Given the scene in Ottawa right now I really wish I had more to offer you in the way of breakout prospects and diamonds in the rough but instead you get the same pretty okay names you've heard every week this year plus one pleasant surprise courtesy of our new favourite Czech defender. Without further ado please enjoy your Ottawa Senators Prospect Team of the Week:
Full credit to Owen Beckner for finding his way onto the list for the second time in his first year in the Senators system. Granted, I didn't have a lot of forwards to pick from this week but don't let that detract from the fact that Beckner scored in his only game this week and apparently no one else representing the Sens organization seems to inclined to score goals these days. As a seventh-rounder, if Beckner amounts to absolutely anything then chalk it up as a small victory.
When I said you would mostly only get to read about the same players as every other week you probably knew that would include Stephen Halliday. And rightfully so! Halliday had one of his biggest weeks yet with Ohio State scoring twice and adding two assists in two games. Going about a point-per-game and averaging almost three shots per game to date, I have to think Halliday will earn a handful of most valuable prospect votes this spring--not bad for a fourth-rounder!
Completing our trio of forwards who took the US road of development to professional hockey, Angus Crookshank represented a rare bright spot for a Belleville team that went winless over the weekend with a goal and an assist. At this point, the title of most valuable BSens forward has become Crookshank's to lose. Egor Sokolov and Roby Järventie among others have played perfectly decently in Belleville but so far Crookshank has set himself apart from his peers with his consistency for a team trying to gain some sort of traction.
On the subject of the BSens and their top performers to date, I had to specify Crookshank contending for most valuable forward because Maxence Guenette could just as easily take the title of most valuable Belleville skater. The BSens still have some solid options on the blueline in the form of Tyler Kleven and Lassi Thomson (with Jacob Bernard-Docker in Ottawa) but Guenette has thrived while those two have merely existed. I've said it before but you kind of have to laugh at this point as Ottawa's seventh-round pick from the 2019 draft looks poised to overtake the role of the guy taken by the Sens first in that class. Guenette scored his second goal of the season this past week and still hasn't taken a minor penalty this year.
Who says you can't justify change for the sake of change? Just look at Tomas Hamara since he left Kitchener. After over a year of languishing with the Rangers, Hamara seems to have immediately flipped the switch playing with Jorian Donovan and the Bulldogs. Maybe sometimes you really do just need to stir up the pot and see what happens. I couldn't tell you the last time a defender in the Sens system outscored Donovan on a given week but Hamara had an impressive goal and two assists while averaging three shots per game.
Colour me rather surprised to include a goalie other than Mads Søgaard or Leevi Meriläinen in this feature but as Ottawa's two better-known European netminders have succumbed to the scuffling in Belleville, one of Ottawa's lesser-known European goalies, Kevin Reidler, won his lone game this past week while allowing just two goals on 35 shots. After an abysmal fall last year, Reidler flipped a switch around this time in 2022 and hasn't looked back since. Even with a couple more obvious choices ahead of him in the depth chart, I really like Reidler's long-term potential.
After last night's 5-0 beat down by the Panthers, I wish I had more positive news to share with you regarding the Belleville Senators to brighten up your day. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Over a weekend road trip, Belleville lost both games against Hartford and Bridgeport, securing just one of four points on the weekend. These two losses now bring them to a five game losing streak. This time two weeks ago, the BSens were just a few wins away from the top of the North Division. Today, they're tied for last and trail the top seeded Cleveland Monsters by 11 points.
On the week, there were a few bright spots like Orrin Centazzo scoring his first as a Senator, Angus Crookshank adding a goal and an assist to his season totals and Jarid Lukosevicius potting a pair in Belleville's 4-2 loss to Bridgeport.
Kevin Mandolese and Leevi Meriläinen recorded one start each, with both goaltenders clearing the .900 SV% mark despite the pair of losses. So, some good things happened. But, overall, the ripple of negativity and losing has extended beyond Ottawa in the Senators organization.
Roby Järventie was reassigned to Belleville this week, which will be welcomed news for the club who needs his creativity and scoring. The BSens head to Utica for a date with the Comets on Wednesday before hosting the Rochester Americans at CAA Arena for a back-to-back over the weekend.
It was said last week and will be said again today, this team desperately needs to get back into the win column to get back into the playoff picture before it's too late.