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Ottawa Senators Draft Preview: Overagers

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Six potential overagers the Sens could take in the 2017 draft

Sweden v Canada: Semifinal - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship
Tim Soderlund and Thomas Chabot: future teammates?
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Overagers are always an intriguing part of the draft. Because they’re already a year or two ahead of other draft eligibles, scouts and general managers have to balance how they match up against the others. Often they have evident skill, as the six we are about to profile, and will likely be ready to play professionally before the rest. However, because they’ve already spent more time developing, is it worth taking a chance on someone younger that could turn out to be better?

The Ottawa Senators haven’t been hesitant in the past to select overagers, with some recognizable names such as Mike Hoffman and Zack Smith leading to become significant contributors on the roster. Most recently, the Sens used their fourth round pick in 2016 on Todd Burgess, who missed his first NCAA season due to injury.

Unlike most overagers, who have been passed over once or twice in the draft, the first two profiles will be players re-entering the draft, i.e. players who were already drafted, but for one reason or another didn’t sign a contract with their club by June 1st. The rest are your typical overager: the player passed over in one or two drafts, but has risen to the top to regain consideration.

Giorgio Estephan, Lethbridge Hurricanes: F

SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
2010-11 SSAC Lions Bantam AAA AMBHL 33 27 37 64 4
2011-12 SSAC Lions Bantam AAA AMBHL 32 43 57 100 32 Playoffs 11 19 9 28 2
SSAC Bulldogs Minor Midget AAA AMMHL 2 3 0 3 0
2012-13 SSAC Athletics Midget AAA AMHL 32 17 30 47 12 Playoffs 14 5 6 11 6
Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL 3 1 0 1 0 -2
2013-14 Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL 64 12 12 24 18 -25
Canada Pacific U17 WHC-17 6 3 3 6 0
2014-15 Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL 64 23 28 51 18 -1
2015-16 Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL 59 30 44 74 12 26 Playoffs 5 2 2 4 4 -3
Rochester Americans AHL 6 1 0 1 0 -1
2016-17 Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL 68 35 54 89 39 3 Playoffs 18 11 13 24 8 5
TOURNAMENT STATISTICS
2011-12 Team Edmonton South Alberta Cup 5 5 4 9 0
SSAC Lions Bantam AAA John Reid Bantam 5 6 13 19 4
2012-13 Team Alberta WCCC-16 - - - - -
2014-15 Team Red U18-Dev 3 0 0 0 0
2016-17 WHL All-Stars Jr Super Series 2 0 0 0 2 -1

Background:

Beginning with our first of two draft re-entries, Giorgio Estephan was originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres 152nd overall in 2015. After not inking an entry-level contract, Estephan has the potential to become part of a new franchise. The centreman is known to be a very versatile player. He plays a two-way style, although his passing and shooting have been able to frequently put him onto scoresheets. He stepped into the WHL as a 16-year-old, a rare feat, and has stuck with the Lethbridge Hurricanes ever since. In 2015-16, he was invited on an amateur try-out to join the Rochester Americans (Buffalo’s AHL affiliate) for the end of the season. He played six games, registering one goal.

This Season:

2016-17 found Estephan reach new heights in his scoring ability, attaining new career highs in both goals (35) and assists (54). His Lethbridge Hurricanes made it to the WHL semifinal for the first time since 1997, while Estephan led the team in playoff scoring. However, it wasn’t enough to impress the Sabres, who passed on signing him to an entry-level deal. Like any overager, it’s worth being skeptical since they’ve been in the league so long. He’s not like most other prospects who are 17-18 years old (Estephan’s already 20), so he’s already ahead in the aging curve.

Fit with the Sens:

It’s worth noting that with players re-entering the draft, that they need to be signed right away to an entry-level contract should the team not want to lose them to free agency. Estephan could step into the organization right away, and assist a Belleville Senators team that will need all the help it can get. He won’t necessarily fill an organizational need as a centreman, although he’ll be able to contribute a lot quicker than other projected late rounders.

