No. 25: Macoy Erkamps (Reader rank: 25, Last year: 29)
The dog days of summer are upon us, which makes for the perfect time to begin Silver Seven’s annual tradition of ranking the Ottawa Senators’ top 25 players under 25 years old. Kicking off the series is Macoy Erkamps, who jumps up four spots spots from last year’s rankings, in part due a handful of key players either graduating or leaving the organization (Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel, Curtis Lazar, etc.).
Playing as a right shot defenceman from British Columbia, Erkamps was signed as a CHL free agent to a cheap three year entry-level contract in 2016, after having an impressive overage season captaining the Brandon Wheat Kings. On a team level the Wheat Kings were dominant in 2015-16, winning the WHL title and earning a spot in the Memorial Cup tournament. On an individual level, Erkamps’ 71 points in 72 games seemed impressive on the surface, although it in large part had to do with playing next to up-and-coming star Ivan Provorov. Erkamps doubled his scoring from any previous season, which ultimately landed him a contract with the Senators.
Expected to play in Binghamton for his rookie pro season, Erkamps couldn’t earn the trust of the coaches and was immediately sent down to Wichita of the ECHL. He didn’t play his first AHL game until December 2nd, and received another stint later in March that gave him a total of 11 games played, with the rest played for Wichita.
Known as an offensive minded player, it was disappointing to see Erkamps’ scoring totals at the point they were last season (25 points in 58 GP in ECHL, 2 assists in 11 GP in AHL). At 22 years of age, there’s still time for Erkamps to develop, although he still has a long ways to go if he wants to crack an NHL roster.
It will be interesting to see how the organization manages Erkamps going forward. They weren’t comfortable calling him up last season despite the AHL team’s poverty of right shot defencemen, with players such as Chris Rumble and Guillaume Lepine being placed ahead of him on the depth chart. Next season’s additions of Erik Burgdoerfer, Christian Jaros and Cody Donaghey will change that, which leads me to believe that Erkamps, pending significant improvement in training camp, will once again be in the ECHL come October.
Despite his low probability of finding success in the NHL (~9% according to Prospect-Stats.com using his 2015-16 season), the Sens have had players in the past rise up to defy expectations. In fact, ten players who played at least a game for the Senators last year have played previously in the ECHL, so there’s still reason to believe that Erkamps can develop into a solid player for Ottawa down the road.