Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to one of Silver Seven’s most beloved traditions: the top 25 players in the Ottawa Senators’ organization under the age of 25 — or the Top 25 Under 25 as it’s more commonly known. The rankings are a compilation of the staff’s votes, which we will be revealing in full once the countdown is done.
Before you dive in, take a gander at last year’s rankings to see how much (or how little) might have changed.
With the preamble out of the way, let’s get right into it:
25. Tomas Hamara (Reader Rank: 27, Last Year: N/A)
Our fist entry in the rankings is Tomas Hamara, whom the Senators selected in the July draft with the 87th overall pick. The Czech defender has signed his three-year entry level contract, and is currently playing major minutes for Czechia at the World Junior Championships.
Ary already provided a comprehensive write-up of Hamara in his recap of the Sens’ 2022 draft, so I’d recommend you start there if you’re unfamiliar with the name. Really, you should be reading everything Ary writes anyways so why don’t you just go on ahead and click on that link and I’ll see you back here in a couple of minutes.
Okay, welcome back.
Virtually every scouting report of Hamara highlights that he is mobile, that he reads the game very well, and that he excels at moving the puck to spearhead the attack. If, like me, you’ve become numb to the long procession of Sens’ defenders who can do no better than hammer the puck off the glass at the slightest sign of pressure then Hamara is a sight for sore eyes indeed. He defends well, particularly with his stick and particularly through the neutral zone where he employs smart reads to keep a tight gap and close down attackers before they enter the attacking zone. Hamara has been highly regarded as a prospect for several years, going back to his time as a standout for Czechia’s U17 team. This past season, he played regular (if limited) minutes for Tappara Tempere of the Finish Liiga — one of the best leagues in the world. He checks a lot of the boxes for a high-end prospect.
If that all sounds great, you might be wondering why he was only a third round selection. The simple answer is that Hamara is on the smaller side at a listed 6 feet tall and 185 lbs, and he’s also not the most physical of defenders. There are some concerns that he won’t ever develop the strength or speed to make the type of skilled plays that I described above. To make a meaningful impact at the NHL level, it seems Hamara will need to spend some serious time on his physical training.
Hamara was featured in one of the “Breakaway” video series about the Sens draft, in which he says the usual things about how excited he is to be drafted but also drops the little nugget that Thomas Chabot is his “idol”.
If he turns out to be even a vague approximation of the Sens’ star rearguard, I’d think most fans would be elated. For myself, Hamara is my darkhorse pick to have a major impact — possibly sooner than later. His skillset is simply too tantalizing for me to ignore. As with virtually every recent draft pick taken outside of the first round, the next few years will be telling as to just what, exactly, the Sens have in Hamara. Stay tuned.