Welcome to week two of your regular Ottawa Senators prospect update! Like Colin mentioned, I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to provide you with coverage this season, especially when the NHL squad looks... worse than expected.
With the NHL and AHL beginning play this week, almost every league has started its official schedule The two major exceptions to this are the ECHL (Joey Daccord) and the NCAA, which start this weekend.
Based on some suggestions last week, Colin and I have flipped the columns on the stats sheet to have the most recent updates first, followed by a player’s season totals. Let us know what you think in the comments!
Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL)
- Belleville lost their season opener against the Toronto Marlies, but Alex Formenton and Christian Jaros both picked up points. Shots were 33-32 in favour of the Marlies, and special teams did the BSens in — going 0/4 on the PP and 3/5 on the PK.
- Filip Chlapik had a point in <6 minutes of NHL ice-time (and was sent down anyway)
Canadian Hockey League
|Johnny Gruden||LW||19||London Knights||OHL||1||0||0||0||5||7||0.0|||||5||2||3||5||5||18||11.1|
|Maxence Guénette||RD||18||Val-d'Or Foreurs||QMJHL||3||0||1||1||0||6||0.0|||||7||0||2||2||6||18||0.0|
|Mark Kastelic||C||20||Calgary Hitmen||WHL||1||0||1||1||2||2||0|||||1||0||1||1||2||2||0|
- No points for Johnny Gruden this week, but he did score his first career fight and tallied 7 shots on goal
- Mark Kastelic returned to Calgary, where he suited up as team captain and recorded an assist in a Hitmen victory
|Viktor Lodin||C/LW||20||Örebro HK||SHL||2||0||1||1||0||2||0.0|||||6||0||1||1||0||4||0.0|
|Olle Alsing||LD||23||Djurgårdens IF||SHL||3||2||3||5||4||7||28.60%|||||8||2||7||9||8||13||15.4|
- Markus Nurmi went a point-per-game this week and recorded 10 shots in three games
- Lassi Thomson continues to lead his team in shots on goal, and put up two points
- Viktor Lodin recorded his first point of the season, an assist, in Örebro’s 6-1 victory
- Olle Alsing recorded something in every metric this past week, with five points, four penalty minutes, and seven shots in three games
|Filip Gustavsson||21||Belleville Senators||AHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Marcus Högberg||24||Belleville Senators||AHL||1||0||1||0||0||32||3||90.6%|||||1||0||1||0||0||32||3||90.6%|
|Joey Daccord||23||Brampton Beast||ECHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Kevin Mandolese||19||Cape Breton Eagles||QMJHL||2||2||0||0||0||51||5||90.2%|||||4||3||0||0||0||90||10||88.9%|
|Mads Søgaard||18||Medicine Hat Tigers||WHL||1||0||0||1||0||21||4||81.0%|||||5||2||2||1||0||138||11||92.0%|
- Marcus Hogberg was solid in a 4-1 loss to the Marlies, making a number of big stops early on in the game when the BSens were getting their feet under them
- Kevin Mandolese rebounded after a poor week, going 2-0 with a .902% save percentage
- Mads Søgaard finally looked beatable, letting in four goals on 21 shots in an OTL
After putting up 10 goals and 21 points in 51 Liiga matches in 2017-18, Markus Nurmi had one (!) goal and 12 points in 60 games last season. With one goal (!) and four points in nine games already this season, Nurmi’s off to the best start of his career and boy oh boy does he need it.
I ranked Nurmi in our T25U25 series in 2018 because he’s a high-IQ, defensively sound winger with a good frame and a solid shot. He got called for mandatory military duty last summer in Finland which may have really thrown his training for a loop, and never looked like himself after that. With the Sens prospect pool only getting deeper, and only 50 standard player contracts to work with, Nurmi’s in tough as a 21-year-old to get a contract offer. However, if he ranks near the top of TPS this season, the Sens will be forced to consider it, and that’s all he can hope for.
Two prospect updates, two ‘biggest standouts’ for Lassi Thomson. The big Finn scored his third of the season — and first at even-strength — this past week, and added an assist on the powerplay to bring his season totals up to five points in 10 games.
