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Ottawa Senators Prospect Update - Jan 8, 2019

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Loheit, Balcers, and Wolanin stand out in this week’s prospect update

Vancouver Canucks v Ottawa Senators Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

It’s the first prospect update of the year!

Stats Sheet

(click to enlarge)

Biggest Standouts

Luke Loheit

After battling mononucleosis early on in the season, and having a few other minor injuries hidden in there, Luke Loheit is finally on the board. His 6 points in 7 games over the past couple of weeks has nearly doubled his season point total, and is a good sign heading into his final BCHL season.

In the clips below, Loheit shows off his hands in tight, a great wrist shot, and the willingness to drive the net — all qualities that will help him as he joins the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs next year in the NCAA. The Sens have generally gambled on taking high skilled players in the 7th round — hi, Ryan Dzingel — and it’d be great if Loheit could be another gem from that pile.

Rudolfs Balcers

He hasn’t played much at the NHL level, but anytime you get your first NHL goal means you’ve been having a good week, so Balcers gets his recognition here.

A definite first-line AHL player by all metrics other than assists, Balcers is a north-south goal scorer that likes to find quiet areas in and around the net for him to get shots off. He was certainly earned his first NHL call-up, with 25 (!) shots and eight points in six games prior. He’s played with a ragtag group at centre, too, mixing with Filip Chlapik, Logan Brown, and Paul Carey.

If the Sens move a couple players at the deadline like they’re expected to, Balcers may be one of the prospects that play out the season in Ottawa.

Christian Wolanin

Speaking of deserving call-ups, anyone who’s watched the BSens can speak to the spark Christian Wolanin provides to the team’s offence. A one-man transition machine, Wolanin’s battled a couple of minor injuries but has been a consistent point producer all year. As a PPQB for Belleville, Wolanin’s used all of his offensive tools — shifty skating, sneaky vision, and a big shot — to generate opportunities for himself and his linemates, and it’s no surprise that he’s been seeing those minutes in Ottawa with Thomas Chabot’s absence.

With four points in five games in the AHL, and three points in five games with Ottawa, Wolanin stood out in a big way over the holiday break.

Silver Linings

  • Your WJC update, courtesy of Josh Norris: 3G, 3A, 6P in 7GP — tied for fourth in tournament scoring, and a silver medal. Norris consistently played top-six minutes and in all situations for a squad that missed Jack Hughes for most of the tournament. He didn’t feature in the “biggest standouts” section because I didn’t see anything special from Norris per se — as compared to other top USA centre, Ryan Poehling — but he was certainly a producer. If Norris continues to have the season like he’s having with Michigan, I don’t expect him to stay another year in college (unless it’s to avoid Ottawa for off-ice reasons).
  • Nick Paul won basically everything at the Sens Skills competition last week, but still can’t find a way to feature into NHL games on a regular basis — even on a back-to-back. I thought he played his best two games of the season against Washington, using his trademark size but also showing off a fair amount of skill:
  • Other staggering shot totals? Parker Kelly’s 28 in six games while linemate Brett Leason was absent at the WJC.
  • Drake Batherson continues to do his thing in the AHL, and was named to the league’s all-star game as Belleville’s lone representative. His five points in nine games is below his season totals, but he remains above a point-per-game. Anaheim’s Troy Terry (35 points in 29 games) is the only other rookie in Batherson’s area.
  • Your Joey Daccord update? Another shutout — his fifth this season — and a 0.943 save percentage in four games.
  • Not to be left behind, Jordan Hollett and Kevin Mandolese had big weeks to end off December, with save percentages above .900 to raise their season totals.