It’s the first prospect update of the year!
(click to enlarge)
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.
Luke Loheit— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) December 22, 2018
Loheit, Ottawa's final pick at the 2018 draft, had his first multi-point game in the BCHL recording a goal and two assists on Friday night. With goals in back-to-back games, he's put up 6PTS in his last 6GP - getting on a roll after missing time with mono. pic.twitter.com/JhSKNAeb1i
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.
Rudolfs Balcers with a couple nice goals, bringing him up to 13G in 31GP. Trademark quick, accurate release.— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) December 22, 2018
Logan Brown set up the first and Drake Batherson picked up assists on both goals. Christian Wolanin made a great play at the line that led to the second. pic.twitter.com/CuqThSGReC
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.
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.
#11 for Rudolfs Balcers— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) December 20, 2018
#11 for Christian Wolanin
Balcers scored with his trademark release off a nice feed from Christian Wolanin during Belleville's 5-4 comeback win over Rochester. Love how Wolanin uses his feet to create time and space. pic.twitter.com/hzXd4d0vtm
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.
- 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.