Before we get to the question, I’ll start by saying if you came here to vote for Jake Sanderson, you will be sorely disappointed. At the end of the day, provided he’s healthy, I don’t see a realm where Sanderson spends time anywhere but Ottawa so including him in this week’s question would feel a tad silly.
As we head into what will likely be a quiet week before trade rumours and the draft spice things up, I want to hear from our readers. When the Sens wrap up their 82nd game of the 2022-23 season, which of the following prospects will have played the most games for Ottawa?
All options will be on the table for the former captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings as he officially turns pro next year. There are a number of fans already penciling Greig in for a bottom six role with Ottawa while others are hopeful he’ll spend a year under Troy Mann in Belleville, honing his skills similar to Josh Norris, Drake Batherson and Alex Formenton.
The almost 20 year old lit the WHL on fire this year, compiling 63 points in just 39 games. In his few professional stints, Greig has looked solid. I think it’s possible Greig can play in the NHL this year but the question is, will he?
Mark Kastelic is a prospect many fans didn’t know much about before this year. If anyone made a name for themselves in this list, it’s probably the former Calgary Hitmen captain. After a solid but quiet rookie campaign in Belleville, Kastelic was one of the biggest contributors for Mann’s club this year. He was easy to trust in difficult situations while being the most likely to be called upon for a defensive draw.
Kastelic managed 16 games in the NHL this year, as well, compiling four points and looking steady as a potential fourth line centre of the future - skating primarily with Parker Kelly and Austin Watson.
Kastelic’s likelihood to “win” this pole ahead of a player like Greig feels high, and a tad unfair to Greig, because he’s the prototypical fourth line centre and it’ll be easier for him to fit in, while Greig would likely need to prove himself as a top nine option - a more difficult task.
Lassi Thomson, like Kastelic, came into his own this year splitting time between Belleville and Ottawa. While in the NHL, there were glimpses of what makes Thomson a sure fire NHL defender. He moved the puck well and showed he could be leaned on as a potential second powerplay quarterback.
He also, at times, looked a bit slow. It felt like he didn’t quite have the pace to solidify himself down the stretch and truly win the battle he and Jacob Bernard-Docker have created as the top right shot option for Dorion’s rebuilding Sens.
A big factor in whether or not Thomson wins this particular competition will come from Dorion’s work this offseason. If he brings in another defender, while not being able to shed the likes of Nikita Zaitsev, Thomson will have to wait for an injury to get his games in.
Finally, we have JBD (yeah, you know me!)
Similar to Thomson, Bernard-Docker’s spot in this race is also highly dependent on Dorion’s offseason work. That being said, an advantage Bernard-Docker has over Thomson is that his defensive game is more refined. If you can’t find a partner for Thomas Chabot at the right price this offseason, you could do a lot worse than Bernard-Docker.
The steady defender is rarely out of position and would be a fantastic complimentary player to a puck moving defender like Chabot - or Jake Sanderson. Think about how well Erik Karlsson was complimented by Marc Methot. That could be JBD’s golden ticket.
There are, of course, other options here!
Viktor Lodin could come into camp and put on a show, thrusting his name to the top of Dorion’s call-up list. DJ Smith had some high praise for Zack Ostapchuk last year, as well. Ostapchuk had a bit of a slow start to his season in the WHL but finished it with a bang, putting up 23 points in just 12 playoff contests for the 8th seed Vancouver Giants. And remember Angus Crookshank? He missed the entire year with an injury but all signs point to him being healthy for camp. While it’s a long shot to go from missing a year to making the NHL, Crookshank did storm his way into the AHL with 15 points in 19 games after finishing up at the University of New Hampshire.
Let’s hear it in the poll and the comments - who is going to play the most games for the Sens next year?
Who will play the most NHL games in 2022-23?
This poll is closed
Mystery Candidate (put it in the comments!)