The great thing about writing these prospect updates is that I can always count on something great happening every week. Whether it’s one of the blue-chippers showing his magic, or a lower-tier player on a hot streak, it’ll all be covered here. Both of those and more happened this week in the Sens’ prospect pipeline.
Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL)
- Ho hum, another four point week for Batherson, who continues to lead the AHL in scoring. He’d be in the Biggest Standouts section if we weren’t already putting him there every second week.
- More of the B-Sens’ young forwards stepped up, including Josh Norris, Alex Formenton, Max Veronneau and Rudolfs Balcers.
Canadian Hockey League
|Johnny Gruden||LW||19||London Knights||OHL||3||4||1||5||0||14||29%|||||44||21||28||49||21||112||19%|
|Maxence Guénette||RD||18||Val-d'Or Foreurs||QMJHL||3||0||2||2||4||2||0%|||||45||8||22||30||20||100||8%|
|Mark Kastelic||C||20||Calgary Hitmen||WHL||2||2||3||5||2||8||25%|||||39||23||22||45||59||143||16%|
- Mark Kastelic had the biggest week of the bunch (more on him later).
|Angus Crookshank||LW||20||Univ. of New Hampshire||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||16||8||2||10||8||67||12%|
|Chris Wilkie||RW||23||Colorado College||2||0||0||0||2||7||0%|||||14||9||7||16||11||56||16%|
|Jakov Novak||LW/C||21||Bentley Univ.||1||0||1||1||2||1||0%|||||17||9||8||17||25||41||22%|
|Luke Loheit||RW||19||Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||16||2||1||3||6||13||15%|
|Shane Pinto||C||19||Univ. of North Dakota||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||17||8||6||14||10||47||17%|
|Jacob Bernard-Docker||RD||19||Univ. of North Dakota||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||17||3||11||14||8||31||10%|
|Jonny Tychonick||LD||19||Univ. of North Dakota||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||12||3||4||7||2||8||38%|
- Shane Pinto was a key player for UND this week, as his (and Bernard-Docker’s and Tychonick’s) team have now gone thirteen games without a loss.
- Jakov Novak received a game misconduct for hitting from behind against Army West Point, totalling 17 penalty minutes this week. He had 14 in all of last season.
|Viktor Lodin||C/LW||20||Örebro HK||SHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||22||0||4||4||2||20||0%|
|HC Vita Hästen||Allsvenskan||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||10||3||2||5||2||26||12%|
|Olle Alsing||LD||23||Djurgårdens IF||SHL||2||0||0||0||0||1||0%|||||36||4||16||20||20||55||7%|
- Lassi Thomson recorded his 5th and 6th goals of the season, as well as 14 shots on goal. His four-game point streak came to an end the next game.
|Filip Gustavsson||21||Belleville Senators||AHL||1||1||0||0||0||26||2||92.3%|||||10||7||3||1||0||318||38||88.1%|
|Marcus Högberg||25||Belleville Senators||AHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||15||7||6||0||0||408||42||89.7%|
|Joey Daccord||23||Brampton Beast||ECHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||12||7||5||0||0||342||34||90.1%|
|Kevin Mandolese||19||Cape Breton Eagles||QMJHL||3||0||2||1||0||102||9||91.2%|||||16||8||5||1||0||426||39||90.8%|
|Mads Søgaard||19||Medicine Hat Tigers||WHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||19||11||6||1||0||516||49||90.5%|
- Between the NHL and AHL, Marcus Högberg had a solid week. He stopped 29 of 30 in his start for Belleville, and 13 of 14 during his mid-game fill-in for Anders Nilsson. It appears he’ll be spending more time in Ottawa with Craig Anderson injured.
- Filip Gustavsson had a rough outing against the Cleveland Monsters, breaking the B-Sens’ winning streak by allowing six goals on 26 shots.
The World Juniors Squad
The 2020 World Junior Championships are right around the corner! A number of Sens prospects were named to their respective country’s preliminary camp roster, with the chance to play on the big stage in the Czech Republic.
For Canada, Jacob Bernard-Docker will be the Sens’ lone representative. After a strong showing at their summer camp, he’s virtually a lock to play on their blue line. If he can have even half the performance that Thomas Chabot did in 2017, then it should be an exciting tournament.
