The Senators organization may be going through a bit of an injury funk at the moment, but there are still some standouts to consider. A couple of collegiate picks from the most recent entry draft picked up their first points, a newcomer is starting to shine, and the Belleville Senators may have two of the more dynamic wingmen in the AHL this season.
(Click to enlarge)
It was a big week for Norris, who looks to be acclimatizing to his increased role at Michigan. With three points and six shots in his two games this week, he continues to show off his deft playmaking ability while funnelling pucks on net — a skill-set he developed regularly while with the U.S. National Development Team.
Josh Norris— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) October 21, 2018
Norris had another 6-shot night in Michigan's 5-4 loss to Western Mich. He's got 4 points (1G, 3A) through 3GP. pic.twitter.com/LIDYPHlFva
Rudolfs Balcers & Drake Batherson
Colin featured them last week, along with frequent linemate Filip Chlapik, but it really appears that this duo can make anyone look good. They’ve suited up with three different centres this season (Brown, Chlapik, Paul) and all three have looked dynamite with these two on their wings.
Case in point? Possibly Nick Paul’s best game in a BSens sweater:
Nick Paul! For those scoring at home:— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) October 18, 2018
The kid's are rolling! 4-0 Belleville. pic.twitter.com/NfEA8zmQIq
Another example? Helping Belleville’s first powerplay unit recover after a mild start to the season:
Rudolfs Balcers!— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) October 18, 2018
Wolanin > Paul > Batherson > Balcers > Snipe. Belleville's PP looking pic.twitter.com/0snzhDl4p7
It’ll be interesting to see how long the organization keeps these two in the AHL, and it’d be great if they got a chance to be regular NHL linemates. Balcers is a second-year pro and already excelled with the San Jose Barracuda last season, whereas Batherson may still need to “pay his dues” so to speak.
After a pointless start to the season, Gabriel Gagné is off and running in 2018-19. The BSens needed it too, as the Rochester Americans (BUF) shut down the aforementioned Batherson/Balcers duo, but couldn’t keep Gagné’s rocket off the scoresheet. With 23 shots in six games, it’s not like Gagné hasn’t been shooting as per usual; however, he has been used further down the lineup and hasn’t been getting top unit powerplay minutes despite being the team’s leading goal scorer over the last two seasons.
Vintage Gabriel Gagné— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) October 21, 2018
Gagné's 3-point night (1G, 2A) put him on the scoresheet for the first time this season and earned 1st star honours in a 5-4 OT win ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/kWwcRjYbbo
No highlight pack for Daccord, but it doesn’t mean that his performance isn’t worth featuring. With two more wins under his belt, Daccord’s 0.962 sv% this week raised his sparkling numbers even higher — he’s now at 0.956 sv% after six games. I don’t think anyone’s expecting him to continue this level of play, but it’s remarkable work for a third-year Sun Devils team trying to establish themselves as a more consistent threat.
The gang over at @SensCentral recorded a great interview with Daccord, where he talked about his start to the season, his playing career, and shared some cool tidbits from development camp. Give it a listen if you can!
- The biggest news in the last week was Brady Tkachuk’s injury, especially given how he’s jumpstarted the Senators offence, but there’s still a fair amount of prospects injured. Joining Tkachuk are: Luke Loheit, Filip Ahl, Miles Gendron, Logan Brown, Andrew Sturtz, and Marcus Hogberg.
- There was some good news this week though, as Aaron Luchuk suited up in his first ECHL contest after being diagnosed with a concussion. Filip Chlapik returned to the Belleville lineup after his ankle injury, and Alex Formenton played last night for the big club.
- Some more good news? First collegiate points for Jacob Bernard-Docker and Angus Crookshank!
- Good news for Parker Kelly, who was named to Team WHL for the annual CHL-Russia junior series.
- A nice profile of Marcus Nurmi’s ability by Finnish writer Marco Bombino. Nurmi’s gotten off to a slow start with TPS, but continues to play a regular shift and continues to shoot the puck. His luck will turn soon.
- Want to know a bit more about new Sens AGM Peter MacTavish? @SensProspects recorded an intermission interview with him and the Belleville broadcast team; you can find it on SoundCloud.
- Jordan Hollett may have struggled this week with a 7 goals against performance, but at least his pads looked nice...