Nikita Korostelev, Peterborough Petes: F

SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
2011-12 The Hill Academy Varsity CAHS - - - - -
Vaughan Kings Bantam AAA GTBHL - - - - -
Vaughan Kings Minor Midget AAA GTMMHL - - - - -
2012-13 Toronto Jr. Canadi. Mn Mdgt AAA GTMMHL 13 12 14 26 -
Toronto Jr. Canadiens Midget AAA GTHL 1 0 0 0 0 Playoffs 1 1 0 1 0
2013-14 Sarnia Sting OHL 60 17 21 38 23 -35
2014-15 Sarnia Sting OHL 55 24 29 53 18 4 Playoffs 5 1 2 3 6 -1
2015-16 Sarnia Sting OHL 53 23 19 42 15 13 Playoffs 7 0 5 5 2 0
2016-17 Sarnia Sting OHL 31 17 18 35 20 -7
Peterborough Petes OHL 24 12 17 29 12 1 Playoffs 12 4 7 11 4 2
TOURNAMENT STATISTICS
2011-12 Vaughan Kings Minor Midget AAA OHL Cup 5 2 0 2 0
Pro Hockey Selects U15 WSI U15 6 9 2 11 2
2012-13 Toronto Jr. Canadi. Mn Mdgt AAA OHL Cup 5 2 2 4 2
2016-17 Russian Selects U20 Jr Super Series 1 0 0 0 0 0

Background:

Like Estephan, Nikita Korostelev will be re-entering the draft after the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t sign him to a contract. Chosen 185th overall in 2015, Korostelev, although with Russian nationality, has spent his entire playing career in North America. He shoots right, although has played both sides of the wing for the Sarnia Sting in the OHL. His strength is definitely his shot, which has garnered him trusted time on the powerplay. What holds him back, however, is definitely his skating, which although has improved, is still below average in terms of his acceleration and top speed. He isn’t afraid to get a bit physical either.

This Season:

On pace for blanketing his previous career high scoring totals, and the Sarnia Sting not having a competitive year, Korostelev was traded to the contending Peterborough Petes for a slew of draft picks. He continued to score there, and although he was set back by a brief injury, he hung in with the Petes until they were swept in the semifinals.

Fit with the Sens:

Much of the same applies to Korostelev that applied to Estephan. He’s already 20 years old, and will be able to contribute to the inaugural Belleville Senators in what will presumably be a young lineup. His skating is still cause for concern, although when paired with the right player, Korostelev has the potential to be an excellent scoring threat. Plus, how fun would it be to see him sniping against his former draft team, the Leafs?

Denis Smirnov, Penn State University: F

SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
2011-12 Wilkes-Barre Knights Bantam Maj AYBHL 25 39 37 76 6
2012-13 WB/Scranton Knights 16U AYHL 16U 21 23 21 44 24
2013-14 Indiana Ice USHL 47 15 26 41 22 20 Playoffs 12 3 2 5 2 1
2014-15 Fargo Force USHL 53 18 22 40 28 -4
2015-16 Fargo Force USHL 60 29 32 61 37 7
2016-17 Penn State Univ. NCAA 39 19 28 47 18 24

Background:

Unlike the last two prospects profiled, the next four are completely undrafted, and have been passed over at least once. Denis Smirnov is two years removed from his first year of draft eligibility, and will be turning 20 in August. Much like Korostelev, Smirnov has played his entire career in North America despite being Russian-born. Previously playing for Fargo Force in the USHL, his 0.75 points per game didn’t cut it for the draft. His 1.02 points per game the year after didn’t cut it either despite also having smooth hands and a great pass, as the small winger was deemed too risky for someone who’d already been passed over once.

This Season:

What is it then that’s garnering him so much attention now that this will be his third eligible draft? Moving up to the NCAA with Penn. State, Smirnov defied all expectations, leading his team in scoring and being named to the NCAA’s all-rookie team. His skills are finally being recognized, which is why he’s been moving up the draft rankings so quickly. He’s still a small forward at 5’10”, although his skill is evident.

Fit with the Sens:

As an NCAA player, Smirnov won’t be tasked with having to join a professional team immediately, as he can stay for up to another three years at Penn. State. He’ll be playing against top college competition in the Big Ten division, which should help his development path. It may be a couple years before we see Smirnov making an impact, although it could potentially have a high payoff.

