clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ottawa Senators Prospect Update: Marcus Högberg’s First NHL Win

New, comment

Parker Kelly, Vitaly Abramov and Marcus Högberg are this week’s biggest standouts.

NHL: DEC 21 Flyers at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s prime time for prospect season! The World Junior Championships are set to begin this week, and while the NCAA took a break for the holiday season, the Belleville Senators rolled along with their team of young forwards. Everything you need to know from the past week can be found below, but first, here are the biggest standouts.

Biggest Standouts

Parker Kelly

It’s been a bumpy start to Parker Kelly’s pro career, to say the least. Following a 2018-19 season where he found success as part of the CHL’s biggest powerhouse, the 20-year-old forward joined Belleville in the hopes of translating his game. In a way that’s what happened, as he’s using his strong physical presence every game as a fourth-line checker. But he’s been silent on the scoresheet, with only a single point in his first 21 games.

That all changed for one game, however, as Kelly scored two goals and added an assist in the same day, as the B-Sens beat the Syracuse Crunch by a score of 7-3. Playing on a line with Cole Cassels and Joseph LaBate, his performance earned him the first star of the game.

If Kelly has hopes of becoming an NHLer, we’ll need to see more performances like this. He already has the right physical tools, it’s now a matter of rounding out his skillset — his skating, vision, offensive awareness — so that he doesn’t just play as a fourth line plug. His 35 goals last season certainly indicates he has a scoring touch, so let’s hope he displays it more like he did this week.

Vitaly Abramov

While Belleville as a team had a losing week, it was a winning week for Vitaly Abramov. He scored at least a point in all three games, including two goals in 4-3 loss. His current streak now has him scoring over a point-per-game pace — the only other U22 players on a higher pace are Drake Batherson and Stockton’s Matthew Phillips.

This is far from Abramov’s first time being mentioned in this section, although it’s worth emphasizing his bounce-back from last season, and how it was probably expected. His 22 points in 52 games last season was underwhelming for a rookie pro, given he was one of the QMJHL’s all-time greatest players after posting three monster seasons. But given his current trajectory, last season now seems like an anomaly rather than part of a trend.

When the Sens eventually start calling up young players, Abramov has done enough to put himself on the shortlist.

Marcus Högberg

His numbers may not jump off the page (1-0-2, Sv% of 89.6%), but Marcus Högberg had a fantastic week in the NHL. With Craig Anderson and Anders Nilsson both dealing with injuries this month, and defencemen getting swatted down like flies, Högberg’s been relied upon to give the Sens a chance to win. And given the lack of help the defensive corps has been able to provide, he’s performed really well.

At 25 years old, Högberg’s just inside the prime age for goaltenders. Like this past week, his AHL numbers the past two years have been very mediocre, but the defence in front of him was some of the worst in the AHL. Let’s not forget that before that, in 2016-17, he put up a save percentage of 93.2% in the SHL, a men’s pro league. He was only 22 years old at the time and has only gotten better since. Now that he’s finally getting the chance to play on the NHL stage, he’s rising to the occasion.

Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration — after all he allowed four goals per game this week. But it was great to see him pick up his first NHL win after coming so close the previous game. Let’s hope he can keep it up, as he appears to be much further ahead than the rest of the Sens’ goalie prospects.

Here was one of the many spectacular saves he made against the Flyers.

Silver Linings

  • Drake Batherson continued to do Drake Batherson things, putting up three points in three games while making opposing defencemen look silly. Him, Josh Norris and Rudolfs Balcers are continuing to show their chemistry, with Balcers’ point streak reaching 15 games.
  • The B-Sens are in the middle of a short Christmas break, and will return on boxing day. Hopefully it’s enough time for some players to heal, including Michael Carcone, Morgan Klimchuk and Christian Jaros. Only Carcone’s absence was disclosed as sickness, but all three are likely just day-to-day.
  • After a ten-game stint in the Allsvenskan, Viktor Lodin has returned to the SHL, playing on Örebro’s fourth line.
  • Pierre Dorion mentioned on the radio that if the Sens’ defensive injuries continue to pile up, they’ve looked at the option of bringing over Olle Alsing from Sweden on an emergency basis. It’d be a big hit to Djurgårdens, so hopefully it doesn’t reach that point.
  • The World Juniors start this week! Shane Pinto (USA), Jacob Bernard-Docker (CAN) and Lassi Thomson (FIN) will be the Sens’ representatives, with Thomson being named Finland’s team captain. Follow the open thread here!

