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Ottawa Senators Prospect Update: Belleville Gearing Up for a Playoff Run

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Josh Norris, Maxence Guénette and Filip Gustavsson are this week’s biggest standouts.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

It was a quiet week in the land of Sens prospects… said no one ever. There’s always lots going on — players scoring, players not scoring, and lots of movement, especially in this past week between Ottawa and Belleville. With the NHL on their week-long break for the All-Star festivities, the trio of Rudolfs Balcers, Filip Chlapik and Drake Batherson were all assigned to the AHL, as the B-Sens gear up to make a solid run in the playoffs.

But first, let’s look at this week’s biggest standouts, starting with one of Belleville’s key players.

Biggest Standouts

Josh Norris

Josh Norris can’t stop scoring. His eight-game point streak came to an end this week, but it was only a small blip, as he was instrumental in yesterday’s 3-0 win, scoring his 22nd goal of the season and adding an assist. He leads all AHL rookies in scoring, and is now fifth in the entire league in points. Only three other rookies have finished top five in scoring in the last decade: Cory Conacher (2011-12), Mason Appleton (2017-18) and Daniel Sprong (2017-18).

Norris has been just one of the many key offensive players that have developed chemistry together in Belleville. Check out this goal in which he acted as the finisher, with his teammates executing a super clean break-in and quickly getting the puck into a dangerous position.

With a team-leading 121 shots on goal, Norris has been Belleville’s lead trigger-man this season. His transition to pro hockey has gone significantly faster than expected, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes him to translate his skills to the NHL level.

Maxence Guénette

Whenever a player is picked in the seventh round of the NHL draft, the expectations are understandably pretty low. And while Maxence Guénette may not be lighting the world on fire, his recent stretch of play has been his best of the season. His four assists in two games vaults him into the top-ten in scoring amongst QMJHL defencemen.

In an interview with Le Droit, Guénette’s coach had the following to say about his work this season (translated):

“[Development camp in Ottawa] made him realize some things. He came back with an A-1 attitude, and a desire to improve every day. [...] His main strengths are his skating and pass execution. When he uses these skills, in the heat of the moment, he becomes a dangerous defenceman for us. He practically becomes a fourth attacker.”

Filip Gustavsson

With Marcus Högberg making waves in the NHL, Filip Gustavsson and Joey Daccord have been getting the opportunity to fend for themselves in front of Belleville’s shoddy defence. They’ve both been successful in their bid to avoid the ECHL once Anders Nilsson gets healthy, with Gustavsson being especially notable this week recording his first career AHL shutout. He only had to face 23 shots, one of Belleville’s lowest totals of the season, but it was an impressive performance nevertheless.

At 21 years old, Gustavsson is already proof of how versatile goalie prospects can be. He’s bounced between being a highly-regarded world-class goalie prospect to losing ground in the Sens’ depth chart, as he’s failed so far in his North American pro career to demonstrate any kind of consistency. Hopefully these last few solid starts are a sign of positive things to come.

Silver Linings

  • Current AHL standings: Belleville sits first in their division with 54 points, tied with Utica but with a game in hand. Rochester’s third with 48 points, while Toronto, Laval and Syracuse are following closely behind. The AHL playoff format admits the top four teams in the division, with no wild card spots. Belleville’s in a good position, but nothing is ever guaranteed.
  • Average time on ice this week for prospects in the NHL — 16:00 for Batherson, 11:07 for Chlapik, 9:34 for Balcers.
  • The last time we covered Parker Kelly, he heated up for one game before receding back into a perpetual struggle (one assist in nine games). Now he’s starting to find a bit of consistency, getting onto the scoresheet in his last five consecutive games.
  • I’m not entirely sure what’s up with Christian Jaros, but he missed all three of Belleville’s games this week with what I’m assuming is an injury. Nothing’s been reported, but he’s been taking a beating this year between Ottawa and Belleville, missing short periods of time.
  • A group of 2020 draft-eligible prospects were asked who is “the most difficult opponent they’ve faced”. Mark Kastelic received one vote.
  • Angus Crookshank barely missed the Biggest Standouts section, as he was no slouch with a two-goal game. The next contest marked the end of his seven-game point streak, during which he had six goals and two assists. He leads the University of New Hampshire with 87 shots on goal, averaging nearly four per game.
  • Fan voting for the Hobey Baker award, the most prestigious individual award in college hockey, has begun. Among the 78 nominees are Chris Wilkie (Colorado College) and Jakov Novak (Bentley University). The University of North Dakota nomination went to Jordan Kawaguchi.

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%

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%

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%

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%

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%