Tim Soderlund, Skellefteå AIK: F

SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
2011-12 Skellefteå AIK U16 U16 SM 3 0 0 0 0 -1
2012-13 Clemensnäs HC J18 J18 Elit 19 3 8 11 8 -1 Playoffs 1 0 0 0 2 -2
2013-14 Luleå HF U16 U16 SM 6 5 3 8 37
Luleå HF J18 J18 Elit 18 7 15 22 57 18
Luleå HF J18 J18 Allsvenskan 10 2 4 6 14 0 Playoffs 3 1 2 3 0 3
Luleå HF J20 SuperElit 2 0 0 0 0 -1
Sweden U16 (all) International-Jr 3 0 1 1 2 -2
2014-15 Luleå HF J18 J18 Allsvenskan 5 2 1 3 0 -2
Luleå HF J20 SuperElit 30 8 15 23 24 -3 Playoffs 3 0 0 0 0 -2
Sweden U17 (all) International-Jr 8 0 1 1 4 0
2015-16 Skellefteå AIK J18 J18 Elit 1 0 1 1 0 0
Skellefteå AIK J18 J18 Allsvenskan 0 0 0 0 0 0 Playoffs 1 0 0 0 2 -1
Skellefteå AIK J20 SuperElit 42 21 18 39 26 16 Playoffs 6 1 2 3 0 2
Skellefteå AIK SHL 8 0 0 0 2 -2
Sweden U18 WJC-18 7 1 2 3 2 1
Sweden U18 (all) International-Jr 12 2 2 4 4 3
2016-17 Skellefteå AIK J20 SuperElit 6 2 3 5 4 -1 Playoffs 2 0 1 1 14 1
Skellefteå AIK SHL 39 3 4 7 8 -2 Playoffs 1 0 0 0 0 -1
Sweden U20 WJC-20 7 2 1 3 4 -2
Sweden U20 (all) International-Jr 12 2 1 3 8 -2
2017-18 Skellefteå AIK SHL - - - - -
TOURNAMENT STATISTICS
2012-13 Västerbotten TV-Pucken 8 1 1 2 0 0
2013-14 Norrbotten TV-Pucken 5 1 4 5 68
2016-17 Skellefteå AIK Champions HL 5 0 0 0 2 -3

Background:

A bit undersized at 5’9 and 175lbs, if Tim Soderlund is drafted, it’ll be for his smarts and his speed. Soderlund’s acceleration is listed as his best tool, and has earned him SHL ice-time playing against men compared to playing in the top U20 league during his draft eligible year. Starring for Sweden in the World Juniors, Soderlund played important defensive minutes -- including protecting a lead late and PK 1 -- to get himself noticed.

This Season:

After putting up 39 points in 42 games for his U20 team last year — a mark good enough for fourth on the team -- Soderlund took his game to another level this year. He outscored his former (drafted) teammates (Lindstrom + Berglund) in the SHL in his 9:55/gm, and worked to make a strong Swedish roster for the WJC.

Fit with the Sens:

Soderlund’s scored everywhere he’s been, and the fact that he could get ice-time as a junior on a good SHL squad means something. Many thought he’d be drafted last year, but his size scared teams off and his defensive game wasn’t as solid as it is now. If he is drafted this year, expect Soderlund to be pushed to come over to North America so that teams can get an up-close look at how he can handle the more physical style of play. He definitely fits Guy Boucher’s need for speed, and like Pageau/Dzingel, can intercept forecheckers in Ottawa’s offensive system if he makes it this far.

Matt Timms, Peterborough Petes: LD

SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
2012-13 Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs Bantam SCTAB - - - - -
2013-14 Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs Mn Mdt AAA SCTAMM 32 10 20 30 50 Playoffs 5 0 0 0 6
2014-15 Peterborough Petes OHL 49 1 6 7 14 -17 Playoffs 5 1 1 2 2 -4
Canada Red U17 WHC-17 3 0 0 0 0
2015-16 Peterborough Petes OHL 68 3 18 21 45 9 Playoffs 7 0 2 2 0 1
2016-17 Peterborough Petes OHL 68 11 52 63 28 6 Playoffs 3 0 3 3 0 2
TOURNAMENT STATISTICS
2013-14 Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs Mn Mdt AAA OHL Cup 0 - - - -
Team OMHA Black OGC-16 5 0 3 3 10
2014-15 Team Blue U17-Dev 3 2 0 2 6

NHL Central Scouting ISS McKeen’s Future Considerations
NHL Central Scouting ISS McKeen’s Future Considerations
Outside top 217 (NA) Outside top 31 Outside top 31 Outside top 100

Background:

When a defenceman leads an OHL team in scoring, people take notice. That’s exactly the case for Matt Timms this year as he tries to get drafted for the second year in a row. A late bloomer, Timms has seen his point totals go from 7 in his rookie year, to 21 in his draft year, to 63 this year. What’s the 411 on Timms? From OHL blogger Brock Otten:

There are definitely some things working against him as an NHL prospect. First is his size at 5'10 (in fact, he hasn't really grown since being drafted to the OHL two years ago). The second is that he lacks dynamic skating ability. Those two combined can often be the kiss of death for a defense prospect and NHL attention. But, I feel that Timms has so many other things going for him that he deserves a look and a place on this list. His vision is top notch and it makes him one of the league's elite powerplay QB's. He moves the puck so well and rarely makes a mistake. He's also come a long way defensively, increasing his intensity in the corners and in front of the net. In a lot of ways, Timms compares pretty well to a guy like Darren Raddysh who should most definitely be signed by an NHL team this year.

