The period after the December holiday and spring can be a trying time for many, so I hope this prospect update brings you a bit of joy. While the Senators are struggling to record any wins on the ice, the Belleville Senators won last night and are now first in their division. Over in the CHL, NCAA, and Europe, there are Sens prospects thriving as well. Let’s get to the updates!
No one shone this week as much as Alex Formenton, who is now tied with teammate Josh Norris for first in AHL rookie goal scoring with 20 goals. The duo, who only really play together on the powerplay and when Troy Mann mixes his lines, are also tied for third among all AHL skaters in goals.
What’s impressed me the most about Formenton is his ability to always be engaged in the play. I intentionally didn’t clip any of his goals this past week (but you know where to find them!), and instead, chose the clip below because it nicely showcases how many chances he creates for himself with his feet, and how playing with a playmaking centre like Brown amplifies his game.
I’ve been pretty public with not being as high on Formenton heading into this year because he didn’t have the final junior year I would expect from a prospect of his calibre. Well, his first year of pro is doing a lot to assuage any of my concerns.
If he learns to reduce the amount he crosses the line (and takes a penalty), but continues to stay engaged, the Senators have a hell of a piece to add to the team when they’re ready to compete.
Logan Brown had four of his six assists this week come in last night’s win over Manitoba, and deserves a shootout because of how hard he’s working all over the ice.
A common criticism of Brown is that he’s often not engaged physically for a player his size, something I’m old enough to remember being a concern for a young Jason Spezza back in his day. Well, like Spezza learned to do, Brown’s physicality appears to be one where he’s looking to use his size to separate players from the puck before sending the puck into dangerous areas. See exhibit A below:
🚨 Parker Kelly's 5th of the season— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) January 14, 2020
🍎 Logan Brown with a bit of physicality to set up the goal and earn his 3rd assist of the game. Brown has 17 points in 13GP with Belleville. #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/qpKnimpTVk
Of course, his trademark vision was still on display, and passes like this — combined with what we’ve seen recently from Batherson at the NHL level — makes me salivate for Ottawa’s powerplay when they both receive regular minutes in a set-up designed for them.
💥 Josh Norris pushes his point streak to 12 games!— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) January 14, 2020
Michael Carcone put home Norris' rebound to finish off a 1st period hat trick. Logan Brown had a nice feed to find Norris for his 2nd assist of the game. #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/5i6t415Rw2
Brown has succeeded with many different types of linemates in Belleville, from the north-south play of Nick Paul, to the cerebral Drake Batherson, to the (now) speedy duo of Alex Formenton and Michael Carcone. It appears that Troy Mann’s system can get the best out of Brown’s play, but that he struggles a bit more in D.J. Smith’s set-up, where he likes his centres to go low and help drive the play up the ice. Where the compromise ends up coming with Brown will be interesting, because we all know he certainly has the talent to become a top-six player at the NHL level.
We mentioned Alsing a lot in October, as he burst out of the gate as our surprise of the season. While he continues to play top minutes as a 23-year-old in the SHL, Alsing’s point production had faded in league play. The last time we highlighted him, it was telling you about his Champions League play where he was leading his team (and the tournament at one point) in scoring.
🇸🇪🚨 Olle Alsing scored his first SHL goal since October on Saturday night, part of a 2-point game.— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) January 12, 2020
Alsing's point production has cooled off since an early season hot streak. He's got 4 goals and 19 points in 32GP, good for second on Djurgårdens in scoring. #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/hgx0kerm6F
It’s nice to see him back on the scoresheet, and the way his season plays out will be something to watch. If Djurgårdens gets eliminated early, does he join Brännström and Davidsson in Belleville for their run?
- I didn’t want to double-dip on mentioning Josh Norris, but the first-year pro had another strong week as Belleville’s second-line pivot. He had five points and 14 shots on goal in four games.
- Michael Carcone had been a disappointment so far this season, but it appears that lining up alongside Alex Formenton and Logan Brown has done wonders for him. He had a first-period hat-trick last night, and also had 14 shots on goal this past week. 17 points in 35 games starts to look more respectable, and comes at a great time for Belleville having lost Batherson, Balcers, and Chlapik.
- A negative this week for Belleville? The penalty minutes. Formenton (6), Brown (6), and Brännström (8) all spent a significant amount of time in the box, and sloppy minors will be things to ease up on as they look to advance to the pro level.
