The Sens two OHL prospects stepped up in a big way and showcased why they stuck so long in Ottawa, while the Belleville Senators went 2-0 this week to end off their 9-game road trip to start the year.
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The Sens first rounder was dynamite, putting up 6 points and 15 shots during Windsor’s three games this week. Brown centers the Spitfires’ top-line with undrafted 20yo Aaron Luchuk (tied for the league lead in points) and rookie Luke Boda, and they generated almost all of Windsor’s offence.
The key stats to keep in mind regarding Brown:
- Are his points coming at 5-on-5 as well as on the PP? We know that Brown’s an elite powerplay player, but to succeed at the NHL level, he’ll have to generate at 5-on-5 too. When Brown struggled last year, he still managed to put up greater than a point-per-game, but more than half of his points were PPP. Currently? Four of his six points were at 5-on-5 — a good sign.
- Is he shooting? Brown’s 15 shots — an average of 5 per game — is great. It’s a sign that he has the time and space to get off accurate shots, and generally speaking, top shot producers can better translate their offence to the NHL.
This is what we expect to see from Brown at the OHL level. His previous best point-per-game mark is 1.25 back in his rookie year; I’d expect him to be at least above 1.5 PPG if he wants to prove that he’s a top-sixer, and closer to his current 2.0 PPG if he wants to end the year T-10 in scoring and make a statement that he’s ready for the NHL next year.
Not wanting to be outdone, Formenton had four points on the same night as Brown, and has six points in five OHL games. Formenton’s been shooting less than Brown (12 shots on goal) but is also playing lower in London’s lineup.
Remember, last season, Formenton played mainly third line duty for Dale Hunter’s Knights, and even found himself on the fourth line as London geared up for a big playoff run by acquiring some top names at the trade deadline. Now, Formenton is getting second line minutes, and rotating in on London’s top powerplay unit while being a fixture on their PK.
Jaros continues to impress. With Thomas Chabot out (more on that in the Silver Linings), Jaros stepped up and contributed two points (2A) in two games from the backend to help Belleville go 2-0 over the Manitoba Moose (WPG) this past weekend. Jaros’ hints of offensive production last year in the SHL continues to translate. He’s currently tied for 5th in scoring (with many other defenders).
Peter Levi recently analyzed a bunch of data through Belleville’s first nine games, and you can see that Jaros appears to play the second-most among defencemen (after Chabot), top PP time (with Chabot), and is infrequently used on the penalty kill. Good signs from a defender who may have a spot on the right-side in Ottawa very soon.
- In AHL action, Thomas Chabot didn’t suit up for Belleville’s last two games. Reports are that it’s a lower body injury, but that he should be good to go for Belleville’s home opener on Wednesday. Colin White was also re-assigned to Belleville and is expected to play his first games of the year after suffering a broken wrist in the preseason.
- Marcus Hogberg’s tumultuous North American start continues. Brampton still hasn’t won a game, so Hogberg’s numbers don’t look very good. Sens management may have noticed this, as Hogberg was recently recalled to Belleville, giving the team four (!) healthy goalies.
- In the NCAA, Christian Wolanin is still at a point-per-game pace, with 8P (3G, 5A) in 8 games. Only two defencemen finished at or above PPG last season, Calgary’s Adam Fox and the highly-touted NCAA FA Daniel Brickley. Wolanin would put himself in good company if he keeps this up for another ~30 games.
- Over in Finland, Markus Nurmi has been playing in the top men’s league and has garnered the attention of the World Juniors squad. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman noted that Nurmi was on Finland’s exhibition roster.