Ottawa Senators Prospect Update - March 12th

Zack Ostapchuk's NHL debut and solid AHL play headlines this week's edition of our Ottawa Senators Prospect Update.

Ottawa Senators Prospect Update - March 12th

The Sens won last night. Yaaaayy...


Stephen Halliday

Another point-per-game week for the 2022 4th-round pick brings Halliday up to 36 points in 37 games. Don't let the apparent stagnation in production fool you – most of the supporting cast from last year's Ohio State squad has either graduated or transferred since then.

Zack Ostapchuk

Last night, Zack Ostapchuk made his NHL debut which saw him play an incredibly solid game. He played so well that Head Coach Jacques Martin even gave him a shift in overtime, where an excellent defensive play helped set up the game winning goal. Before kicking off his NHL career in Ottawa, the rookie centre had a goal and two assists in two games with Belleville.

Egor Sokolov

Alternate Captain Egor Sokolov was a big factor for the BSens this week, scoring a goal in each of Belleville's two games. Although Sokolov's scoring has dropped off from last season, he's been a reliable winger trusted in all situations this year, showing that he's capable of more than just racking up points. It would be nice to see him do both, but the silver lining here is that Sokolov's style of play and effort lends itself well to that of a bottom six winger in the NHL. It's possible that this is an intentional move, focusing on play away from the puck, so Sokolov can attempt to secure a more regular role in Ottawa next year.


Matthew Andonovski

Noted as a key albeit one-dimensional defender on last year's Kitchener Rangers, who pulled off a first-round junior hockey upset and sweep on the Windsor Spitfires, Andonovski has added some offence to his game this season. 2 assists in 3 games this past week bring his total to 31 points in 60 games as a D+1 blueliner.

Theo Wallberg

He had an assist. He's a pretty good prospect. 2022 has a surprisingly high number of them. Despite a mediocre overall season for the Buckeyes as a whole, they're coming off their most important win of the season, a 2-1 victory over the University of Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament, and are taking on Michigan State in the semifinal on Saturday.


Leevi Meriläinen

Leevi Meriläinen made some big saves for the BSens this week, although if you just look at the scoresheet, his .903 SV% doesn't exactly jump off the page. At one point, Meriläinen was playing at a .915+ level pretty consistently but as the team has struggled to stay consistent in front of him, the goaltender has struggled to stay consistent behind. A bit of a chicken and egg situation.

Belleville Update

After a successful six game stretch where Belleville went 5-1-0, the team was unable to secure any points in their two games against Toronto and Utica this week. In both contests, the BSens fell by a score of 3-2 and in both instances, they went into the third period either leading or tied, only to end up with nothing to show for their effort.

It wasn't a bad pair of games for the team. In fact, I'd argue that they played quite well against Utica specifically. Coming out of each game, you can point to special teams and as a factor since Belleville allowed three powerplay goals through eight opportunities while only scoring one of their own despite nine chances themselves.

Outside of Ostapchuk and Sokolov, Josh Currie came alive this week with a pair of points. For Currie, who returned to North America this season for another shot at professional hockey here, it's been an up and down season, although he has eight points in his last 13 games, compared to just 12 points in 33 games before that. If there's a time for Currie to become more of an X Factor, it's right here down the stretch as Belleville eyes a playoff berth.

This time last week, we talked about the North Division starting to see some separation in the playoff picture. Of course, since then, it's tightened back up. Belleville sits fourth, two points out of third but only five points ahead of seventh (last).

Belleville (4th) has two divisional games against Utica (7th) and Syracuse (2nd) and an out of division matchup with Bridgeport coming up this week. The Islanders currently occupy the basement of their division, with 14 fewer points to their record than the BSens. That combined with a rematch with the North's current basement dweller gives Belleville a chance to grab more important points this week.

The question is whether or not they'll take advantage of the situation.


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