After being passed over in his last two years of draft eligibility, Calgary Hitmen captain Mark Kastelic finally heard his name called as the Sens made him their choice with the first selection of the 5th round.
Kastelic led the Hitmen in scoring with 77 points in 66 games — a 32 point improvement from last season — and his 47 goals ranked third in the WHL. According to prospect-stats.com, he was one of just 16 WHL forwards to finish above 1.00 primary points per game, with only 10 secondary assists all year.
His determination to continue improving his game, and leadership abilities on and off the ice are what makes coach Steve Hamilton a huge fan of the Arizona-born forward:
“The line I use is Mark is the gold standard when it comes to how he prepares himself, how he prepares his body, what he does off the ice in terms of all the extras,” Hamilton praised. “He is the gold standard in the sense that he is the measuring stick from which everybody else can judge themselves because there is not a player in our dressing room that wouldn’t tell you that Mark does everything he possibly can to give himself an advantage or an edge. He takes a ton of pride in that. I wouldn’t say that’s rare, but it’s super valuable. You just see that he kind of leads the charge. He is a huge tone-setter for our team off the ice, in the way he does his business. For an amateur player, it’s a very professional approach.
This is the team’s second straight overager in the 2019 Draft, and the team has had mixed success in the last four years with taking players who aren’t first-time draft eligibles. Drake Batherson and Christian Wolanin are successes, while Todd Burgess and Jakov Novak don’t appear to be anything special. Kastelic is already 20-years-old, and will likely be receiving an entry-level contract from the Sens at some point this offseason so he can play with Belleville or Brampton (ECHL).
The Sens could’ve opted to sign Kastelic as a free-agent, like they did with Aaron Luchuk two seasons ago, but may have thought that another team may take a flyer on Kastelic with a 5th or 6th round pick. Three of Colin’s 60 sources ranked Kastelic between 104 and 184 overall.