Lassi Thomson's 3rd of the season!— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) October 2, 2019
Thomson absolutely ripped one top shelf while wearing a sweet Red Bull helmet (?). He's got 4 points (3G, 1A) through 8GP as a #Liiga rookie. pic.twitter.com/YHw4qhIO9C
After starting the year on Ilves’ first-pair, Colin mentioned how his ice-time had dropped to as low as 11:10 as the team got off to a 1-6 start. Well, Ilves fired their head coach, and Lassi’s ice-time for October reads: 15:02, 14:27, 19:57 so far. I’m okay with that.
It’ll be important to watch his point distribution as the year goes on, as I hope he starts to impose himself more at 5-on-5, but it’s still good to see his offensive game translating against men. He leads his team in shots on goal with 41.
It’s hard to find SHL highlight videos (sorry!), but to say Olle Alsing is off to a hot start would be doing a disservice to the 23-year-old defenceman. He’s eighth in league scoring right now, second among defencemen behind Rögle’s Kodie Curran, with nine points in eight games. Averaging 19:30 a game, Alsing ranks second among Djurgården backs in ice-time.
Alsing was the most impressive player at Sens rookie camp for me, and while he’s a bit older, he’s surely someone who will challenge for an NHL roster spot next season as competition for Christian Wolanin and Maxime Lajoie.
- UND played an exhibition game against the University of Manitoba on Saturday, and won 5-1. Jacob Bernard-Docker had a PPG and PPA, and Shane Pinto tipped home a JBD shot for his first goal in a UND sweater. Jonny Tychonick also had an assist. It’s a nice start, but important to note that the Hawks out attempted Manitoba by a margin of 73 to 16, and out-shot them 49-12.
- When I watched UND last season, they seemed... slow. Transitioning the puck with speed, both by skating through the neutral zone and making one-touch plays to enter the opponents’ zone will be key. Their powerplay also struggled after losing Christian Wolanin, going 14.2% on the year. They were 3/7 against Manitoba, and all three of the Sens’ kids will be integral if they find success on it this season. On the coaching side, first-year assistant Karl Goehring — a former UND goaltender — is now in charge of the unit.
- Last note on UND: expect Shane Pinto to lineup alongside Collin Adams and Jordan Kawaguchi on UND’s second line. From head coach Brad Berry: “Those guys (Adams and Pinto) together had some chemistry coming through the neutral zone and possessing pucks. Puck management is a big in not turning pucks over, and I think they did a good job. The challenge for all of them now is that we’re playing for keeps next weekend. You can’t just rest on one game here.’’
- Much fuss was made this week about the comment below from Logan Brown’s agent, who appeared on TSN1200:
Logan Brown’s agent @Andy_Scott15 on his client’s demotion: “We have never seen an early first round selection met with such resistance by the club which drafted them.”— Eric Macramalla (@EricOnSportsLaw) October 3, 2019
- I highly recommend listening to the full interview as it gives more context into Scott’s comments, and it dulled my initial reaction to the tweet. I don’t think Brown is getting traded, but I think his team is upset that he didn’t make the roster when the Sens could’ve gone with a younger group this season but didn’t. I can’t really blame them when that’s been the messaging all year from Dorion and co. but I can understand why fans would get upset at the supposed entitlement from an oft-injured player who has 62 pro games to his name. This will settle, and Brown will be in Ottawa at some point this year.
- Since I made the tweet below, the organization has sent down Batherson and Chlapik, and called up Vitaly Abramov. They have five players under-24 in their current lineup, four of whom are their most talented in Chabot, Tkachuk, White, and Brännström. There’s valid frustration from the fanbase here, who are also refreshing boxscores from the QMJHL, OHL, and SHL on a regular basis in preparation for 2020.
the “young” #Sens will have exactly two (2) rookies on their opening night roster: Drake Batherson and Erik Brännström. Colin White, Brady Tkachuk, Filip Chlapik (25GP) the only other U24 forwards, Thomas Chabot the only other U24 defenceman. https://t.co/TbW22LWPyp— 『 ary 』 (@carteciel) September 29, 2019
- I don’t know much about Mark Kastelic and I bet you don’t either! Here’s a video:
“I’m looking forward to improving as much as I can this year and helping the team reach its goals.”— Calgary Hitmen (@WHLHitmen) October 1, 2019
More from Hitmen captain Mark Kastelic on being back with the club and his training camp experience with Ottawa and Belleville ➡️ https://t.co/gKPhRcbllW pic.twitter.com/ADo1XN7Bk1