- The QMJHL trade deadline has come and gone with Maxence Guénette remaining in a Val D’Or sweater. The Foreurs and Kevin Mandolese’s Cape Breton Eagles are both middle-of-the-pack teams that likely won’t have deep playoff runs.
- The shots on goal leader this week? Chris Wilkie, with 21 (!!!) and three points in two games. He has an absurd 42 shots on goal in his last five games with Colorado College.
- Markus Nurmi continues to have a solid year, with another two points this week bringing his season totals up to 16 in 37 games. He’s playing middle-six minutes (15:37/game) with TPS, and will be an interesting player to watch in a stacked Sens system that has to be wary of contract spots..
- Speaking of contract spots, what the Sens do in net with Kevin Mandolese and Mads Søgaard will be fascinating. Søgaard has the second-round pick pedigree, but continues to struggle. Medicine Hat is 28-12, but mainly off the backs of an offence that have put up 182 goals so far — 17 higher than the next closest WHL team.
- Lassi Thomson hasn’t suited up for Ilves since returning, but doesn’t appear to be injured. We’ll update you next week on his return to the lineup.
- Here’s an interview with UND’s Jacob Bernard-Docker and Shane Pinto on their World Juniors experience. UND beat writer Brad Schlossman had a print interview with JBD as well.
- Word broke on Saturday that Pinto was recruited to one of the OHL’s top teams, the local Ottawa 67s, but decided to stay at UND. According to Pinto himself, that report isn’t true. Weird story.
- We’re always using his gifs, but if you wanted to read @SensProspects’ write-up on the farm system in December, give this piece a read! /
Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL)
Canadian Hockey League
|Johnny Gruden||LW||19||London Knights||OHL||3||4||1||5||0||14||29%|||||44||21||28||49||21||112||19%|
|Maxence Guénette||RD||18||Val-d'Or Foreurs||QMJHL||3||0||2||2||4||2||0%|||||45||8||22||30||20||100||8%|
|Mark Kastelic||C||20||Calgary Hitmen||WHL||2||2||3||5||2||8||25%|||||39||23||22||45||59||143||16%|
|Angus Crookshank||LW||20||Univ. of New Hampshire||2||0||0||0||2||6||0%|||||24||12||4||16||12||93||13%|
|Chris Wilkie||RW||23||Colorado College||2||0||0||0||0||19||0%|||||22||17||8||25||13||122||14%|
|Jakov Novak||LW/C||21||Bentley Univ.||2||0||3||3||2||5||0%|||||26||14||12||26||39||75||19%|
|Luke Loheit||RW||19||Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth||2||1||0||1||0||3||0%|||||23||3||1||4||6||18||17%|
|Shane Pinto||C||19||Univ. of North Dakota||2||0||2||2||2||1||0%|||||23||11||9||20||27||61||18%|
|Jacob Bernard-Docker||RD||19||Univ. of North Dakota||2||0||0||0||0||4||0%|||||22||3||13||16||8||39||8%|
|Jonny Tychonick||LD||19||Univ. of North Dakota||1||1||0||1||0||2||0%|||||18||4||6||10||6||10||40%|
|Viktor Lodin||C/LW||20||Örebro HK||SHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||22||0||4||4||2||20||0%|
|HC Vita Hästen||Allsvenskan||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||10||3||2||5||2||26||12%|
|Olle Alsing||LD||23||Djurgårdens IF||SHL||2||0||0||0||0||1||0%|||||36||4||16||20||20||55||7%|
|Filip Gustavsson||21||Belleville Senators||AHL||1||1||28||2||92.9%|||||18||11||5||2||0||519||55||89.4%|
|Joey Daccord||23||Belleville Senators||AHL||2||1||1||61||4||93.4%|||||13||9||3||2||1||434||36||91.7%|
|Marcus Högberg||25||Belleville Senators||AHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|||||15||7||6||0||0||408||42||89.7%|
|Kevin Mandolese||19||Cape Breton Eagles||QMJHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||#VALUE!|||||26||17||6||1||0||726||57||92.1%|
|Mads Søgaard||19||Medicine Hat Tigers||WHL||2||1||1||27||4||85.2%|||||28||15||10||1||1||744||75||89.9%|