Weekly Question: Most Intriguing Newcomer
Which new Senator has caught your eye?
Having now enjoyed six-plus weeks since the NHL entry draft, I hope that as a fanbase we have, for the most part, overcome the initial rush of emotion that accompanies the draft and had plenty of time to develop more informed and balanced opinions of Pierre Dorion’s performance on October 6th and 7th. By this point, you should have moved on from the players that Ottawa didn’t select and begun to look at the internal implications of the Senators’ newest additions (veteran signings notwithstanding because no one really cares about those). Let’s talk Sens prospects, baby!
First and foremost, I, like most of you, would love to take this opportunity to gush over Tim Stützle and his play in Germany. Alas, fortune smiles upon us not and Timmy remains sidelined with an arm injury (dude still has legs though!). So in the absence of number-18, let’s take a look at some other youngsters playing across the pond and in neighbouring Eastern Canada. As Shaan discussed yesterday, we have plenty to keep us intrigued, and I want to hear some feedback from you, dearest content-consumers. Now, obviously, a healthy Stützle would dominate this conversation so let’s make the most of this time to focus on the rest of the bunch. Of these four future-Senators, who has caught your eye the most? And I should clarify, I don’t want to hear which is best. It’s no secret that Roby has really stolen the spotlight since Timmy went on the injured reserve and I want to keep pedigree in mind for this exercise. Try to keep draft slot, expectations, and performance all in mind here. Let’s dive in:
- Leevi Meriläinen was drafted 71st overall (3rd round with the Dylan DeMelo pick from Winnipeg), and gets my personal vote just because he remains such a goddamn mystery. Goalies already have this mystique about them, especially before they develop into professionals, and I might consider Leevi Ottawa’s most clandestine prospect. We have virtually no literature on the young netminder and only so much data to work with. With that said, he has recorded a solid save percentage of 92.8 through nine games with Kärpät’s U20 team and recently got a call-up from Kärpät Liiga (although he has only backed up thus far). Kärpät has a game against HIFK today so we can keep an eye on that even if it remains a very long-shot to see Ottawa’s youngest goaltending prospect make his Liiga debut. If nothing else, it seems pretty cool for an 18-year-old netminder to get a big-league call-up.
- Roby Järventie relative to the other players on this list really needs no introduction. Ottawa selected him with the 33rd overall pick (their own 2nd-rounder) and what started out as modest hype has really bloomed into Roby-Mania in the nation’s capital. With a healthy 5 goals and six assists (good for 11 points in thirteen games with Ilves), the eyes of most Sens fans have pivoted to Finland in the absence of most North American hockey leagues. The Lynx have a game against Sport today and Roby has a chance to get back on his point-per-game pace. While the athletic recently did a write-up on Roby, I won’t link it because of the athletic’s paywall. Here’s a cool interview with Le Droit for those of you wanting to hone your francophone skills (or google translate).
- Eric Engstrand has so far vied for the title of least-hyped newcomer with his selection at 155th overall (that weird 5th-round pick in the Condon-Callahan trade that saw Ottawa move up exactly two spots). To me this pick looked like Viktor Lodin 2.0 but I may have spoken too soon. Spencer dug up some interesting stats on Engstrand:/
While he ranks 20th in TOI, he's 2nd in SOG/60 - making the most of his ice time. He's also 2nd on the team in GF% (62.5%). It'll be interesting to see if Engstrand can become at least a more regular B6 contributor for Mälmo as he's currently most often the 13F.— Spencer Blake (@spencerdjblake) November 2, 2020
So, yeah, Engstrand likes to shoot the puck. And the Redhawks currently sit dead last in the SHL standings with fellow 2020 NHL-draftee Helge Grans the only other household name on the squad. Engstrand will still have a long, uphill climb to the NHL but I have to wonder how different things would seem if he still played for stacked Frölunda instead. The Redhawks have a game against Brynäs today and we’ll see if Eric can add to his meagre total of one goal and no assists through 11 games.
- Philippe Daoust stood out to me among Ottawa’s three late-round picks because he, unlike Engstrand and Cole Reinhardt, came into the draft at 18-years of age. Selected by Ottawa at 158th overall (the Sharks’ 6th-rounder acquired for Mike Hoffman), Daoust meets more of the criteria of a late-round selection coming off his rookie season in the QMJHL on an average team with some offensive upside and a lot of room to develop. Daoust did not get onto the score sheet last night in a 9-4 loss to Saint John and will look to redeem himself against Acadie-Bathurst today and re-capture his point-per-game pace as he currently has four goals and seven assists through 12 games. For those unfamiliar, please get to know Ottawa’s next hail-mary prospect out of the Q:/
Small highlight pack featuring #Sens prospect Philippe Daoust. Scoring 2 goals and adding an assist. Daoust now has 10pts ( 4G+6A ) in 9 games on the season.@SensProspects pic.twitter.com/tbjqU9AHWS— MTLSens (@MaxTheLimitinfo) November 7, 2020
Under different circumstances, we may have as many as ten new prospects to track right now. Alas, 2020 gonna 2020 so we enjoy these four in the meantime. I encourage everyone to do your own homework on the newest kids while we await Stützle’s return to health and the eventual resumption of the other North American leagues. For now, from the group that we have available, which new prospect has intrigued you most?
Which new Senator has intrigued you most?