-14 rating.
Undrafted, Aspirot originally signed a two-year, two-way AHL contract with Belleville ahead of the 2019-20 campaign. The 2020-21 portion of that contract is automatically voided upon the signing of the entry-level agreement with Ottawa.
Prior to joining the professional ranks, Aspirot had 73 points (22 goals, 51 assists) over 188 games with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Moncton Wildcats.
"Jonathan is a player, with credit to our amateur scouting staff, that we've kept tabs on since he was a development camp invitee in 2018," Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a release. "He's long demonstrated great hockey sense and exceptional determination to the point where he became a regular among Belleville's defence corps last season. His progression has collectively indicated to our hockey staff that he has become a legitimate NHL prospect."
Mandolese, 19, recently completed his fourth major junior season with the Cape Breton Eagles where he posted a 26-8-1 record and led QMJHL goaltenders in save percentage (.925) while ranking third in goals-against average (2.33).
Mandolese, from Blainville, Que., was the Senators sixth-round pick (157th overall) in the 2018 NHL draft.
"Kevin worked hard this past season to become one of the top goaltenders in the QMJHL," Dorion said. "He's positionally sound, has good lateral mobility and has proven adept at reading the play."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2020