Ottawa Senators Prospect Update: Kevin Mandolese’s Breakout Week

Josh Norris, Johnny Gruden and Kevin Mandolese are this week’s biggest standouts.

Welcome back to this week’s prospect update! It was a big week for many prospects in the Sens’ system, especially in Belleville. But you know the drill, let’s jump right in!

Biggest Standouts

Josh Norris

No prospect on the Sens is hotter right now than Josh Norris. Currently on an eight-game point streak, he picked up an impressive five goals in his three games this week. Among AHL rookies, he leads in both goals and points, and is second second in shots on goal. He’s taken Belleville’s 1C position and run with it since the beginning of the season, and with his regular linemates now in Ottawa, it’s an even greater sign that he’s still dominating.

For a player who was questionable to even turn pro this year after his major injury setback, Norris’ success has surpassed any expectations placed on him in September.

Johnny Gruden

Being cut from Team USA at the World Juniors camp doesn’t seem to have slowed down Johnny Gruden in the slightest. With Connor McMichael playing for team Canada, his time on ice was bumped up slightly, and he used it to pot three goals and two assists in three games. Like Norris, his streak is now up to eight games, with six goals and six assists in that span.

Unless something drastic happens, it seems like Gruden is on pace to win this year’s Most Improved Prospect award for the Sens. He’s only a couple points away from tripling his output in the NCAA last year, and even though there’s many conflating factors which are helping boost it, he has a confidence to his game that was completely invisible last season.

Kevin Mandolese

The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles are on a five-game winning streak. Their offence has been lighting up opposing teams, but Kevin Mandolese has also been a massive part of their success, with two of his three games this week being shutouts. The 19-year-old, 6’4” goalie has now elevated his season save percentage to 91.9%, the second highest in the QMJHL, and earning him the honours of QMJHL goalie of the month for December.

Given the depth of the Sens’ goalie pipeline, I placed low odds of Mandolese being signed at the beginning of the season, given his previous three seasons saw him post a save percentage below 90%. Now that he’s flourished into a QMJHL starting goalie, he’s showing how his game has improved. The Eagles acquired overager Tyler Hinam last week, so while they may not be at the top of the league, they’re making a push for a long playoff run.

Silver Linings

  • Final tally at the World Juniors: Shane Pinto led the Sens prospects with seven points (4G, 3A) in five games, Lassi Thomson had three assists in seven games and played a team-leading 17:11 minutes per game, and Jacob Bernard-Docker picked up one goal in seven games en route to a gold medal.
  • Drake Batherson and Rudolfs Balcers were both called up to Ottawa this week, after Anthony Duclair was out with a short injury. Now that Duclair’s back, however, neither have been sent down, which is a good sign that they could be sticking around after proving they’re too good for the AHL.
  • Balcers was getting some much-deserved love from some Latvian fans in Ottawa.
  • In the AHL, Vitaly Abramov is currently out for an undisclosed amount of time with a broken finger. This team doesn’t stop with its damaged hands, apparently.
  • Norris wasn’t the only player with big contributions this week in Belleville, with Alex Formenton, Filip Chlapik, Logan Brown and Erik Brannstrom all scoring at least a point per game.
  • Angus Crookshank’s lone goal this week was nine seconds into the game, the fastest in recorded history for the University of New Hampshire.
  • Olle Alsing was named one of the five finalists for the MVP award in the Champions Hockey League. The defenceman was second in tournament scoring, with three goals and 12 assists in 11 games. You can vote for him here./

Weekly Stats


Alex FormentonLW20AHL3011460%|432113344210819%
Drake BathersonRW21AHL31340813%|371432462411912%
Jonathan DavidssonRW22AHL------0%|1823561911%
Josh NorrisC20AHL1000000%|422218401212118%
Max VeronneauRW24AHL-------|33551023017%
Michael CarconeLW23AHL31012425%|4110919379211%
Morgan KlimchukLW24AHL32130450%|341071785020%
Parker KellyC/RW20AHL31012425%|397411104316%
Rudolfs BalcersLW22AHL32022633%|23101727105020%
Vitaly AbramovRW/LW21AHL3000040%|33151328188617%
Andreas EnglundLD24AHL3000510%|1700024160%
Christian JarosRD23AHL3011030%|27111124333%
Maxime LajoieLD22AHL2011030%|3221922504%
Filip ChlapikC22NHL1000010%|2423510229%
Jean-Christophe BeaudinC/RW22NHL-------|220117180%
Logan BrownC21NHL-------|231784234%
Erik BrännströmLD20NHL-------|3104416380%

Canadian Hockey League

Johnny GrudenLW19London KnightsOHL341501429%|442128492111219%
Maxence GuénetteRD18Val-d'Or ForeursQMJHL3022420%|4582230201008%
Mark KastelicC20Calgary HitmenWHL22352825%|392322455914316%


Angus CrookshankLW20Univ. of New Hampshire2000260%|2412416129313%
Chris WilkieRW23Colorado College20000190%|22178251312214%
Jakov NovakLW/C21Bentley Univ.2033250%|26141226397519%
Luke LoheitRW19Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth2101030%|2331461817%
Shane PintoC19Univ. of North Dakota2022210%|2311920276118%
Todd BurgessC/RW23RPI1000210%|2242614488%
Jacob Bernard-DockerRD19Univ. of North Dakota2000040%|22313168398%
Jonny TychonickLD19Univ. of North Dakota1101020%|18461061040%

European Leagues

Markus NurmiRW/LW21TPSLiiga31122520%|4391120229110%
Lassi ThomsonRD19IlvesLiiga2000060%|2764108907%
Viktor LodinC/LW20Örebro HKSHL-------|220442200%
HC Vita HästenAllsvenskan-------|1032522612%
Olle AlsingLD23Djurgårdens IFSHL2000010%|364162020557%


Filip Gustavsson21Belleville SenatorsAHL1128292.9%|18115205195589.4%
Joey Daccord23Belleville SenatorsAHL21161493.4%|1393214343691.7%
Brampton BeastECHL--------|1275003423490.1%
Marcus Högberg25Belleville SenatorsAHL--------|1576004084289.7%
Ottawa SenatorsNHL1153394.3%|1222523773391.2%
Kevin Mandolese19Cape Breton EaglesQMJHL-------#VALUE!|26176107265792.1%
Mads Søgaard19Medicine Hat TigersWHL21127485.2%|281510117447589.9%

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