No. 13: Andreas Englund (Reader rank: 9, last year: 17)
Since being drafted 40th overall in 2014, Andreas Englund has slowly moved his way up the Sens’ organizational depth chart (as well our Top 25 Under 25 list). Unless the Senators dramatically improve their depth on the blue line between now and the start of training camp, it’s not completely inconceivable that the young Swedish defenseman might spend a chunk of the upcoming season in the NHL. Englund did, after all, play five games for the parent club in 2016-17 and has generally been regarded as one of the best defensemen on the AHL squad. You can take these kinds of things for whatever you feel they’re worth, but Englund was named the Hardest Working Player at this year’s Development Camp; the Sens have typically bestowed this honour on a prospect they see as close to taking the next step. The last few winners have been Mark Borowiecki, Curtis Lazar, Nick Paul and Fredrik Claesson.
If Englund is going to progress to a full-time NHL career, though, he’ll need to beat out at least three of Ben Harpur, Chris Wideman, Thomas Chabot, Borowiecki, and Claesson. Chabot is the most highly regarded of the Sens’ prospects but he is also the youngest and probably the most likely to spend the season in Belleville. That leaves us then with five players competing for three spots. If I was betting man, I’d say the final three spots on the Sens’ defense corps will go to Wideman, Claesson and Borowiecki but both Harpur and Englund probably have at least a halfway decent shot of making things interesting.
As for his scouting report, Englund is known as a defensive stalwart capable of stringing together a decent break-out pass or two. Given that he scored a mere 10 points in 69 games for Binghamton last year he’s unlikely to wow anyone offensively, but he’s garnered a reputation for physical play without taking an abundance of penalties. Randy Lee certainly spoke highly of his potential in this regard at the end of development camp:
"We thought he'd have a greater learning curve, transitioning from European ice to North American ice, and he picked it up pretty well," Lee said. "I think he's really comfortable in his role as a shut down, hard to play against D. He likes that, and he's only going to get better."
It’s easy to say that his role wouldn’t be to score even if he did make the NHL, but it’s also difficult to be a good top 4 defenseman without some sort of offensive upside. Thus, I see Englund as a candidate to play on the team’s third pairing in a defensive role. This could be the year he gets a shot to prove what he’s got.
Here’s Englund’s Prospect Profile from last year: