I guess you can blame me for breaking the Belleville Senators’ winning streak. While they appeared to tear down any opponent while Colin was on coverage, they had an up and down week this past week that Spencer will speak to in more detail.
As always with the Ottawa Senators prospect pool, when someone has a poor week, other prospects have stepped up. Let’s get to this week’s biggest standouts.
Named CHL Player of the Night for February 13th, Mark Kastelic had a game to remember with a four-goal, five-point effort that saw him enter the top-10 in Calgary Hitmen franchise scoring.
Highlights from Mark Kastelic's 4 goal, 5 point game earlier this week in the WHL.— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) February 16, 2020
Kastelic became the first player in the Sens org to record 30 goals this season. He's got 55 points in 47GP, the same 1.17 PPG pace he had last year. #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/o2FYeTz8sd
While Kastelic isn’t having the dominant year I’d expect from a 20-year-old overager that scored 47 goals last season, he sits 23rd in points-per-game and has been rediscovering the scoring groove he had in November and December. He’s 61.1% on the faceoff dot, and plays a strong, power game that may make him an intriguing pro in Belleville should the team decide to use one of their 50 standard player contract slots on him.
Pinto’s a year younger than Kastelic, and is having a season to remember for #1 ranked UND. He’s tied for fourth among first-year players in scoring with 24 points in 27 games — with Philadelphia’s Bobby Brink, who was taken just after — just behind top prospects Alex Newhook (COL), Trevor Zegras (ANA), and Cole Caufield (MTL).
Shane Pinto and Jacob Bernard-Docker both had 1G, 1A for UND on Friday night in a 4-1 win over Denver.— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) February 15, 2020
JBD established a new NCAA career high in points (19) while Pinto pushed his point streak to 7 games (5G, 4A). #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/6q9YPsdhGl
Impressively, Pinto can do it all. He takes key faceoffs in all areas of the ice; has received ice-time on both special teams’ units; and is adept at getting to the area around the net for high-danger opportunities. While his shot was what was showcased in the World Juniors, Pinto also has decent vision, and can generate assists by putting the puck into dangerous areas of the ice.
Shane Pinto picked up an assist on Saturday night to extend his point streak to 8 games.— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) February 16, 2020
Pinto has 24 points (14 goals) in 27GP as a NCAA freshman. He's got 6 powerplay points (4 goals) and is a hair below 60% at the face-off dot. #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/Yxna8qXrZW
It’ll be really interesting to see what the Sens decide to do with Pinto and Jacob Bernard-Docker — who had three points this past week — in the offseason. Belleville is thin on defence from a prospect perspective, but the team is overloaded with forwards and Pinto is only 19. Next year’s UND squad will likely have a tougher season, so Pinto may have to respond to adversity in a different way than he’s had to this year.
The goalie prospect that’s been having the most questionable season so far, Søgaard has season his save percentage drop from 0.921% in his rookie season with Medicine Hat, to 0.902% currently.
The third goaltender taken in last year’s draft, it’s been hard to not criticize Søgaard and the Sens because a) he plays for a top scoring team in Medicine Hat, and b) seventh rounder Dustin Wolf leads the WHL in save percentage. However, just because a team is good at offence doesn’t mean they’re good at defending, and while the goaltenders surely have been a part of the problem for the Tigers this season, they don’t have notable names playing rearguard and appear loose in coverage.
To his credit, all Søgaard can control is making his next game better than his last, and so far in February, he’s done a good job of putting together a decent streak. Case in point? Recording his third shutout of the season (and second this month!) on February 11th:
Mads Sogaard stopped all 24 shots on Tuesday night, his 3rd shutout of the season and 6th of his WHL career.— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) February 15, 2020
Sogaard has won 3 of his last 4 starts for Medicine Hat, the WHL leader in team goals-for (229) #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/h4rHU6zRAF
It’s this kind of athleticism for a 6-foot-7 netminder that made Søgaard a second round pick, and what the Sens are banking on to develop as the rest of his game settles down. He’s very much a boom or bust prospect:
While it’ll be weird for an import goaltender to play a full three seasons in the WHL, the Sens don’t have to sign him yet, and I wonder if he heads back overseas to develop against pros.
- While we won’t count Christian Wolanin as a “prospect” anymore, he played in two of the BSens’ three games this week and had a fight (!!!) in his return from a shoulder injury. Barring trades, it sounds like the plan is to have him to finish the year in the AHL and contribute to a deep playoff run.
