6. Christian Wolanin (Reader Rank: 6, Last Year: 20)
Another impressive jump in the rankings, Wolanin has become one of the great hopes to help the Sens blueline next season. Before I continue any further, I thought as a team starving for shootout success (or any kind at this point); we will all be happy to see more of this.
Clean those hands, Mr. Wolanin. pic.twitter.com/agof4cXhDO— North Dakota MHockey (@UNDmhockey) February 10, 2018
Christian is described as a stable defenseman who uses his size to his advatanve and provides physicality to the team. His biggest asset seems to be what he has been working on developing in his University days which is his offensive flare that only seems to improve and depending on who he is paired with and how he is utilized, it will be exciting to see how his offense transitions to the NHL. He opted out of his senior year at UND to join Sens and I would assume this decision was made with the intention of working his way to a permanent roster spot in Ottawa. He certainly looks ready for the big minutes and responsibility and looked extremely calm during his short stint with the Ottawa Senators especially in his first game where he really looked like he fit in right from the start.
Hockey is in Christian’s blood, born to NHL alumni Craig Wolanin who played 13 seasons with various teams including Quebec (where he was born), Colorado and New Jersey. However, he did choose a more offensive style of playing than his father and continues to develop his offensive flare which may end up being his most valuable asset. He spent the earlier part of his career in the USHL being named to the all star team after scoring 41 points in 41 games. In 2015, he was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the fourth round; the same year he joined the University of North Dakota. He flourished in the NCAA starting with 15 points in his freshman year to becoming the top scorer on his team with 35 goals in 40 points with an impressive shot total of 117. It should be noted that the last D to lead UND in scoring was James Patrick who on to start his professional career in 1983.
He made his NHL debut on March 22, 2018 in a 6-2 loss against the Edmonton Oilers and while the game itself was lackluster; Wolanin impressed from the start. In a surprise move, Boucher was even generous with ice team giving him over 17 minutes of ice time tied with Boro and higher than both Ben Harpur and Fredrick Claesson. If you can get Boucher to trust a new young player on his first NHL game, you have to think there’s something special about Wolanin. His NHL experience is now up to 10 games where he continued to impress and make a very strong case for his place on the Sens roster for this upcoming season. He finished his “NHL season” with 3 points but more importantly a look at what he may bring to the roster this season which will be a lot more than players already on our roster.