This Season:

Timms’ 63 points were good for 7th among OHL D, and importantly, over 50% of his points were either goals or primary assists. If we just look at points garnered during 5-on-5, Timms is 4th in OHL D scoring, ahead of the highly regarded Raddysh, Sergachev (TB), and Hronek (DET). Timms doesn’t shoot all that much (1.9 shots/game in all situations), but as Otten mentioned above, it’s his passing ability that’s his primary skill. He played #1D minutes for the Petes all season long and finished with a 53% GF% at 5-on-5.

Fit with the Sens:

A skilled LD, Timms would join the depth chart that currently has Harpur, Englund, Chabot, and Lajoie. With only Chabot having an offensive game worthy of attention, Timms would add a useful dimension to Belleville and could potentially play minutes for the Sens in 2-3 years.

Linus Weissbach, Tri-City Storm: F

SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP G A TP PIM +/- POST GP G A TP PIM +/-
2012-13 Frölunda HC U16 2 U16 Div.1 3 2 4 6 0
Frölunda HC U16 U16 Elit 27 17 19 36 8
Frölunda HC U16 U16 SM 6 0 3 3 2
2013-14 Frölunda HC U16 U16 Elit 18 18 22 40 2
Frölunda HC U16 U16 SM 6 8 3 11 0
Frölunda HC J18 J18 Elit 10 4 5 9 0 5
Frölunda HC J18 J18 Allsvenskan 14 3 6 9 4 0 Playoffs 5 0 0 0 0 0
Sweden U16 (all) International-Jr 4 1 0 1 2 -2
2014-15 Frölunda HC J18 J18 Elit 13 11 12 23 4 17
Frölunda HC J18 J18 Allsvenskan 9 7 7 14 2 13 Playoffs 4 2 1 3 2 0
Frölunda HC J20 SuperElit 16 2 4 6 6 0
Sweden U17 WHC-17 6 2 2 4 2
Sweden U17 (all) International-Jr 13 5 4 9 2 1
2015-16 Frölunda HC J18 J18 Allsvenskan 0 0 0 0 0 0 Playoffs 4 1 1 2 0 5
Frölunda HC J20 SuperElit 44 17 31 48 34 19 Playoffs 3 1 1 2 0 0
Frölunda HC SHL 1 0 0 0 0 0
Sweden U18 (all) International-Jr 7 0 2 2 2 0
2016-17 Tri-City Storm USHL 49 19 28 47 4 1
2017-18 Univ. of Wisconsin NCAA - - - - -
TOURNAMENT STATISTICS
2013-14 Göteborg TV-Pucken 5 2 3 5 2
2015-16 Sweden U18 Hlinka Memorial 5 0 2 2 0 0

Background:

There’s no doubt in my mind that Linus Weissbach has the skill to be an NHLer. He’s got speed to burn, great hands (see highlight video), and has put up points everywhere he’s been. In fact, he led the U20 SuperElit in scoring last year (his draft eligible year) but it wasn’t enough to have teams take a gamble on him. He has a tendency to overpass sometimes, and often uses his speed to burn defenders wide — something that’s harder to do on NHL ice. Teams want Weissbach to grow — being ~165lbs he’s a bit like Erik Karlsson when he was drafted — but with NHL training and conditioning coaches, he should be able to bulk up enough to be a decent pro at the AHL or NHL level.

This Season:

Realizing that teams don’t think he could translate his game to the NHL level, Weissbach flew across the pond and suited up for the Tri-City Storm in the USHL in order to try and prove his doubters wrong. Here, he put up 47 points in 49 games to lead his team en-route to Third All-Star Team honours.

Fit with the Sens:

When drafting an overager, you’re always looking for a diamond in the rough. Despite his limitations, Weissbach has the scoring history to show that he has the talent, and proved his character by moving from Sweden to the U.S. in order to adapt his body to the pro game. He’ll be going to a strong collegiate program in Wisconsin next year in order to maximize his training time while developing slowly in the NCAA.

Highlights:

Poll

Should the Senators choose an overager/re-entry, which one would you like them to choose most?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Giorgio Estephan
    (9 votes)
  • 7%
    Nikita Korostelev
    (8 votes)
  • 9%
    Denis Smirnov
    (10 votes)
  • 14%
    Tim Soderlund
    (16 votes)
  • 15%
    Matt Timms
    (17 votes)
  • 40%
    Linus Weissbach
    (44 votes)
  • 4%
    Other (comment below!)
    (5 votes)
109 votes total Vote Now