Junior prospect pool for Ottawa Senators highlighted by high-end OHL talent

By Riley Forsythe

Cody Ceci - Ottawa Senators

Photo: Offensive Defenseman Cody Ceci is one of several talented players the Ottawa Senators have at the OHL level. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

The Ottawa Senators have nine prospects presently at the junior level led by former first round picks Cody Ceci, Stefan Noesen, and Matt Puempel. The organization addressed its weak goaltending depth in the 2012 entry draft by selecting Chris Driedger of the WHL and Francois Brassard of the QMJHL, both of whom are having strong seasons. The lone junior prospect Ottawa has outside of Canadain major junior is Robbie Baillargeon of the USHL.


Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa 67's
Acquired: 1st round (15th overall) in 2012

The Ottawa Senators were thrilled when Ceci was still available at the 15th spot overall in the 2012 NHL draft. He is the Senators' top defensive prospect and is co-captain of the Ottawa 67's. He recently played with the OHL squad in the 2012 Subway Super Series against Russia's top talent and is currently second in the OHL for scoring by defensemen with seven goals and 21 assists through 27 games. Ceci is on pace to match his point totals from 2011-12 and he will continue to work on all facets of his game this season before he goes  pro next year. He projects as an top four defenseman capable of contributing on both special teams and producing a fair amount of offense from the back-end. 

Stefan Noesen, RW, Plymouth Whalers
Acquired: 1st round (21st overall) in 2011

Stefan Noesen is a skilled power forward and alternate captain of the Plymouth Whalers. Although Noesen has been no slouch early this season, his impressive post-season campaign of 2011-12 has left many people wanting more from him on a routine basis. Over his first 21 games played this season he has netted 14 goals, of which five were power play goals, and added eight assists. Noesen is eligible to be recalled by the Senators this season if the lockout is lifted. However, if that does not happen he will join the pro ranks next season.

Matt Puempel, LW, Kitchener Rangers
Acquired: 1st round (24th overall) in 2011

Matt Puempel was drafted as one of the best pure goals scorers of the 2011 NHL draft. So far he has had no trouble living up to that claim and has taken his uncanny scoring ability to a new level this season. In 25 games so far, he has scored 21 times and added seven assists. A former member of the Peterborough Petes, he was traded in the off-season to the Kitchener Rangers and named an alternate captain. Puempel also took part in the 2012 Subway Super Series as a member of the OHL team and came away with one assist for his two game effort. He is also going to be entering pro hockey in 2013-14.

Jarrod Maidens, C, Owen Sound Attack
Acquired: 3rd round (82nd overall) in 2012

Maidens has not played since suffering a concussion related injury in 2011-12, which is why he slipped to the third round of the NHL draft. It is not known at this point if he is going to back on the ice any time soon. If he can get healthy and return to his former playing level, he has the talent to be considered a solid prospect. It is too early to tell if this risky selection will pan out for the Senators.


Chris Driedger, G, Calgary Hitmen
Acquired: 3rd round (76th overall) in 2012

Chris Driedger's play and confidence have been progressing steadily. The Calgary Hitmen currently sit atop their division standings thanks, in large part, to the strong play of Chris Driedger. Driedger has played 19 games so far this season and has a record of 14-3-1-1. His goals against average of 2.24 and save percentage of .923 make Driedger one of the top goaltenders of the WHL.

Jordan Fransoo, D, Victoria Royals
Acquired: 7th round (186th overall) in 2011

With most seventh round draft selections it is usually a shot in the dark as to whether or not they will have a future in the NHL. There is still much uncertainty about Jordan Fransoo's potential, but he will be given the next year or two to develop further. So far in 2012-13, the defensive defenseman has two goals and six assists over 20 games. Fransoo projects as a stay-at-home style of defenseman who possesses good size and is not afraid to drop the gloves.


Jakub Culek, LW, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Acquired: 3rd round (76th overall) in 2010

Culek attended Binghamton's training camp at the beginning of the season, but was ultimately sent back to his junior club Rimouski Oceanic. In Rimouski, Culek could not find his way onto the lineup due to the fact that the Oceanic already had the limits for 20-year olds and foreign-born players. As could be expected, Culek had been eager to get playing and he was recently traded to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. He played his first game of the season on November 14th and scored his first goal on November 16th. Through six games he has four goals and two assists.

Francois Brassard, G, Quebec Remparts
Acquired: 6th round (166th overall) in 2012

Brassard has started the season off well and is looking like a solid pick-up from the sixth round of the NHL draft. He was one of the two QMJHL goaltenders to play in the Subway Super Series and has maintained solid numbers with the division leading Quebec Remparts. He has played 20 games and has a record of 14-5-1. With a goals against average of 2.56 and a .905 save percentage, Brassard is on pace to beat his totals from 2011-12.


Robbie Baillargeon, C, Indiana Ice
Acquired: 5th round (136th overall) in 2012

This alternate captain has put up modest numbers to start the 2012-13 season, with five goals and eight assists through 20 games. A long-term project, Baillargeon projects as an agitating, two-way forward capable of contributing a fair amount of offense. He has committed to Boston University for the 2013-14 season.