Ottawa Senators prospects list flush with surprising additions and improvement

By Kristopher Bras

Photo: Ottawa’s 24th overall pick in 2011, Matt Puempel scored 81 points through 134 career games in the AHL before being called up to the big club in February. (Courtesy of Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Photo: Ottawa’s 24th overall pick in 2011, Matt Puempel scored 81 points through 134 career games in the AHL before being called up to the big club in February. (Courtesy of Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

 

10. (9) Ben Harpur, D, 7.0 C
Drafted 4th round, 108th overall, 2013

At 6’6 and 212 pounds, Ben Harpur is big, scary monster—and the Senators are lucky to have him on their side. Harpur’s defensive play has improved considerably since his draft year, and his 31 points in 2014-15 were double his usual efforts. He was a force in the playoffs for the Barrie Colts, who acquired him from the Guelph Storm at the trade deadline. Harpur is a high risk/high reward player, and if he develops as hoped, will be an imposing NHL defenseman with the speed and offensive instincts to put points on the board.

9. (10) Tobias Lindberg, RW, 7.0 C
Drafted 4th round, 102nd overall, 2013

Lindberg has moved up the depth chart quickly since the Senators drafted him in 2013, and the team has to be happy with how well his introduction to the North American game went last season. After a solid 78 point outing with the Oshawa Generals, the big, slick winger helped the team win the Memorial Cup in May. His team-leading five points in the tournament included the game-winner in the semifinal, and an assist on Anthony Cirelli’s Cup-winning goal in overtime of the final.

There is a spot for Lindberg in Binghamton, but he will have plenty of competition in what will be the most exciting camp in a long time for the AHL Senators.

8. (17) Marcus Hogberg, G, 7.0 C
Drafted 3rd round, 78th overall, 2013

Marcus Hogberg made the bump from SuperElit up to the SHL look easy last season, registering a solid 2.92 goals-against and .914 save percentage with Linkoping. As a result, the thought was that he would join Binghamton this fall to adjust to the North American game. With O’Connor now signed up and likely to get the lion’s share of playing time, Hogberg will remain in the SHL to pull down bigger minutes. Although O’Connor’s potential might have a slightly higher ceiling, Hogberg is currently the safer-bet to become a consistent NHL starter.

7. (6) Shane Prince, LW, 7.0 C
Drafted 2nd round, 61st overall, 2011

Shane Prince has been a steady contributor in Binghamton for three years, and he finished sixth in league scoring in 2014-15. During his two-game call-up with the Senators in February, he definitely showed that he is ready for the next step. He registered an assist in his two games, and did not look out of place due to his speed and passing skills. The former Ottawa 67 is no stranger to the city, and would be a fan favourite if he managed to stick—but he may have to wait until 2016 for his next opportunity.

6. (8) Andreas Englund, D, 7.5 C
Drafted 2nd round, 40th overall

Andreas Englund was Ottawa’s highest pick in 2013, and one day, he could join countryman Erik Karlsson on the team’s top pairing as the defensive stalwart of the duo. He moved up to the SHL this year with Djurgardens, taking a leave of absence in the winter to join Team Sweden at the World Junior Championships, where he was one of the team’s better defenders. Although he will remain in Stockholm this year, he is still the best stay-at-home blueliner in the system.

5. (NR) Filip Chlapik, C, 7.0 B
Drafted 2nd round, 48th overall, 2015

The Senators have pulled off some incredible draft-day heists in their time, and Chlapik could be the steal of this year. Not too flashy, Chlapik plays the kind of two way game that the team coveted in the mid-nineties, when Radek Bonk and Magnus Arvedson were household names in Ottawa.

Although Chlapik does not have the potential to play any higher in the lineup than Lindberg or Paul, his game is already approaching their level—and he is two years younger than both of them. Chlapik scored 75 points (33 goals, 42 points) in 64 games with the QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders in 2014-15, playing on a line with Penguins pick Daniel Sprong.

4. (7) Matt Puempel, LW, 7.0 B
Drafted 1st round, 24th overall, 2011

Puempel is one of many great forwards on the left side of the depth chart, but luckily for him, he is among those that team executives like the most. Although Prince might be more ready for primetime, it was Puempel who had the longer stay with the big club in 2014-15—scoring three points in 13 games before dropping to a high ankle sprain. Although Puempel had not fully recovered from the injury when he showed up to summer development camp, if he is ready for contact in September, the last forward spot in Ottawa will be his to lose.

3. (2) Nick Paul, LW, 7.0 B
Trade with Dallas Stars, July 2014

Nick Paul has grown into a bonafide NHL prospect during his time with the North Bay Battalion (formerly Brampton). After helping Canada to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships, Paul returned to his OHL club to finish out the regular season with 37 goals and 66 points. He then notched a point per game in what was probably his last major junior playoff.

Paul doesn’t have much left to learn in the OHL, so there should be a spot for him in Binghamton this season, where the team hopes he will develop into a solid NHLer. The Senators like their big wingers right now, and they received four of them in return when they sent Jason Spezza and Ludwig Karlsson to the Stars (Paul, Alex Chiasson, Alex Guptill, and the draft pick that turned into Gagne). Paul might turn out to be the best of them.

2. (NR) Colin White, C, 8.0 C
Drafted 1st round, 21st overall, 2015

Colin White is a cerebral two-way centre, with terrific work ethic to match his elite hockey IQ. He chases his man relentlessly when he does not have the puck, and makes creative yet safe plays when he does—something Sens fans will have a special appreciation for after years of behind-the-back Spezza passes.

A product of the U.S National Team Development Program, White competed in the U18 World Junior Championships in 2015, where his 9 points (six goals, three assists) included the gold-medal winning overtime marker versus Finland. This season, he will join Boston College as a freshman, with time off during the holidays for his first appearance at the U20 World Juniors.

1. (NR) Thomas Chabot, D, 8.0 C
Drafted 1st round, 18th overall, 2015

Ottawa’s prized top selection in the 2015 NHL draft, Thomas Chabot is a fast, puck moving defender with top-pairing potential. A member of the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, Chabot moves the puck through the neutral zone with confidence, unafraid of skating the puck up the ice when passing lanes are closed. He is also a deadly presence on the powerplay.

Chabot’s growing offensive prowess saw him improve to 41 points in 2014-15. Most remarkably, he fired 12 pucks into red-light territory—up from the single goal he scored the year previous. The work he put into expanding his defensive game also shows on the stat sheet—his plus-6 rating is vastly superior to his minus-29 in 2013-14.

If Erik Karlsson signs elsewhere when his contract expires in 2019, the Senators now have a backup plan. More likely though, Karlsson and Chabot will together give the team one of the most dangerous bluelines in the NHL.

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