With minimal prospect action over the Christmas break, we’re back with two weeks to cover in this week’s prospect update. Ottawa has four prospects playing in Buffalo at the World Juniors, which is providing almost all prospect hope as Belleville has really been struggling.
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Four Sens prospects are representing their respective country at the international tournament, with Alex Formenton and Drake Batherson on Team Canada, Logan Brown for USA and Markus Nurmi for Finland. With the group stage finished, the elimination rounds start today.
- Finland will face Czech Republic at 12:00 p.m. ET
- Canada will face Switzerland at 4:00 p.m. ET
- USA will face Russia at 8:00 p.m. ET/
Here is a separate stats sheet for their progress thus far:
First up are Formenton and Batherson, who have steadily been playing bottom six roles for Canada. Batherson scored what ended up being the game-winning goal against Finland, and both of Ottawa’s Canadian prospects netted a goal in their 8-0 win over Denmark.
Drake Batherson and Alex Formenton both scored nice goals in Canada's 8-0 win over Denmark 🚨 pic.twitter.com/lozOG6bsxE— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) December 31, 2017
Hoping to play big minutes for USA, an injury against Slovakia has sidelined Logan Brown for what appears to be the rest of the tournament. It’s an unfortunate break for the big forward who was playing well in his one-and-a-half games.
Finally is Markus Nurmi, who has mainly been playing 4th line defensive duty for Finland. He’s still managed to pick up three points in four games, good for 5th on the team ahead of prospects like Aleksi Heponiemi and Joni Ikonen.
Aside from the World Juniors, there wasn’t a whole lot of action is the Sens prospect world. The B-Sens have been struggling mightily, going 2-4-0 since the last update with a -11 goal differential.
One light recently has been Marcus Hogberg, who picked up his first AHL win in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win. He’s earned his call-up after a dozen games in the ECHL, where it seems he’s finally settled in the North American transition after a rough start. His goals saved above average is top ten in the ECHL, although it looks like he’s starting to move into a bigger role.
With Ottawa’s season going down the pipe, the team is shifting to giving more games to some of their prospects. Filip Chlapik and Nick Paul have been the main beneficiaries (with the latter being re-assigned to Belleville on Sunday), although it’s been Chlapik in particular who’s stood out in a positive way. He has yet to record a point or even be on the ice for a 5v5 goal, although his use of speed and quick hands has caught the attention of Sens fans grasping for positives.
- Gabriel Gagné’s been in a bit of a funk after his hot streak of goal scoring. His last six games have seen him go without a point and only five shots on goal.
- New prospect alert! The Sens have signed OHL superstar Aaron Luchuk to an entry-level contract, and you can read Ary’s analysis of the signing here. He’s still getting acclimated to his new team in Barrie after being traded from Windsor, although he already has eight points in his first six games with the team.
- Speaking of Windsor trades, a blockbuster was announced yesterday as they sent Gabriel Vilardi and Sean Day to the Kingston Frontenacs in exchange for futures (including a pick in 2028). With the Spitfires trading Logan Stanley in the off-season, and Luchuk on top of this trade mid-season, they’re going for the full rebuild just after coming off their Memorial Cup victory. With the OHL trade deadline approaching on January 9th/10th, one has to imagine they’re working the phones hard on Logan Brown. It’ll be a bit harder now that he’s injured./
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