The Sens’ other top right-shot defenceman, Lassi Thomson, will be representing Team Finland. Like Bernard-Docker, he’s also a virtual lock, and will likely be receiving top minutes. A first pair of Heinola and Thomson has the potential for fireworks.
Finally, both Shane Pinto and Johnny Gruden were invited to camp for Team USA. A total of fifteen forwards were named, with Oliver Wahlstrom potentially joining as a sixteenth, and they’ll be bringing thirteen to the tournament. Neither player is a lock at this point given the strength of the American forward corps, but they’ve both been having a strong season, with the invites still cause for celebration.
Since missing the opening month of the season with an injury, Rudolfs Balcers has shown zero signs of slowing down. In his ten games post-recovery, he’s scored at least a point in every single game, now tied for the franchise record for the longest scoring streak. He’s firing on all cylinders.
As evidenced by the goal above, and many of the goals Belleville has scored lately, the trio of Balcers, Josh Norris and Drake Batherson have chemistry. Maybe call it the Batherson Effect since it always seems to happen with whoever he’s playing with, but each player has been crucial to forming this team’s recent success.
If there weren’t so many veterans still toiling around Ottawa, a call-up would’ve felt inevitable by now for Balcers. He played 36 games in the NHL last year scoring fourteen points, and at 22 years old, he’s taken another step forward this season.
While the Sens’ choosing Mark Kastelic at the 2019 draft was and still is considered a “safe” pick, he hasn’t disappointed in the slightest, with another strong campaign in the WHL as an overager. With 18 goals in 24 games, he leads the league in goals per game, with his 30 points tied for the team lead.
17th of the season for Mark Kastelic— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) December 7, 2019
Kastelic keeps cruising as a WHL over-ager with 27 points in 22 GP. He's producing much more at 5v5 this season with just 3/17 goals coming on the PP, compared to 24/47 on the PP last year. #PP #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/HJQwhAsmVo
It’s always worth being cautious with optimism for overage players, but Kastelic will be an interesting player to watch next season when he’ll inevitably turn pro. He’s a dominating physical presence, which can bring a player a long ways in a young league, but he also has some skill, with a real nose for the net.
The captain of the Calgary Hitmen left Sunday’s game after an awkward fall into the boards, so hopefully the injury isn’t anything serious. Prior to that game, Kastelic had thirteen points in his last eight games, including a three-point game this week where his team won 3-2.
Chris Wilkie is the Sens’ newest prospect, acquired from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Jack Rodewald in October. He’s been having an impressive season as an NCAA senior for Colorado College, reaching a peak this week with four goals and an assist. It was good enough to be named the first star of the week for the entire NCAA!
Wilkie may not have the high upside of some of the younger players in Belleville (he’s already 23 years old). But if the Sens manage to ink him to a pro contract once the season’s over, he could make for a potential NHLer, in the same mould as Max Veronneau this season.
- A handful of roster moves were made this week between the Sens and B-Sens. Most notably, Erik Brännström was sent down to Belleville to regain his offensive flair after coming up short in his first 23 NHL games. This gives Max Lajoie a bit of time in the NHL until Christian Wolanin returns.
- Jean-Christophe Beaudin and Filip Chlapik were also sent down, with Jonathan Davidsson recalled.
- In the NHL, Logan Brown’s seen a sudden reduction in ice time from D.J. Smith. After being healthy scratched for seemingly work-ethic related reasons, he played an average of 7:36 this week.
- It’s been
84 years18 games since Parker Kelly scored a point. He has one goal and zero assists in his rookie pro season.
- Johnny Gruden heads to the WJC camp on a bit of a cold streak, with a lone goal in his last six games. His pairing with Conor McMichael hasn’t been as frequent lately, with 2020 draft-eligible Antonio Stranges passing him on the depth chart.
- Mads Søgaard is currently representing Denmark at the second tier World Juniors tournament. His team is 2-1, allowing three goals in a 9-3 win against Slovenia in his lone start. He’s sharing the crease with Habs prospect Frederik Dichow.