Injuries and trades don’t have to just be negative, they can also bring opportunity to other players in the organization. With numerous top young players out — Logan Brown, Colin White, Lassi Thomson, Christian Jaros — it’s a good time to talk about the depth that the Sens have accumulated in the system. Coincidentally, it’s players who fall into that category that upped their game last week.
Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL)
- While it’s good to see Alex Formenton (2G, 8 SOG) and Josh Norris (1G, 7 SOG) continue to make strides for the BSens, it’s the performances of Max Veronneau and Jonathan Davidsson (1G, 1A each) that have me excited. With the trade of Jack Rodewald, those two have to step up their play to try and re-establish themselves after a quiet first month
- Vitaly Abramov isn’t shooting (1 SOG in 2GP), but continues to put up points (2A)
- Logan Brown only played 3:54 against the Bruins, but had a beautiful assist on an Anthony Duclair tally. He’s week-to-week with an upper body injury.
Canadian Hockey League
|Johnny Gruden||LW||19||London Knights||OHL||2||2||3||5||2||5||40%|||||14||7||11||18||7||42||17%|
|Maxence Guénette||RD||18||Val-d'Or Foreurs||QMJHL||3||1||1||2||2||8||13%|||||17||3||7||10||10||50||6%|
|Mark Kastelic||C||20||Calgary Hitmen||WHL||2||1||1||2||4||14||7%|||||10||9||4||13||18||55||16%|
- Mark Kastelic continues to shoot. His 5.5 shots a game is tops in the WHL.
- Max Guénette continues to impress, with two points and eight shots in three games this week.
|Angus Crookshank||LW||20||Univ. of New Hampshire||2||0||0||0||2||6||0%|||||24||12||4||16||12||93||13%|
|Chris Wilkie||RW||23||Colorado College||2||0||0||0||0||19||0%|||||22||17||8||25||13||122||14%|
|Jakov Novak||LW/C||21||Bentley Univ.||2||0||3||3||2||5||0%|||||26||14||12||26||39||75||19%|
|Luke Loheit||RW||19||Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth||2||1||0||1||0||3||0%|||||23||3||1||4||6||18||17%|
|Shane Pinto||C||19||Univ. of North Dakota||2||0||2||2||2||1||0%|||||23||11||9||20||27||61||18%|
|Jacob Bernard-Docker||RD||19||Univ. of North Dakota||2||0||0||0||0||4||0%|||||22||3||13||16||8||39||8%|
|Jonny Tychonick||LD||19||Univ. of North Dakota||1||1||0||1||0||2||0%|||||18||4||6||10||6||10||40%|
- Jakov Novak continued his hot streak with Bentley, putting up three points in two games to keep his season totals above a point-per-game.
- Luke Loheit and Todd Burgess are not injured — UMD and RPI were just on rest weeks before playing two games this upcoming weekend.
|Viktor Lodin||C/LW||20||Örebro HK||SHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||12||0||2||2||0||9||0%|
|Olle Alsing||LD||23||Djurgårdens IF||SHL||3||0||1||1||0||3||0%|||||17||3||10||13||10||31||10%|
- Lassi Thomson missed another week of action.
- Viktor Lodin didn’t suit up for either of Örebro’s games this week, but doesn’t appear to be injured. He picked up an assist in his last contest.
- Olle Alsing continues to lead Djurgårdens in scoring, but his team was outscored 13-2 over three games this week, leading to minimal points.
|Filip Gustavsson||21||Belleville Senators||AHL||1||1||28||2||92.9%|||||18||11||5||2||0||519||55||89.4%|
|Joey Daccord||23||Belleville Senators||AHL||2||1||1||61||4||93.4%|||||13||9||3||2||1||434||36||91.7%|
|Marcus Högberg||25||Belleville Senators||AHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||15||7||6||0||0||408||42||89.7%|
|Kevin Mandolese||19||Cape Breton Eagles||QMJHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||#VALUE!|||||26||17||6||1||0||726||57||92.1%|
|Mads Søgaard||19||Medicine Hat Tigers||WHL||2||1||1||27||4||85.2%|||||28||15||10||1||1||744||75||89.9%|
- Mads Søgaard and Kevin Mandolese started two games this week, but were pulled in one each. I don’t want to put these two in direct opposition for a contract spot, but I’d guess that the Sens only have room to give one of them an entry-level deal.
