It’s been a frustrating start to the season throughout the Ottawa Senators organization. Despite not looking nearly as dysfunctional as they did last season, they’ve lost three straight games in which a victory could’ve been there had a few things gone differently. Meanwhile, the Belleville Senators are also off to a slow start, and the remaining prospects have seen varying levels of early success. Let’s take a look at who stood out this week.
As of today, Ottawa’s third-round pick from the 2021 NHL Draft has been the best performer of the team’s class, having scored 5 goals and 8 assists in 12 games with Timrå IK’s U-20 club. He’s found success this year by making use of his hands and speed, as seen in the following clip, in which upon receiving the pucks, quickly moves to the front of the net and finishes the play on the backhand.
Johansson recently earned a promotion to the SHL and had three shots on goal in his first and only game so far.
Greig has continued to make a big difference both on and off the scoresheet with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings in his first eight games. He’s got 5 goals and 5 assists while averaging just under 5 shots per game and adding 20 penalty minutes thus far. Interestingly enough, he scored a goal on Sunday that was quite similar to Drake Batherson’s highlight-reel tally yesterday:
Evidently, he’s been all over the ice, and it’s clear he hasn’t skipped a beat after his preseason debut with the Senators, in which he scored a wonderful goal before leaving the game for a play he’d be suspended for. The challenge for the Senators’ development team going forward will be to allow Greig to play his game while still cutting down on suspensions and major penalties.
There weren’t too many forwards that impressed on the scoresheet this past week, so we look to the ever-reliable Shane Pinto, who had adapted well to the role of Ottawa’s 2C before leaving with a shoulder injury on October 21st against the Sharks. Only 1 assist in four games so far, but he’s earned the head coach’s trust in all situations and created tons of chances in the opener against Toronto, and his work on the power-play helped to clinch two points against Dallas.
The fifth-overall pick from 2020 is once again proving to be the full package. His strengths have only improved, and it appears that his perceived weaknesses weren’t there to begin with. He’s currently leading the way on UND’s blueline with 3 goals and 4 assists in 6 games, a comparable pace to Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar’s sophomore year.
this sport is too easy for Jake Sanderson pic.twitter.com/X5yWuXwWQB— Paul Gb (@PaulGb_) October 23, 2021
Expect Sanderson to dominate in the World Juniors this year, as the United States looks for back-to-back gold medals. After his sophomore year, he’s likely to sign his entry-level deal with Ottawa and play at least a few games with the big club. With the current lack of solid defenders outside of Thomas Chabot and Artem Zub, the addition of Sanderson could revitalize that blue line and give the Senators a better group than we’ve seen in years.
I understand the calls for Erik Brännström’s recall after yesterday’s game, but I’m not so sure he’s the best option in Belleville right now. Jonathan Aspirot is currently playing in his third AHL season, and he’s flown under the radar throughout his short career. With two assists in four games, he’s carried his weight on the back end, and even though the Senators need more help on the right side, I’d like to see the 22-year-old left-handed defenseman get a chance with Ottawa soon.
I considered Kevin Mandolese for this spot, as he’s posted a decent .906 with Belleville, but Gustavsson gave the Sens a chance to win against Dallas, stopping 30 of 32 shots, and although he went on to allow three goals on fifteen shots yesterday, he was hung out to dry on all three of them. It’s a shame, because Ottawa had done a great job supporting him as they made their comeback, and the first shot they give up is an Alex Ovechkin breakaway. With Matt Murray injured in the short-term, and Anton Forsberg’s lacklustre performance against Washington, the opportunity is there for Gustavsson to get some more starts and help bring Ottawa back to .500.
- Tyler Boucher, Ottawa’s first-round selection from the recent NHL draft, got his first NCAA assist on Saturday — he now has 2 points in 6 games to start his collegiate career.
- 2021 fourth-round pick Carson Latimer had a slow start to the season, but he’s recently picked things up with a four-game point streak, and now has 5 points in 9 games.
⭐️Carson Latimer scored twice and was named the game’s first star on Saturday night in a 5-4 win— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) October 25, 2021
After going pointless in his first 5GP, Latimer has at least a point in four straight — good for 4G, 1A in 9GP with WHL Edmonton #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/1vmChS9agb
- Leevi Meriläinen is currently adjusting to North American ice as the starter for the Kingston Frontenacs. Ottawa’s third-round pick from the 2020 draft has posted a 4-2-0 record and a .893 save percentage. He took a big step forward in his last two starts, allowing just two goals on 43 shots altogether, for a sparkling .953 save percentage.
- Kole Sherwood, signed as a free agent in this past offseason has had a good start with Belleville, contributing 2 assists and 16 shots on goal in four games.
Pro (NHL, AHL)
|Tyler Boucher||RW||18||Boston University||6||1||1||2||10||9||11%|||||6||1||1||2||10||9||11%|
|Tyler Kleven||LD||19||Univ. of North Dakota||6||1||1||2||12||14||7%|||||6||1||1||2||12||14||7%|
|Luke Loheit||RW||21||Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth||5||1||0||1||6||10||10%|||||5||1||0||1||6||10||10%|
|Jakov Novak||LW/C||23||Northeastern Univ.||5||0||0||0||2||14||0%|||||5||0||0||0||2||14||0%|
|Jake Sanderson||LD||19||Univ. of North Dakota||6||3||4||7||2||19||16%|||||6||3||4||7||2||19||16%|
|Jonny Tychonick||LD||21||Univ. of Omaha||2||0||0||0||2||5||0%|||||2||0||0||0||2||5||0%|
|Oliver Johansson||C/LW||18||Timrå IK||J20 Nationell||13||5||9||14||4||N/A||N/A|||||13||5||9||13||4||N/A||N/A|
|Oliver Johansson||C/LW||18||Timrå IK||SHL||1||0||0||0||0||3||0%|||||1||0||0||0||0||3||0%|
|Viktor Lodin||C/LW||22||Timrå IK||SHL||7||1||3||4||25||10||10%|||||7||1||3||4||25||10||10%|