It was a winter lull for many of the Sens prospects this past week. Many of those applying their trade in the NCAA were off on a bye-week, and the CHLers and Europeans are all in World Junior mode.
Thankfully, the BSens continued their winning ways, and with their deepest lineup of Sens prospects with the return of Erik Brännström. Let’s get into this week’s statistics!
Pro (AHL, NHL, ECHL)
- Another ho-hum two points for Alex Formenton
- J.C. Beaudin had his best week as a Belleville Senator, recording a two of his three points in a BSens win over Rockford
- Drake Batherson (four points) and Rudolfs Balcers (three points) continued their scoring ways in Belleville’s last two games
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%|
- As Colin mentioned in last week’s update, Mark Kastelic was injured after falling into the boards. He didn’t suit up last week, and is day-to-day with a leg injury.
- Johnny Gruden put up another two points for London, and is third in team scoring. He’ll be fighting for a roster spot at the U.S. World Juniors camp this week.
|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%|
- Lots of Sens prospects off on a bye-week; no injuries to report
- Jakov Novak added an assist to keep his point-per-game streak going
|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%|
- Blanks across the board in Europe
- While his statistics in the Champions Hockey League aren’t mentioned on our stats sheet, Olle Alsing’s 14 points in 10 games leads all defencemen in scoring. He’s third in tournament scoring, behind two Frölunda forwards
|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%|
- Nice to see Kevin Mandolese suit up for games after returning from injury last week. His 0.912 sv% over three starts improved his season numbers up to a 0.908 sv%
- Marcus Hogberg is up in Ottawa, and will likely start tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tough test for the rookie, who’s set to become Ottawa’s backup goaltender on a permanent basis next year.
- We’ll have more on the other two in action later...
He’s likely only back in Ottawa due to injury, but even last night, Brännström looked like the offensively engaged talent that we expected given last year’s AHL campaign.
When he was sent down, this is what Brännström himself had to say about his game:
“I just want to get some confidence and hopefully I can be back there soon,” Brannstrom said after Belleville’s morning skate Friday before their contest with Cleveland tonight. “[Ottawa] just wants me to play more. I haven’t been as they expected. I think they want me to get some confidence back.”
While the AHL doesn’t track ice-time for public consumption, it looks as though he played 20+ minutes in all four games, and produced four points — one goal, three assists — over that timeframe. While he looked out-of-place systems-wise, with Troy Mann putting a different structure in place compared to D.J. Smith, It was fun to watch Brännström utilize his hands and skating ability to lead rushes up the ice, which you can see on the assist below:
Szwarz— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) December 14, 2019
Took Brannstrom just 8 AHL periods to pick up 2 assists – his total in 23 NHL games this season.
For Balcers, that's points in 11 straight – at least 1 in every game he's played in. #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/flQOvbOILH
It was also nice to see him get first unit powerplay time, especially with Belleville struggling on the advantage compared to last year. He hasn’t translated his tendency for shot generation in Sweden over to North America, but is able to score from distance on pro goaltenders when given the time and space, notching his first goal in a Sens jersey on Saturday afternoon:
Erik Brannstrom's 1st of the season!— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) December 14, 2019
What a look of relief. That's 4 points in 4 AHL games (with 2 periods to go) for Brannstrom. Also neat: Joey Daccord picked up an assist on the goal. #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/aw35f82Rj1
While he’ll likely learn to utilize his teammates more in transition — a key component to offence from the defensive zone on smaller ice surfaces — it’s clear that Brännström has all of the tools necessary to succeed. It really sounds like the individual video work he got from the BSens coaching staff helped him tremendously, and we’ll see how long Dorion and co. keep him up in Ottawa.
Two games, two wins for Joey Daccord. While the 23-year-old netminder is used to unstructured environments and seeing a lot of pucks from his first year in Arizona State, he plays such a composed game that favours the more structured pro environment.
In the highlight packs below, the first from Brampton, and the second from Belleville, you can see some of Daccord’s athleticism on display.
Craig Anderson will likely not be out for much longer, meaning Marcus Hogberg will return to the BSens crease. Part of me wants the older Daccord to continue to split the crease as he’s been nothing but solid in the BSens net; while I’m also aware that Filip Gustavsson has played solid over the last month despite having poor overall numbers.
- A year after being the final cut on defence, Jacob Bernard-Docker has been named to Team Canada. Expect him to play on the team’s first penalty kill, and receive top-four minutes on the right-side. The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler thinks that Bernard-Docker has a good chance to receive a letter, too.
- Meanwhile, if these lines are any indication, Shane Pinto appears to have a better shot to make Team USA over Johnny Gruden.
- The Athletic’s Corey Pronman re-ranked the 2017 NHL Draft, and had four current Sens prospects in the top-20. Batherson (#14), Norris (#15), Brännström (#17), and Formenton (#18). It’s an interesting ranking for many reasons. Colin and I had Batherson and Brännström at the top of the Sens prospect pool at the start of the season, and both look the closest to being ‘pro’ ready given that the latter’s already spent much of the season in the NHL, while the former leads the AHL in scoring. However, Norris and Formenton have been two of the AHL’s top rookies this season, so their strong play can’t go unnoticed as well. While the 2015 NHL Draft seemed to have kicked off the rebuild with Thomas Chabot, Colin White, Christian Wolanin, Christian Jaros, and Filip Chlapik all in the mix, 2017 looks prime to add some top-end talent to this group.
- Two of the best AHL analysts, Patrick Williams and David Foot, have a podcast called Around the A that has been airing all season. BSens head coach Troy Mann was on for ~60 minutes, and gave a lot of insight into his coaching style, the difference between Belleville and Hersey, and his thoughts on the young talent the Sens have in Belleville this season. Give it a listen here.