The Ottawa Senators have locked up the first of their major college prospects, signing defenceman Jacob Bernard-Docker to a three-year entry-level contract. He will report to Ottawa, following a league-mandated seven-day quarantine period upon arriving in the capital tomorrow.
The 20 year-old Canmore, Alberta native is coming off of a junior season with the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks where he served as an alternate captain, and earned NCHC Defensive Defenceman of the year honours. Bernard-Docker tallied three goals and 15 assists in 27 games on the Fighting Hawks’ run to a fifth-overtime loss to Minnesota-Duluth in the Midwest Regional Final. He was also named to the NCHC’s Second All-Star team.
“Jacob represents another key component of our future,” GM Pierre Dorion said. “He’s very mature for his age and already possesses great gap and stick detail within his game. He’s an exemplary leader and a winner who we’re looking forward to seeing in our lineup.”
Drafted 26th overall by the Senators in 2018, Bernard-Docker’s three-year tenure with UND saw him establish himself as one of the premier defencemen in college hockey, posting 60 points in 95 NCHC games during that span, mainly spent on the Fighting Hawks’ shutdown pairing.
Internationally, Bernard-Docker represented Canada at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship, scoring a goal on their run to a gold medal win.
Particularly of note is the indication that Bernard-Docker will initially report to Ottawa, rather than Belleville. It’s no secret that the Senators need help on the blue line, especially on the right side, so Bernard-Docker’s steady play has the potential to see him earn a sizeable role early on.
His Fighting Hawk teammates in Hobey Baker Memorial award nominee Shane Pinto, and dominant 18 year-old defenceman Jake Sanderson remain unsigned, with speculation rampant on whether or not they will opt to return to school for another year. UND hockey analyst Tim Hennessy has reported that both players will return to school, relayed to us by friend-of-the-site Sens Prospects, but of course, take this with a grain of salt.
The Senators are back in action tonight, facing off with the Montreal Canadiens a 7pmEST.