For the first time this year, we’ve been witness to a prolonged stretch of respectable play from the Ottawa Senators. With three wins in their last five games, the team’s young players are doing their part to overcome the adversity they faced at the start of the season. That’s still nowhere close, however, to the undisputed dominance we’ve seen from our unofficial farm team: the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. Thanks to back-to-back wins against Omaha this week, NoDak clinched the Penrose Cup, awarded to the NCHC regular-season champions, for the second year in a row. Let’s find out who else stood out, as we put together this week’s edition of the All-Prospect Team!
Part of the reason for the Senators’ recent success has been certain players regressing from unsustainably low shooting percentages. Exhibit A: Drake Batherson. Going into the iconic “It was 5-1” game against the Leafs, Batherson was rocking an atrocious 2.6% conversion rate, but five games later he’s now up to 8.5%. This week, he tallied two goals and one assist; his most recent marker is quite an apt representation of Batherson’s luck turning around.
College hockey’s best-named volume shooter continued to impress this week, putting up a goal, two assists, and 8 SOG in two games with New Hampshire. Crookshank’s 17 points in 18 games are a fair improvement on his numbers in previous seasons, but his defining characteristic has always been a knack for running up the shot clock in his team’s favor. Not that shot quantity is something the Senators desperately need, but it always helps to have a strong play-driver in your lineup. And when it comes to finishing on those shots, he’s definitely no Connor Brown.
Of course, Shane Pinto makes our list once again. It wasn’t even a fantastic week for him; scoring two points in two games is solid but at this point, it feels like anything below that is underwhelming. It’s a testament to how good he’s been this season, as he’s now up to 28 points in 22 games as a sophomore. He scored on the power-play in the second game against Omaha thanks to an absolute rocket, a weapon Ottawa might well be fortunate to have in their arsenal for a long time to come.
Whereas Pinto’s body of work didn’t really stand out from the rest of his dominant season, Jacob Bernard-Docker had a fantastic two games against Omaha. The 26th pick of the 2018 NHL Draft posted one goal and three assists while firing five shots on goal and earning the nod as the NCHC’s Defensemen of the Week. Here, his point shot is able to find its way into the back of the net, but there’s a chance it's blocked without that subtle fake shot beforehand.
If you’re a defensemen playing with Brady Tkachuk, you need to be able to get pucks through from the point; Brady will do the rest from there.
Two more goals for the K-Train! Kleven has now scored at a pace of one in every three games with UND. Omaha goaltender Isaiah Saville looks to be in position for this particular shot, but the puck just seems to say “no” to his glove.
North Dakota’s defense, half of which is composed of Senators prospects on most nights, has been an absolute rock, allowing 24.5 shots per game. Kleven, JBD, and Jake Sanderson have all been a massive part of that, which bodes well for their future, as well as that of the Senators.
A new challenger has appeared! Gustavsson stopped 25 of 26 in his lone game with Belleville last Tuesday, leading them to a 4-1 win over Laval. Here’s a nice stop on a backhand attempt by Rafael Harvey-Pinard:
Filip Gustavsson has kept this game close. Really impressed with his movement. pic.twitter.com/47rtbs5C1P— Everyday.Sens (@EverydaySens) February 17, 2021
Senators’ netminders playing in North America have had a really rough go as of late, so this performance by Gustavsson is a breath of fresh air. Remember, we only need one of these young goaltenders to pan out, and the young Swede could very well keep this going and run with the B-Sens’ starting job.
- A handful of young Senators earned their first professional point with Belleville this week. Egor Sokolov, Cole Reinhardt, Lassi Thomson, Mark Kastelic, and Ridly Greig all found the scoresheet against Laval. Greig in particular has been solid, with two assists in his first four games, as an 18-year-old.
- Gus wasn’t the only goaltender to stand out this week. Leevi Meriläinen, Trent Mann’s latest out-of-nowhere draft pick, also stopped 25 of 26 shots in a 4-1 victory, with Karpat’s U20 team. He’s boasting a .928 save percentage through 19 games.
- Roby Järventie just missed out this week, scoring two goals in three games with Ilves, including this highlight-reel end-to-end rush:/
just look at itpic.twitter.com/a00hgcuvja— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) February 17, 2021
- A quick look at the NHL sees Josh Norris and Tim Stützle with two points each. Erik Brännström chipped in with an assist as well. /
Pro (NHL, AHL)
|Jakov Novak||LW/C||22||Bentley Univ.||2||0||0||0||0||5||0%|||||14||6||7||13||36||36||17%|
|Todd Burgess||C/RW||24||Minnesota State Univ.||2||0||2||2||0||3||0%|||||17||4||8||12||4||35||11%|
|Luke Loheit||RW||20||Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth||1||0||0||0||0||0||0%|||||22||3||2||5||29||19||16%|
|Angus Crookshank||LW||21||Univ. of New Hampshire||2||1||2||3||0||8||13%|||||18||9||8||17||2||75||12%|
|Shane Pinto||C||20||Univ. of North Dakota||2||1||1||2||0||7||14%|||||22||15||13||28||2||69||22%|
|Jacob Bernard-Docker||RD||20||Univ. of North Dakota||2||1||3||4||0||5||20%|||||22||2||11||13||16||48||4%|
|Jake Sanderson||LD||18||Univ. of North Dakota||2||0||3||3||0||5||0%|||||15||1||8||9||4||30||3%|
|Tyler Kleven||LD||19||Univ. of North Dakota||2||2||0||2||0||3||67%|||||15||5||1||6||23||21||24%|
|Jonny Tychonick||LD||20||Univ. of Omaha||2||0||0||0||4||2||0%|||||19||3||5||8||12||20||15%|
|Viktor Lodin||C/LW||21||Timrå IK||Allsvenskan||1||0||0||0||0||2||0%|||||38||8||17||25||18||56||14%|
|Filip Gustavsson||22||Belleville Senators||AHL||1||1||0||0||0||26||1||96.2%|||||1||1||0||0||0||26||1||96.2%|
|Kevin Mandolese||20||Belleville Senators||AHL||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-%|||||1||0||1||0||0||41||5||87.8%|
|Mads Søgaard||20||Esbjerg||Metal Ligaen||-||-||-||-||-||-||.||-%|||||13||-||-||-||-||391||26||93.4%|
|Joey Daccord||24||Belleville Senators||AHL||1||0||1||0||0||39||5||87.2%|||||2||0||2||0||0||75||10||86.7%|
|Leevi Meriläinen||18||Kärpät U20||U20 SM-sarja||1||1||0||0||0||26||25||96.2|||||19||-||-||-||-||-||-||92.80%|