Before we count down this year’s Ottawa Senators Top 25 Under 25, we’d like to recognize a group of players who’ve all spent a long time in the Senators’ system, and have all found themselves on past iterations of our annual rankings. Though no longer eligible for this series, they are still very much a part of the team’s future — at least in the immediate sense of the word. Here is your graduating class for Silver Seven Sens’ Top 25 Under 25:
A third-round selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Hogberg stands out as the only successful Senators draft pick made prior to 2015 that remains in the organization. 2015, as you may recall, marks the beginning of the Trent Mann era. A pending RFA in 2021, the 6’5 Swedish netminder has progressed very well over the last several years, developing into at the very least a competent NHL backup goalie; and that might not even be his ceiling. Considering the quality of play in front of him on most nights (you can read more about this in a previous article of mine here), his .904 save percentage is a lot more impressive than it seems, and if Matt Murray returns to form, the two should be a solid tandem for the Senators for the next few years.
While he hasn’t been in the Senators’ system as long as Hogberg has, Paul’s road to the NHL has been just as long, and even more grueling. Acquired from the Dallas Stars as part of the Jason Spezza trade after the 2013-14 season, Paul spent four full seasons in the AHL before finally seizing a permanent spot on Ottawa’s bottom six in 2019-20. A big winger with a cannon of a shot, as well as some tough minutes under his belt, he seems likely to be a safe bet to contribute both offensively and defensively on the third or fourth line.
For all of the discourse on the Senators drafting overagers, they’ve done really well with fourth-round picks like Drake Batherson in 2017, and Christian Wolanin in 2015. The latter went into training camp last year as one half of the projected second defence pair, but he unfortunately suffered a torn labrum which limited him to just three games in 2020. Now healthy, in good shape, and on a one-way contract, Wolanin will look to hold down a spot in the Senators’ top four. The Sens will be hoping his performance will make up for the loss of Dylan DeMelo on the back end.