- A player who’s also been injured to start 2020, and then went on a massive cold streak, Vitaly Abramov is heating up again. He had three points and 13 shots in three games this past week.
- Like Colin mentioned last week, Logan Brown has been battling a wrist injury that’s impeded his puck handling and his shot. This big hit, courtesy of Mason Marchment, didn’t help; Brown didn’t return to the game and per Troy Mann, is out for at least two weeks.
- Max Lajoie missed the team’s third game, but it was because he was a healthy scratch. Troy Mann spoke about how some of this is having to manage 11 defenders, while some of it is about Lajoie improving his game. He’s not as offensively talented as Brännström, Wolanin, or Murray, nor does the team see him as a more effective penalty killer than some of the others in the lineup. He burst onto the scene last year, but is young and has a history of playing a smart, effective game. I hope he uses this to rebound.
- By this time next week, the NHL and AHL trade deadlines would’ve passed. While that’s likely going to mean new faces added to our prospects list, there’s also the possibility that the Sens may move some players from a position of strength. In his latest 31 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman mentioned that Max Veronneau may be on the move. Last year’s big collegiate free agent, Veronneau has been in and out of the lineup, and has 10 points in 33 games this season with Belleville. He suited up for four NHL games, but has gone pointless. He had four points (2G, 2A) in 12 NHL games to end last season.
- Lassi Thomson’s Ilves squad will see their regular season end on March 14th, but look set to make the Liiga playoffs. Will be interesting to follow the timing of his year, because he’s got a shot at joining Belleville for their playoff run.
- With four goals in four games this week, Johnny Gruden continues to have a strong year with the London Knights.
- Angus Crookshank and Jakov Novak have been used to putting up the points, but this past week, they put up the PIMs. Crookshank had 15 and Novak had 19 over two games.
- Other than Søgaard, it was a rough week for the goaltenders. While Marcus Hogberg was pulled against the Leafs, he still managed to increase his save percentage this week, and is now up to a respectable 0.911% for the season.
Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL)
Canadian Hockey League
|Johnny Gruden||LW||19||London Knights||OHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||59||30||36||66||23||152||20%|
|Maxence Guénette||RD||18||Val-d'Or Foreurs||QMJHL||1||0||2||2||0||5||0%|||||62||11||29||40||22||130||8%|
|Mark Kastelic||C||21||Calgary Hitmen||WHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||58||38||30||68||83||227||17%|
|Angus Crookshank||LW||20||Univ. of New Hampshire||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||34||16||6||22||39||137||12%|
|Chris Wilkie||RW||23||Colorado College||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||34||23||8||31||36||175||13%|
|Jakov Novak||LW/C||21||Bentley Univ.||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||35||16||14||30||84||100||16%|
|Luke Loheit||RW||19||Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||33||5||1||6||8||27||19%|
|Shane Pinto||C||19||Univ. of North Dakota||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||33||16||12||28||46||91||18%|
|Jacob Bernard-Docker||RD||19||Univ. of North Dakota||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||32||7||18||25||12||55||13%|
|Jonny Tychonick||LD||20||Univ. of North Dakota||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||24||4||7||11||14||12||33%|
|Viktor Lodin||C/LW||20||Örebro HK||SHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||22||0||4||4||2||20||0%|
|HC Vita Hästen||Allsvenskan||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||18||3||5||8||4||27||11%|
|Olle Alsing||LD||23||Djurgårdens IF||SHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||36||4||16||20||20||55||7%|
|Filip Gustavsson||21||Belleville Senators||AHL||1||0||1||0||0||37||2||94.6%|||||24||15||6||3||0||673||75||88.9%|
|Joey Daccord||23||Belleville Senators||AHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||24||15||6||2||1||721||61||91.5%|
|Marcus Högberg||25||Ottawa Senators||NHL||1||0||1||0||0||15||5||66.7%|||||24||5||8||6||2||728||70||90.4%|
|Kevin Mandolese||19||Cape Breton Eagles||QMJHL||1||0||1||0||0||47||3||93.6%|||||37||26||8||1||0||1090||82||92.5%|
|Mads Søgaard||19||Medicine Hat Tigers||WHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||37||21||13||1||1||967||89||90.8%|