With December upon us, it’s almost World Juniors time in prospect land. While we’ll have some news on some Sens-related WJC content later in the update, there’s a lot to cover with strong weeks for the Belleville crew, the collegiate talent, and some of the players overseas in Europe.
Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL)
- Good to see Andreas Englund back into the lineup this week to help a depleted BSens corps.
- Another ho-hum week for Alex Formenton, with three goals and 12 shots in three games.
- Vitaly Abramov, last week’s standout, continued his strong play. He had three points, including a beautiful penalty shot goal in the two games he suited up for. He was held out of the BSens third game with a minor injury.
- Rudolfs Balcers had a point on five of the 14 goals the BSens scored this past week.
- Logan Brown was a healthy scratch in Calgary, but picked up an assist in his two games this week.
- Max Lajoie is not injured — he was just a healthy scratch up in Ottawa. The Sens are carrying an extra defenceman during their road trip, and with Cody Goloubef injured, it’s Lajoie’s turn to come along for the ride. I’d imagine that they want to get him back playing in Belleville soon.
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%|
- After lighting it up last week, both Gruden and Guénette only had one point — a goal each — in their games this week.
- On the flipside, Mark Kastelic worked to add some balance to his point totals. He had four assists in three games, and now sits as the Hitmen’s leading scorer with 26 points.
|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%|
- Chris Wilkie isn’t injured again — Colorado College just had a bye-week this week.
- Angus Crookshank didn’t score, but put up five shots a game again. Him and Drake Batherson must’ve bet ahead of time to see who’d lead all Sens prospects in shots.
- Jakov Novak continues to lead all Sens collegiate prospects in points, and is now up to 16 points in 14 games. Importantly, he’s starting to shoot a bit more, too.
|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%|
- Markus Nurmi is now up to over 15 minutes of ice-time a game with TPS this season, and is continuing to produce points. He had two assists in two games, and sits as his team’s fourth leading scorer — six back of the lead.
- Lassi Thomson had an assist in his only game this week.
- I was wondering what happened to Viktor Lodin after he was sent to the Allsvenskan, but now we know. Playing for HC Vita Hästen, Lodin had 13 shots and three points in three games this week.
|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%|
- A sparkling 0.963 sv% for Joey Daccord in his first AHL start.
- Marcus Hogberg got the loss in his first NHL start of the year, but turned aside 26 of the 28 pucks he saw.
- A shutout was among Mads Søgaard’s two wins this week.
We asked you what you’d do with Drake Batherson over the weekend, and the poll’s results were mixed. 69% of respondents thought that Batherson should stay down in Belleville until the trade deadline or for the rest of the season, while 30% of respondents thought he should be called up.
Well, Batherson is now the AHL’s leading scorer with 27 points in 21 games after a 2G, 4A week.
After playing with Logan Brown as his centre for much of last season, Josh Norris has added a different flair to Batherson’s game. The speedy centre is often driving to create plays, as you can see below; Batherson just has to follow the puck and be ready to release when it comes to him.
The directness of Norris’ game has probably helped Batherson be more active in creating offence, too. They’re #1 and #2 in shots by a Belleville Senator this season, and jives with the comments the Sens told Drake when they were sending him down.
As opposed to last year where Batherson’s game may have been more subtle — utilizing his hockey sense to get into quiet areas of the ice for a Logan Brown pass reception, or letting Nick Paul play in deep along the boards — he’s stepped up to lead his young line this season.
We haven’t talked a lot about Jaros this year, which is strange given that he suited up for 61 NHL games last season and was basically on the roster until the Sens signed Ron Hainsey.
Being in Belleville probably was a shock for Jaros this season, but it’s clear that the team wants him to gain more confidence playing with the puck, play with more composure in his own end, and become a more effective penalty killer. Even as a third-pairing defenceman in the NHL, all three of those skills are important.
Now, two months into the season, Jaros’ game is starting to pick up. His three assists this week represent 33% of his season point totals, as he looks to surpass his AHL high of 16 (in 44 games). He only has six penalty minutes — an ode to his composure — and is playing in all situations for a D corps that has mainly featured ECHL-level talent and Jordan Murray this season.
With Jacob Bernard-Docker and Lassi Thomson needing a bit more time, and Dylan DeMelo and Ron Hainsey set to potentially leave as unrestricted free agents, there’s a spot next season for Jaros if he can grab it.
The UND Trio of Jacob Bernard-Docker, Shane Pinto, and Jonny Tychonick
Jacob Bernard-Docker, who is touted more for his 2 way defensive play than his purely offensive skillset, has 13 points in 14 games for UND so far this season. He is the top scoring sophomore D in the NCAA and 4th overall amongst all NCAA defensemen.
1G, 2A - Jacob Bernard-Docker— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) November 29, 2019
1G, 1A - Shane Pinto
2A - Jonny Tychonick
Big night for Ottawa's NCAA farm team at UND! All 3 #GoSensGo prospects got in on the action in a 9-3 win pic.twitter.com/a8Spmzchb7
- In Sens WJC news: Lassi Thomson has made Finland’s pre-tournament roster, while Jacob Bernard-Docker received an invite for Team Canada. We’re still waiting for news on Johnny Gruden and Shane Pinto, both vying to make the U.S. team.
- Denmark, unfortunately, will not be in the main bracket of the World Juniors this year. However, Mads Søgaard is expected to be their starter in the Division I tournament as they hope to earn a spot next year.
- Here’s some insight from Trent Mann on Max Guénette after his strong start to the year:
“We liked that Max was mobile and could move the puck up ice efficiently,” said Senators Chief Amateur Scout Trent Mann. “We also liked his resiliency. He didn’t get off to a strong start in his draft year, however he re-set in the second half and finished very strong. Max came to camp very prepared and a strong camp. He has continued that into this season,” explained Mann.
- In the article, Guénette noted that the Sens want him to work on his speed and play off the puck, while Mann noted he’s hoping Guénette keeps being a consistent physical presence. The comments remind me of what was said about Max Lajoie when he was in Swift Current...