As you maybe aware, dear reader, things continue to go rather poorly at the NHL level for the Senators and while we don’t have any AHL action to keep us distracted closer to home, we can still see some distant rays of hope if we really squint and look out to the horizon. Realistically, the organization started tearing down the roster in earnest in 2018 and if you, like me, figure a full rebuild takes about five years then you expected this season to go poorly for the Ottawa Senators and won’t hold your breath for anything but a marginal improvement next year. Most of the key components of this team’s future still haven’t even entered their early-twenties yet so we still have a long way to go. In the meantime, enjoy the ride for what it is.
As Shaan alluded to last week, Drake’s days on these lists seem numbered as he has demonstrated why he belongs in the NHL permanently. This is a bigger, stronger, faster Drake Batherson and his production alongside Josh Norris and Brady Tkachuk has confirmed what we have hoped for years. Teams rarely hit on a draft pick like this after the second round. We got lucky and I feel so grateful for it.
The NCHC forward of the week and Hobey Baker nominee is coming off a week when he scored four goals and continued to dominate the faceoff circle. Even if his high shooting percentage regresses, Pinto has produced at an impressive clip and watching UND in action, the bean stands out as a major part of an exceptional team. I also find it very impressive that both Pinto and Sanderson have taken only one penalty each this season.
The other Hobey Baker nominee coming from the Senators’ system doesn’t get a tonne of attention relative to some of his peers but we’ve long known of his goal-scoring touch and Novak absolutely caught fire as he’s currently producing more than a point-per-game (small sample size noted). Novak remains a longshot to climb the Senators’ forward depth chart, but he could make training camp a little bit more competitive in the next year or two.
At a certain point, you run out of superlatives to describe a player who seems to have already done it all at his current level. So I encourage anyone and everyone who hasn’t already done so to read this exceptional article from Sylvain St-Laurent that discusses JBD’s play on the ice from the perspective of his coaches and his actions off the ice from the player himself. (Translate it if you don’t speak French because trust me, it’s worth it!)
Perhaps feeling left out of our recent coverage, JBD’s old partner and fellow 2018 draftee Jonny Tychonick went point-per-game last week against his former team. As we’ve discussed around here before, Tycho has a steep climb back to the expectations we set for him over two years ago. It’s nice to see he’s still not afraid to get in on the offence from time to time.
Tychonick in the nick of time!— The NCHC (@TheNCHC) January 31, 2021
The defenseman restores @OmahaHKY's lead with a goal against his former team in the closing seconds of the first#NCHCHockey x #EveryoneForOmaha pic.twitter.com/mUBl6BOQwr
For now we still have a two-horse race in this category and it looks like Leevi Meriläinen has earned a call-up to Finland’s top league albeit as a back-up. (Leevi also got himself a contract extension with Kärpät for all of his hard work this season.) So that leaves Søgaard as the lone Sens’ netminding prospect in action this past week where he continues his quest to win Esbjerg their first championship since 2017. Of note: in the past 50 years only one goalie under the age of 21 has had a better season in the Danish league than Søgaard’s this year. It’s a niche league, but we’ll take it!
- I had a very difficult time choosing between Novak and Angus Crookshank this week and then Novak got nominated for the Hobey and that was that. Don’t let my choices take away from the fact that Crookshank had sixteen(!) shots on goal this week and continues to average more than four shots-per-game. I cannot wait for Crookshank to graduate to Belleville where I believe he has the potential to take a lot of people by surprise.
- Likewise, Josh Norris had an equally strong case to that of Batherson with more impressive NHL play this week while the rest of the Ottawa Senators just sort of flailed. Norris has now almost caught up to Batherson in total shots on goal and together, their play alone can make the Sens watchable on most nights despite everything else.
- Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven haven’t quite lit up the scoresheet of late despite combining for a couple of shots each per night playing big minutes on one of the best teams in college hockey. Bear in mind, the Senators didn’t necessarily draft either player based on offensive prowess and it bodes well that the Fighting Hawks have the third best goal differential in the NCAA with three Senators prospects playing defence.
- Max Guenette and Val d’or resumed play last week where he continues to average about 2.5 shots per game while Phil Daoust’s squad in Moncton remains inactive (along with the WHL).
- And finally Viktor Lodin, it seems, cannot stop scoring as he added another goal to his total last week and four shots on goal for good measure. Suffice to say Lodin has enjoyed the change of scenery from Örebro to Timrå this season.
|Jakov Novak||LW/C||22||Bentley Univ.||3||3||4||7||0||12||25%|||||7||3||1||9||17||27||11%|
|Todd Burgess||C/RW||24||Minnesota State Univ.||-||-||-||-||-||-||-%|||||11||2||4||6||4||21||10%|
|Luke Loheit||RW||20||Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth||2||1||0||1||4||3||33%|||||17||3||2||5||27||17||18%|
|Angus Crookshank||LW||21||Univ. of New Hampshire||2||1||1||2||0||16||6.3%|||||12||4||2||6||0||53||8%|
|Shane Pinto||C||20||Univ. of North Dakota||2||4||1||5||0||7||57%|||||18||11||12||23||2||56||20%|
|Jacob Bernard-Docker||RD||20||Univ. of North Dakota||2||0||2||2||2||11||0%|||||18||1||7||8||16||39||3%|
|Jake Sanderson||LD||18||Univ. of North Dakota||2||0||1||1||0||7||0%|||||11||1||5||6||2||23||4%|
|Tyler Kleven||LD||19||Univ. of North Dakota||2||0||0||0||2||1||0%|||||11||3||1||4||21||17||18%|
|Jonny Tychonick||LD||20||Univ. of Omaha||2||1||1||2||0||2||50%|||||13||2||2||4||4||13||15%|
|Viktor Lodin||C/LW||21||Timrå IK||Allsvenskan||1||1||0||1||0||4||25%|||||34||7||14||21||18||47||15%|
|Filip Gustavsson||22||Belleville Senators||AHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-%|||||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-%|
|Kevin Mandolese||20||Belleville Senators||AHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-%|||||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-%|
|Mads Søgaard||20||Esbjerg||Metal Ligaen||1||-||-||-||-||-||-||93.3%|||||12||-||-||-||-||-||-||93.4%|
|Joey Daccord||24||Ottawa Senators||NHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-%|||||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-%|
|Leevi Meriläinen||18||Kärpät U20||U20 SM-sarja||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-%|||||17||-||-||-||-||-||-||92.8%|