Weekly Stats

Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL)

- - - - - Since the last prospect update - | - T O T A L -
- - - - - Since the last prospect update - | - T O T A L -
PLAYER POS AGE LEAGUE GP G A P PIM SOG SH% | GP G A P PIM SOG SH%
Alex Formenton LW 20 AHL 3 0 1 1 4 6 0% | 43 21 13 34 42 108 19%
Drake Batherson RW 21 AHL 3 1 3 4 0 8 13% | 37 14 32 46 24 119 12%
NHL 1 0 1 1 0 2 0% | 10 1 2 3 6 13 8%
Jonathan Davidsson RW 22 AHL - - - - - - 0% | 18 2 3 5 6 19 11%
NHL - - - - - - - | 6 0 1 1 0 3 0%
Josh Norris C 20 AHL 1 0 0 0 0 0 0% | 42 22 18 40 12 121 18%
Max Veronneau RW 24 AHL - - - - - - - | 33 5 5 10 2 30 17%
NHL - - - - - - - | 4 0 0 0 0 3 0%
Michael Carcone LW 23 AHL 3 1 0 1 2 4 25% | 41 10 9 19 37 92 11%
Morgan Klimchuk LW 24 AHL 3 2 1 3 0 4 50% | 34 10 7 17 8 50 20%
Parker Kelly C/RW 20 AHL 3 1 0 1 2 4 25% | 39 7 4 11 10 43 16%
Rudolfs Balcers LW 22 AHL 3 2 0 2 2 6 33% | 23 10 17 27 10 50 20%
NHL - - - - - - - | 7 0 1 1 0 8 0%
Vitaly Abramov RW/LW 21 AHL 3 0 0 0 0 4 0% | 33 15 13 28 18 86 17%
NHL - - - - - - - | 2 1 0 1 2 3 33%
Andreas Englund LD 24 AHL 3 0 0 0 5 1 0% | 17 0 0 0 24 16 0%
NHL - - - - - - - | 12 0 2 2 12 5 0%
Christian Jaros RD 23 AHL 3 0 1 1 0 3 0% | 27 1 11 12 4 33 3%
NHL - - - - - - - | 6 0 2 2 4 2 0%
Maxime Lajoie LD 22 AHL 2 0 1 1 0 3 0% | 32 2 1 9 22 50 4%
NHL - - - - - - - | 6 0 0 0 0 3 0%
Filip Chlapik C 22 NHL 1 0 0 0 0 1 0% | 24 2 3 5 10 22 9%
AHL 3 1 1 2 7 9 11% | 24 5 9 14 29 52 10%
Jean-Christophe Beaudin C/RW 22 NHL - - - - - - - | 22 0 1 1 7 18 0%
AHL - - - - - - - | 11 2 2 4 0 16 13%
Logan Brown C 21 NHL - - - - - - - | 23 1 7 8 4 23 4%
AHL 3 1 3 4 2 8 13% | 19 5 20 25 24 44 11%
Erik Brännström LD 20 NHL - - - - - - - | 31 0 4 4 16 38 0%
AHL 3 0 2 2 2 5 0% | 16 1 13 14 18 23 4%
  • Multi-point weeks for Formenton, Batherson, Norris, Balcers, Abramov, Kelly and Chlapik.
  • All the defencemen were in the NHL this week given the amount of injuries on the main roster.

Canadian Hockey League

- - - - - - Since the last prospect update - | - T O T A L -
- - - - - - Since the last prospect update - | - T O T A L -
PLAYER POS AGE TEAM LEAGUE GP G A P PIM SOG SH% | GP G A P PIM SOG SH%
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%
  • Gruden was the only one in action this week since being cut by Team USA, scoring a pair of goals.

NCAA

- - - - - Since the last prospect update - | - T O T A L -
- - - - - Since the last prospect update - | - T O T A L -
PLAYER POS AGE TEAM GP G A P PIM SOG SH% | GP G A P PIM SOG SH%
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%
Todd Burgess C/RW 23 RPI 1 0 0 0 2 1 0% | 22 4 2 6 14 48 8%
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%
  • Christmas break in the NCAA, hence zero games for everybody.

European Leagues

- - - - - - Since the last prospect update - | - T O T A L -
- - - - - - Since the last prospect update - | - T O T A L -
PLAYER POS AGE TEAM LEAGUE GP G A P PIM SOG SH% | GP G A P PIM SOG SH%
Markus Nurmi RW/LW 21 TPS Liiga 3 1 1 2 2 5 20% | 43 9 11 20 22 91 10%
Lassi Thomson RD 19 Ilves Liiga 2 0 0 0 0 6 0% | 27 6 4 10 8 90 7%
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 is off to the World Juniors!
  • Markus Nurmi was the only Euro prospect to get on the scoresheet, as Olle Alsing has really slowed down since the beginning of the season.

Goaltenders

- - - - - Since the last prospect update - - | - T O T A L - -
- - - - - Since the last prospect update - - | - T O T A L - -
PLAYER AGE TEAM LEAGUE GP W L OTL SOL SA GA SV% | GP W L OTL SOL SA GA SV%
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%
Brampton Beast ECHL - - - - - - - - | 12 7 5 0 0 342 34 90.1%
Marcus Högberg 25 Belleville Senators AHL - - - - - - - - | 15 7 6 0 0 408 42 89.7%
Ottawa Senators NHL 1 1 53 3 94.3% | 12 2 2 5 2 377 33 91.2%
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%
  • Filip Gustavsson was pulled yet again this week, dragging his Sv% this season down to 87.4%. With him and Joey Daccord playing around the same level recently, it’ll be interesting to see who gets sent down once both Anderson and Nilsson are healthy.