- While Marcus Hogberg and the Belleville defence got shredded again, Filip Gustavsson managed to eke out a shootout victory over Hartford. Gus’ save percentage continues to be sub-900%, but all indications are that he’s having a better year than last.
Johnny Gruden and Connor McMichael have chemistry, and it’s helped the London Knights have one of the top junior lines in the country. McMichael is second in the OHL in points with 34 (in 18GP), while Gruden’s 18 (in 14GP) is nothing to laugh at either.
While McMichael handles the tough responsibilities at centre, the hard-working Gruden has been in quick on the forecheck, assisting with puck retrieval, and getting to soft areas of the ice — playing off of his smart centre to generate high-danger chances for his team.
Watch how Gruden follows the play on the first goal below, reading off of his linemates before heading to the net. Yes, he’s a beneficiary of a great pass — and we know that playing with high quality linemates will boost his point totals — but him heading into dangerous areas of the ice is certainly a good sign.
Gruden suited up for the U.S. at the World Junior Summer Showcase, and the hope is that his increased confidence will translate into a better showing at camp in December as he attempts to grab a depth spot at the upcoming U20 championship.
The Sens prospect who had the most under-the-radar season last year has continued to impress this season. Crookshank, the team’s fifth round pick in 2018, scored three goals and had 11 shots as UNH won both of their games this week. He was named Hockey East’s co-player of the week for his effort.
Like Gruden, he’s rewarded with a goal (below) by getting to the net and smartly positioning his stick to give his teammates something to shoot at.
Yes, there’s some puck luck involved (below), but as the old adage goes, you can’t score unless you shoot the puck, and shooting the puck is something Crookshank does... a lot. His 31 shots is tied for 13th in the nation, and he rises to ninth if you look on a per-game basis.
Crookshank had most of his points come between October and February last season, as he faded in final two months. I’ll be watching his conditioning to see if he’s able to keep up his level of play on a stronger team that’s looking to do damage in the Hockey East playoffs this season.
It took a while, but Joey Daccord is finally back in the spot where we saw him all last season — featured as one of the team’s top prospects.
Daccord was the only goaltender to have a strong week, only giving up two goals over 49 shots and 120 minutes of action for the Beast. He still managed to lose a game as the Beast got shutout in one of his starts, but his 0.916 sv% ranks seventh among starting goaltenders who have played at least five games this season. While he’s likely scheduled to spend the full year in the ECHL until Hogberg is in Ottawa — signed to a one-way for next season — all Daccord can do is put pressure on the Senators to call him up. With both BSens netminders in a rotation at the moment, struggling under a depleted defence, I wonder if Daccord may get a call at some point. As you may recall, he was in net during Arizona State’s formative years and faced the most amount of pucks in the NCAA at one point. Having a confident goaltender with the puck may help reduce pressure on the defence, too.
- New prospect Christopher Wilkie continues to impress, as he’s up to nine points in six games with Colorado College.
- Jakov Novak was featured on a podcast put out by Atlantic Hockey.
- We thought Christian Jaros was healthy after suiting up for a game last week, but while he took warmups this week, he wasn’t deemed fit to play. With Andreas Englund and Jordan Murray also out, Max Lajoie is playing a ton of minutes for Belleville at the moment.
- Speaking of injuries, I expect the Sens to potentially poach another centre from their minor league affiliate with Logan Brown out long-term with an upper body injury. JC Beaudin and Filip Chlapik continue to receive depth minutes in Ottawa, and it remains to be seen whether one will be elevated in the lineup, or if the team will opt to recall Josh Norris to play top minutes for the time being. Jordan Szwarz is the “veteran” option, and there’s always a chance Artem Anisimov will be ready sooner rather than later.
- The Four Nations Tournament starts in a week, but we still haven’t heard anything about the nature of Lassi Thomson’s injury. It’d be tough to see him miss a marquee event against his peers.
Stats are from AHL, CollegeHockeyInc, ECHL, EliteProspects, Liiga, OHL, QMJHL, SHL, and WHL.