Colin already updated you with the biggest prospect news of the week: we won’t be featuring Josh Norris in this space for the rest of the season. Although that injury has potentially big implications, such as when Norris will turn pro, it’s ironic that the biggest standouts this week are older prospects who are vying to present themselves as depth options to the Senators for this season or next.
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Meet Belleville’s new leading scorer. Although Rodewald has had two four-game cups-of-coffee in the NHL with the Senators over the last two seasons, he’s an unfamiliar name without the caché of a Batherson, Brown, or Chlapik. However, the 24-year-old is producing his best AHL season yet, with 33 points in 34 games highlighting a massive jump from his previous season highs of 27 and 25 points — both in 60+ games.
Rodewald looked smart in his recent call-up with Ottawa, and is a gritty two-way winger with a decent goal scoring touch. A fan favourite of the organization’s development staff, Rodewald played a full season with the Orlando Solar Bears (TOR) in the ECHL after junior before finding his way to Binghamton on an AHL-ECHL contract. His age is something that could be framed as experience or pro-readiness, but is also a weakness when you compare where he’s at relative to his younger, more skilled peers. However, with the team potentially trading away some forwards at the deadline, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rodewald as the organization’s first call-up to see what he can do with an extended NHL opportunity.
The new guy has been faring well in Belleville. Fresh off of saying that he expects to score more points in a more offensive role, Klimchuck had three goals in three games this week, and has showcased his presence in and around the opposition net.
Batherson (18, 19)— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) January 19, 2019
Klimchuk (8, 9)
Drake Batherson snapped a 9-game pointless drought with 2 assists in the 1st period on a couple Morgan Klmichuk goals. Klimchuk has 5 points (4-1-5) in 5GP since being acquired from Toronto for Gabriel Gagné. pic.twitter.com/t2SE609uGN
Another older player at 23-years-old, Troy Mann sees Klimchuk as a “third line guy [on a really good AHL team] that can move up into your second line.” That likely means that he doesn’t have a future as an NHLer — which is likely what the Senators thought of Gabriel Gagné — but Klimchuk is another one of those players who could, in a tough spot, get a recall to play on one of Ottawa’s bottom two lines.
After seeing Kevin Mandolese being named QMJHL player of the week last week, the team’s other CHL goalie prospect, Jordan Hollett, had a big week to take back the crease in Medicine Hat. Three wins in three games with a great 0.921 save-percentage will help Hollett rebound, though we’re unsure of how long he’ll have an opportunity with his colleague, Mads Sogaard, sporting a 0.933 save-percentage over 19 starts.
- Drake Batherson broke out of his 8-game point scoring slump on the weekend with two assists. Via Joel Vanderlaan, the coaching staff tried everything they could to help: “We’ve talked a lot to Drake and watched video, our development guys Shean Donovan and Chris Kelly took him to lunch; we’re doing everything we can to hopefully snap him out of his offensive funk.”
- Batherson (#20), Norris (#35), and Formenton (#49) were named to Corey Pronman’s midseason top-50 NHL prospects list over at The Athletic ($). Filip Gustavsson ranked 18 out of 20 goaltender prospects, while Logan Brown and Filip Chlapik were mentioned as just missing the cut. Brady Tkachuk was ineligible for the list, but surely would’ve made it.
- Nick Paul is currently in the spot that Rodewald and Klimchuk are striving for. He finally scored his first goal of the season, although based on his scoring chances, most models had him at ~3. Let’s see if Boucher still makes him a healthy scratch.
- I loved this Christian Wolanin interview with Steve Lloyd and Todd White from TSN 1200. Reminded me of the videos we used to share last year in this space from UND’s comms team. Rooting for him to succeed at the NHL level.
- Via Murray Pam, here’s Guy Boucher on Rudolfs Balcers — who had a quieter week: “He’s smart, poised with the puck. He’s not very big. He’s very brave, first on puck, goes into corners. He can block shots. I haven’t had to tell him the same thing twice.”
- Last note on the NHLers: Brady Tkachuk is so smart, version 120912. The intelligence to bank the pass off the boards to get the puck to an open space for Dzingel, and then heading straight to the most dangerous part of the ice is something that should be taught to all players.
- Joey Daccord was off this week (well deserved!) but still deserves a mention on this list: the junior goaltender has been nominated for the Hobey Baker award for the NCAA’s top player. You can find more information, including how to vote, here. Daccord also received a mention in Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts column. If he decides to turn pro, he’ll have a month to sign with Ottawa, or else become a (highly sought after) college free agent.
- Lastly, Jacob Bernard-Docker was named NCHC Defenceman of the Week for the second time this season after putting up three points in three games. He currently sits third in team scoring behind forwards Jordan Kawaguchi and Nick Jones. In Colton Poolman and Bernard-Docker, North Dakota have two top-pair collegiate defenceman. Their job will be to surround them with other talent.
Until next week,