With the Ottawa Senators on their bye week, a handful of prospects were sent down to Belleville for a few games. The AHL held their all-star weekend this past week as well, where Christian Wolanin and Drake Batherson represented the team in Springfield (more on that later). Below is a statistical recap of the past week in the land of Sens prospects.
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Another two games, another two points for Logan Brown. There was a point after his season-opening injury that I think many in the fanbase were ready to write him off — thinking that the 6-foot-6 centreman would never live up to his hype after being selected 11th overall — but let me be clear: Brown is still one of the organization’s most important AND talented prospects.
A lot of the discussion in 2016 was that the draft had a clear grouping of nine forwards and four defencemen who were locks to be taken in the top-15. Yes, it’s not ideal that the two players taken before Brown (Mikhail Sergachev and Tyson Jost) have already played 100+ games, with Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Chychrun selected soon after, but players have different development curves. Brown, given all of his injuries, needs some more time, and having him spend a year or two in the AHL — like most prospects — is fine.
Logan Brown's 10th of the season!— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) February 3, 2019
Brown has points in 8 of his last 9 games (5-5-10) and goals in 3 straight. Drake Batherson picked up his 23rd assist on the play, extending his point streak to 4 games pic.twitter.com/kqTiMtmLks
We have to give credit where credit’s due, and when it comes to the elements under Brown’s control, he’s producing. As prompted by this thread from @DraftLook, The Athletic’s Ian Tulloch wrote a piece in the summer that found that AHLers under the age of 21 who put up 0.4+ 5-on-5 primary points per game become top-nine NHL forwards approximately 76% of the time. Both Brown (0.41) and Batherson (0.52) are doing that this season.
Given that he hasn’t played over 40 regular season games since his rookie year in Windsor, the next couple of months will be key to see if Brown can continue to produce while his conditioning is challenged. As pushing the pace of play has always been a concern with Brown, his performances in January and February so far are good signs and I genuinely hope he continues to establish himself as one of the Sens’ top prospects.
Uh, whatever the record was for most “Biggest Standouts” appearances last season was, expect Daccord to break it this year. Of course, that’s not the hardware that he’s chasing after — Arizona State continues to climb the NCAA rankings and is doing everything they can to make a splash as an independent team.
Joey’s latest accomplishments? Being applauded by the opposing team’s twitter feed, en route to 33 saves and a victory over RIT:
Joey Daccord's incredible season continued on Friday night. He stopped 33/34 shots against RIT to earn ASU's second win in a row.— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) February 2, 2019
Daccord is 18-10 on the season with 7 shutouts, a .931 SV% and 2.20 GAA pic.twitter.com/cupkV9nsIJ
- A lot of discussion on Twitter this week after Hershey forward Nathan Walker unleashed a devastating open-ice hit on Christian Wolanin. Many feared for the worst, especially given how long Wolanin stayed down and the pain he looked like he was in. However, according to Ian Mendes, the injury looks to be day-to-day at this point. I’m likely one of many when I say that I was surprised Wolanin wasn’t immediately called up when the Sens got back from their break. I can imagine that it has to do with Belleville fighting hard for a playoff spot and needing their #1 defenceman, especially with all the injuries they currently have.
Christian Wolanin left the game after this brutal hit by Nathan Walker, who was given a match penalty. Really hope Wolanin isn't seriously hurt. pic.twitter.com/6cKaTuovfO— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) February 3, 2019
- The other polarizing topic of discussion? The waiving of Nick Paul, who really hasn’t been given a chance to succeed this season. I can empathize with the section of the fanbase who thinks like Paul, like some depth players before him, doesn’t move the needle enough to be upset about. But, as someone who believes that teams should be looking for every advantage as possible AND should be smart in terms of their asset management, not giving Paul, Jack Rodewald, etc. a chance to play in a losing year seems silly. Paul cleared waivers, and will be joining Belleville. I’ll be surprised if we see him up again, other than as an extra body for road trips.
- Alex Formenton is still out with a knee injury sustained back in December. CTV’s Terry Marcotte reported that he’s expected back in mid-February.
We’ll end with a fun question from @DefenseMinister, who asks:
Consider every player currently on the NHL roster (expect Balcers) as graduated and give me your Top 5 Sens prospects. The ranking doesn't have to be who you feel is "closest", just who you are most excited about.— Tyler Ray (@DefenseMinister) February 5, 2019
What’s your ranking at this point in the year?