If you ask the average Ottawa Senators fan, not many will know the name Macoy Erkamps. That’s understandable though, since he only joined the Senators organization in April after finishing his WHL career as Captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings. People may know his name soon though, depending on how he does in his first professional season in the AHL with Binghamton.
The 21-year-old 6’0”, 198 lbs defenseman from Ladner, BC went undrafted when he was first eligible in 2013, but that didn’t stop him from working hard to achieve his goal of making the NHL. It was not necessarily a huge disappointment as he says that, “I can not say I sensed I was getting drafted. It was more of if it happened then great, but if it didn't then what areas do I need to focus on.”
In fact, teams knew who he was, because right after the 2013 Draft he was invited to Senators development camp where the team got to get a closer look at what kind of player he is. Obviously three years later they like what they see.
Erkamps has always been a solid offensive contributor from the back-end, but his point totals sky-rocketed to 71 last year after scoring 31, 31, 35, and 20 in the seasons prior. His credits to success are quite simple in his mind: “surrounding myself with good people such as the entire Wheat Kings organizations, my family and billets and many more. Also I think being very committed in my offseason training had a big impact.”
It’s also no secret that top-prospect Ivan Provorov had a huge impact on the Wheat Kings and Erkamps himself. The two of them were partners on Brandon’s blueline, and were one of the better pairings in the entire WHL. While Erkamps appreciates Provorov’s play, he doesn’t think that his success this season is solely due to his brilliant partner:
It would be a bit unfair to attribute Erkamps’ jump in point totals purely to his defense partner, and he seems confident enough in his own ability to keep improving offensively and defensively.
“I think my game is versatile in a sense where I will not be planning on changing too much,” he said on the topic of moving to a professional league. “Adjusting to the speed and the strength of the players will be new and I look forward to the challenge.”
There are sure to be some Senators fans following Binghamton that have yet to see Erkamps play and may not know what to expect with him. “I think the best way to describe my game is a puck moving defensemen, and when I see an opportunity to jump in the play I take it. I also try finishing my checks and I’m not afraid to stand up for my teammates when needed.” It’s clear that he has no issue dropping the mitts/sticking up for teammates; just take a look at his Hockey Fights page.
Like all young players, he acknowledges he has some work to do in order to get to where he wants to be.
It seems like the Senators really value big and powerful defensemen, so certainly if he could improve on his strength while also being an offensive contributor, Ottawa could have themselves a fine player down in the minors.
Asked if he had any goals for the upcoming year, he wouldn’t talk specifics, but responded that, “I have set some personal goals, but in the end just want take it day by day, play consistent and not get too far ahead of myself.” As for the Senators themselves, Erkamps says that, “there hasn't been to much discussion about what they want to see [from me],” but surely once the season gets closer it will become more clear.
Even as someone who has captained a WHL team and played five seasons in Major Junior, it is never easy making the jump to the professional level. Erkamps is “excited at the opportunity to meet new people,” although he stated that he grew up playing against Curtis Lazar, so there is at least somebody he knows within the organization.
2016-17 is going to be a big season for Erkamps, as another great year for him could lift his status from unknown commodity to legitimate up-and-coming prospect. It’ll be intriguing to see how he does because Binghamton should be much better than last year, and perhaps he will be a part of that success.
The field is quite open right now in terms of Senators defensemen, and it looks like he sees a good opportunity in front of him. One good season in the AHL, and all of a sudden he could rise quite quickly through the depth chart.
Although it is unlikely he gets the call to the NHL this season, that doesn’t mean he won’t ever get there. For Erkamps, he has to take it “day by day” like he said, and play as well as he can in Binghamton.
If all goes well, in a years time he could go from having no NHL contract to the edge of being called up. He’s certainly someone we should keep an eye on this season.