A look at the Ottawa Senators top 10 prospects heading into the 2015-16 season.
The Senators have one of the weakest prospect lists in the NHL. Not because they are poor at drafting and developing, rather they simply have a number of players on the NHL roster who have recently graduated. Mika Zibanejad, Mark Stone, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Curtis Lazar and Cody Ceci are all players you won’t find on this list because they are all on the Senators roster. But after a solid 2015 draft they are well on their way to restocking the cupboard.
1. Nick Paul: Centre – 6’2” /202 lbs
Drafted: 101st overall in the fourth round of the 2013 draft by the Dallas Stars
Acquired: Trade with Dallas in 2014
A power winger, Paul has a long and powerful skating stride. While his speed is just average, it is the power and balance that will be his biggest assets as he goes forward. Paul can fight through checks, and protects the puck extremely well down low, due to his size and skating ability. He wins battles along the boards, and is difficult to move from the front of the net, due to that strength and balance. His agility and edgework are also decent. – Last Word on Sports
2. Thomas Chabot: Defence – 6’2” / 180 lbs
Drafted: 18th overall in the first round of the 2015 draft by the Ottawa Senators.
A strong passer who delivers pucks with good timing and accuracy…has the ability to read the play and pick-and-choose his spots…has a powerful stride that generates power but could improve the overall quickness in his feet…willing to join the offensive attack…handles the puck well…not a big point shot but gets it on net consistently…reads the play well in his own zone and defensively he has the size and reach to close off lanes…good transition defender that moves the puck up ice. – Future Considerations
3. Matt Puempel: Left Wing – 6’1” / 205 lbs
Drafted: 24th overall in the first round of the 2011 draft by Ottawa
Puempel is a pure sniper. He has a tremendous wrist shot and very quick and deceptive release. He also has a powerful and accurate one-timer. Puempel’s shooting ability is NHL ready, and is the envy of some players already playing in the league. He also has the quick and soft hands to bury pucks on rebounds and tip ins. In junior he showed flashes of great vision and passing ability, and the ability to add a playmaking option to his game, but he seems to have developed a bit of “shooting tunnel vision” in his first AHL season. He corrected that in 2014-15, picking up 20 sassists in 51 games. Puempel has a smooth skating stride which leads to him having great top end speed, and acceleration. He is extremely dangerous off the rush, with his ability to drive wide and to the net. Good puck protection, and solid stickhandling aid him in this area as well. Puempel also brings good balance, and is agile, and has strong edgework. – Last Word on Sports
4. Colin White: Centre – 6’0” / 183 lbs
Drafted: 21st overall in the first round of the 2015 draft by Ottawa
White (6-foot, 183) has a defensive game not commonly found in players so young. The 18-year-old can win board battles and knows about body positioning and playing angles. He also knows how to use his stick to make himself more of a defensive presence.
He also has offense skills, particularly vision and stickhandling. But it’s the two-way combination that makes White an interesting prospect. Senators U.S. college scout Lewis Mongelluzzo said White could be a Selke Trophy contender. – NHL.com
5. Shane Prince: Left Wing – 5’11” / 190 lbs
Drafted: 61st overall in the second round of the 2011 draft by Ottawa
Prince took a step forward in his third AHL season, finishing sixth in league scoring, and second among players 24 and under. The downside to his prospect stick is the feeling that, if he does not make it in a top six role, he lacks the strength and physicality to play a bottom six role. In a league that is moving farther and farther away from goonery, that mindset needs to be put to rest. – Hockey Prospectus
6. Chris Wideman: Defence – 5’10” / 180 lbs
Drafted: 100th overall in the fourth round of the 2009 draft by Ottawa
He was an all-star defenceman in the (AHL), he’s a skilled, smaller-type defenceman that brings offence and quickness. He’s a real compliment to getting the puck of their own end and helps the forwards a great deal in creating offence from the blueline, – Sens GM Bryan Murray, Ottawa Sun
7. Tobias Lindberg: Left Wing – 6’2” / 201 lbs
Drafted: 102nd overall in the fourth round of the 2013 draft by Ottawa
Lindberg acclimated immediately to the North American game, playing a critical role for the Memorial Cup winning Oshawa Generals, finishing third in team scoring and demonstrating tantalizing offensive instincts. The question with him is whether his east-west style will translate to the pros. – Hockey Prospectus
8. Matt O’Connor: Goalie – 6’5” / 186 lbs
Acquired: Signed as a free agent in 2015
O’Connor has excellent size, and uses its extremely well. He gets out of the crease and cuts down the angle, giving shooters very little to look at. O’Connor has very good lateral movement and tracks the puck well, cutting down a lot of cross-ice plays in the zone. He also has very quick legs, and a tight, efficient butterfly style. He’s so big there is little room upstairs even when he goes down. He could stand to work on his rebound control going forward to the pro ranks, but even then, he is more advanced than most college goalies. – Last Word on Sports
9. Mikael Wikstrand: Defence – 6’1” / 185 lbs
Drafted: 196th overall in the 2012 draft by Ottawa
Offensive guy who can skate and play an all-around game. Has a good chance to play on Swedish national team at (2013) world juniors. Solid kid who can move the puck and make plays. Plays with men and has no problem adjusting his game to the next level. Not a (physical) guy. He’s a positional guy who angles people.- Sens European Scout Vaclav Burda, NHL.com
10. Filip Chlapik: centre – 6’3” / 211 lbs
Drafted: 48th overall in the second round of the 2015 draft by Ottawa
Displays good hockey sense and game and all the attributes to continue his developmental climb. Has good touch and strong puck control. Has good playmaking skills and makes good decisions and patience when carrying. Plays song on his skates and has good speed and first step quickness to go around defenders on the rush and then to the net. It is difficult to separate him from the puck. Works hard in his defensive zone and come back for make his defenseman’s outlet pass easier. A good back-checker. He still needs to get better offensively and also develop more lateral agility. – Draftsite.com
Recent Roster Graduations:
Mike Hoffman, Curtis Lazar, J-G Pageau, Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad, Mark Borowiecki, Cody Ceci, Jared Cowen, Patrick Wiercioch.
Players under 25 years old and with less than 25 career NHL games played qualify as a prospect for purpose of this list.
Written by Peter Harling, who can be found on twitter @pharling