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Top 25 Under 25, #11: Nick Paul

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The last remaining player to come back in the Spezza trade slips a spot

Ottawa Senators v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

No. 11: Nick Paul (Reader rank: 10, Last year: 10)

After a weak start in the AHL and a somewhat stronger finish in the NHL to the 2015-16 season, we were curious as to where Paul’s 2016-17 season would go. Would he make the big team again? Would he slide back?

The answer: neither.

His time in Bingo was much more productive this season than last. He put up an extra 20 points and came fourth on a team who’s overall scoring was down from the previous season.

Somehow that didn’t get him a call-up until Ottawa’s final game of the regular season with most of the regulars being rested for the playoffs, before being promptly returned to the farm for the final games of the AHL season.

While he could probably be placed on the bubble to make the team again this season, odds are that Paul will be starting in Belleville just due to numbers. Mike Hoffman, Clarke MacArthur, Alexandre Burrows, Ryan Dzingel and Tom Pyatt are all listed at LW, as well as fellow bubble players Max McCormick and Francis Perron. Of the group, only Paul and Perron are waiver-exempt.

Just based on that Paul will probably get another year of seasoning in the AHL, but he’s close enough that he should come to camp with a fire under him to try and break through. If not, though, he will probably be near the top of the call-up list this year.