Ottawa Senators Sign Jonathan Gruden to Entry-Level Contract

The forward was the Sens’ 4th round pick in 2018.

The Ottawa Senators have signed forward Jonathan Gruden to an entry-level contract. The 18-year-old forward was drafted by Ottawa in the 4th round of last year’s draft, and will turn pro after playing only his freshman season in the NCAA. His contract starts next year, as the Sens have already reached this season’s contract limit.

Gruden was part of the Senators’ NCAA-heavy draft class of 2018, which featured other prospects such as Jonny Tychonick and Jacob Bernard-Docker. Gruden committed to play for the University of Miami (Ohio), where he scored three goals and twelve assists in 38 games this season, good for seventh on his team. We ranked Gruden at #22 in our annual Top 25 Under 25 List, citing his all-around skillset and statistically great draft season in the USDP as reasons for making the list.

Not to be confused with American football coach Jon Gruden, this Gruden hails from Rochester Hills, Michigan, and has hockey ties with his father John Gruden, who is currently an assistant coach for the New York Islanders.

Gruden’s contract begins next season, with Ottawa already reaching this season’s limit (this is only their 32nd contract in 2019-20). He will almost certainly start his pro career in Belleville, and at such a young age with not much proven yet on the scoresheet, the signing may end up being a little premature. The Sens have done this recently with young players such as Gabriel Gagné and Max Lajoie, although in both cases their first season proved to be very difficult.

The other option is that he moves to the CHL to play with the London Knights, who hold his rights after drafting him in 2016. Let’s hope that Gruden can find his path.

Welcome to Ottawa, Jonathan Gruden!

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