Although the Senators NHL season has (mercifully) come to an end, both the Belleville Senators (April 15) and a number of prospects are still in action.
Belleville went 2-1 in the last week, with Alex Formenton and Parker Kelly earning some playing time while Filip Gustavsson and Marcus Hogberg split the crease. Over in the CHL playoffs, Drake Batherson’s Armada still undefeated as they’re up 2-0 over the Moncton Wildcats, while Luchuk’s Colts are up 2-1 on Kingston. Logan Brown’s Kitchener Rangers are currently tied at one with the Sarnia Sting, with Game 3 scheduled for tonight.
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Kelly, a 2017 Draft eligible player that wasn’t selected by signed by the Sens last offseason, has made his mark. After 43 points in 72 games last season, Kelly had 29 goals and 30 assists for 59 points in 69 games this season with Prince Albert. The Raiders took the #1 ranked Moose Jaw Warriors to 7 games, but despite two goals from Kelly, they lost the series.
Parker Kelly had 2G on 9 shots but it wasn't enough, as Prince Albert fell 5-4 to Moose Jaw in Game 7.— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) April 4, 2018
Kelly, signed by the #Sens in September after going undrafted in 2017, had 59PTS (29G, 30A) in 69GP and another 4PTS (3G&1A) in the #WHL playoffs. pic.twitter.com/N0mqOBBm2i
Although he’s likely headed back to Prince Albert next year — which is part of the reason why he wasn’t traded to a “contender” at the WHL Trade Deadline — Kelly, like Alex Formenton, was eligible to join the Belleville Senators on an ATO to finish off the year. He made his mark early with a shorthanded marker, and notably used his smarts to almost finish a couple of other odd-man chances.
With the Sens not having a plethora of draft picks like other “retooling” teams, look for them to scour the market for other unsigned talent that they can add to the organization’s depth chart.
Batherson hasn’t let not being named to a QMJHL All-Star Team affect his play. With 10 points in 6 games, he’s tied for third in QMJHL Playoff scoring and ranks second in points-per-game behind teammate, Alexandre Alain.
What impressed me the most about Batherson at the World Juniors was his deft hands, and he’s been using this skill repeatedly to both score (first gif) and set up his teammates (second gif).
Drake Batherson with a silky goal last night 🚨 pic.twitter.com/mfh6cdiDiI— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) April 7, 2018
The nicest of 4 assists by Drake Batherson in today's 9-3 win 🍎— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) April 9, 2018
Batherson has points in 5 straight, giving him 10PTS (3G, 7A) in 6GP as the Armada are 6-0 to start the #QMJHL playoffs. pic.twitter.com/tLaybFWm6q
A feisty, passionate player; Batherson also fought Moncton’s Dylan Seitz as the Wildcats got rowdy from being down 2-0 in the series. The Armada are the top-ranked QMJHL team and will be hoping to play hockey well into June. With Batherson eligible to turn pro next year, expect him to give it all he’s got as he tries to end his junior career with some well-deserved hardware.
- Aaron Luchuk’s Colts are still in action, and you can expect the forward to bring home some form of OHL recognition. He was recently nominated for most outstanding player, is expected to be named to an all-star team, and may win an award for “best overager”.
- I’m surprised that NCAA D Kelly Summers hasn’t signed a contract yet with the Senators. A right-shot defenceman who had a standout year as Clarkson made the NCAA tournament, Summers is from Kanata and would help bolster Belleville’s defence next year. He was reportedly at the Sens game on April 2nd. /
- Despite the stat above from Colin, Belleville’s young players have been pushing to end the season on a high note. Filip Chlapik and Colin White were recently re-assigned to Belleville for their final three games — expect them to get big minutes as they head into an offseason hoping to make the NHL squad straight out of camp. White may have a chance to suit up for Team USA at the World Championships, where he’d join Thomas Chabot and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (?) as Sens attendees. White and Wolanin (who wasn’t re-assigned) had two points in the Sens final three games, while Chlapik had a nice assist. /
- The team’s final recall was used on Andreas Englund as he played the regular season finale against Boston. Danny Taylor was in net, and it was likely a “bonus” game for the veteran netminder. Filip Gustavsson (0.948 sv%) and Marcus Hogberg (0.970 sv%) both excelled this week, and are the best bet to split Belleville’s net next season.
- Two young defencemen had standout plays over the BSens three games this week. Max Lajoie, the youngest regular defenceman in the AHL this year, scored his first professional goal off a couple of deflections. Christian Jaros also had a sweet assist after he jumped up into the play.
- A blast from the past? 2012 7th round pick Mikael Wikstrand has supposedly caught the eye of Senators management after a strong season. The right-shot blueliner put up his second-straight season of strong production for Färjestad, and had three points in four contests at the Olympics. The Senators still have Wikstrand’s NHL rights, but all hopes were lost after then GM Bryan Murray suspended Wikstrand for returning home in 2015 when he was expected to play in North America. /