Welcome to the August 2023 edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series. This month, we are diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers, and top-20 prospects.
Last season, Ottawa finished six points out of the playoffs with a record of 39-35-8, which was good for 86 points and an improvement from the year before when the Senators were 33-42-7 and had 72 points. The slight improvement came at the cost of the Senator’s picks in the first three rounds of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. Ottawa didn’t have a pick until the 108th overall pick in the 4th round when they chose Hoyt Stanley, a defenseman from the BCHL destined for Cornell University.
Jarventie will be entering into his third pro season in North America after an injury-plagued 2022-23 where he played just 40 games for Belleville but did post 16 goals and 14 assists. If he can remain healthy, he should see a cup of coffee in Ottawa if they need an influx into their top-six or on the power play. He is signed for two more years.
Reinhardt’s 2022-23 campaign saw him play 66 games in Belleville and put up 11 goals and 23 assists. He will be an RFA after 2023-24 and will need to show some progression in his production to warrant an offer from Ottawa. He could still see some games in Ottawa as he brings some energy and grit most nights.
Kastelic ended up playing 65 games with the Senators and produced seven goals, four assists, 102 PIM, and 154 hits. He was very good in the faceoff circle going 56.9 percent. It looks like the fourth-line center role is his to lose in 2023-24.
Kelly is now up to 97 NHL games after playing in 55 games with a goal, three assists and 172 hits. His production took a hit, but his energy and determination kept him in the lineup most nights and in the NHL for the whole season. He will need to win his spot in training camp as there are a few players who might be ready to supplant him.
Crookshank missed all of 2021-22 with an ACL injury but played 71 games for Belleville in 2022-23 and had an impressive 26 goals and 21 assists on 188 shots on goal. He doesn’t require waivers, so should start in the AHL once again.
Sokolov had another audition in the NHL for five games and he was a little more prepared than he was in 2021-22 where he saw eight games. He’s done all he can in the AHL after putting up 134 points in 169 games the past three years. He will require waivers to be sent down in 2023-24 so expect a battle with Kelly for a roster spot. This might be a make-it-or-break-it year for him.
The addition of Jakob Chychrun didn’t help Bernard-Docker in the numbers game on the right side of the defense. He ended up playing 19 games with the Senators and looked much more comfortable than he has had in prior stints. If he becomes a regular in the NHL he might not provide that much offense, but he could be a member of the 100/100 club for hits and blocks.
Thomson and Bernard-Docker have been going back and forth for a few years now, but it appears that Bernard-Docker is ahead of Thomson at this point. Thomson did provide some production in Belleville with 33 points in 56 games but only appeared in two games for Ottawa. Both Thomson and Bernard-Docker require waivers to be sent down, so perhaps their days are numbered there.
Sogaard’s 19 games with the Senators were probably not part of his development plan but born out of necessity with the injuries to Anton Forsberg and Cam Talbot. Sogaard still needs some development at the AHL level.
Greig played 39 games in Belleville and had 15 goals and 14 assists and then finished the year with Ottawa where he played 20 games and had two goals and seven assists. He looked right at home on the third line, but with the return of Josh Norris and his being waiver exempt makes him an ideal candidate to start the year in Belleville.
Daoust had a very good start to his season in the AHL with seven points in nine games, but unfortunately his year was cut short and ended there. He will hope to be healthy and get some games in with Bellevue to make up for his lost year of progression.
Kleven turned pro after his third season at the University of North Dakota. He played eight games with the Senators and had two assists where he looked like he belonged at times. He will need a full year in the AHL but he could climb the ladder over a few other defenders on this list.
After just 21 games with Ottawa in the OHL because of injury, Boucher should be joining Belleville next season. He needs to play 60-70 games and develop, pure and simple, as he hasn’t played much hockey since 2020-21.
Ostapchuk played his last season in the WHL split between the Vancouver Giants and the Winnipeg Ice where he played 55 games and had 31 goals and 36 assists. He should get a full year in the AHL with Belleville but could get some games in Ottawa later in the year if things work out well for him.
Nordberg should get a chance to play in the SHL this year with Vaxjo, but he is still eligible to play for the U20 team as well if he gets in over his head. Expect a combination of games at both levels.
Petterson was a 3rd round pick for Ottawa in the 2022 draft and should play for Rogle BK in the SHL on a regular basis as he saw 29 games there last year where he had just one goal and one assist. The story was a little different with their U20 team as he had 23 goals in 24 games. He had a total of 48 goals in 70 U20 games over the past two seasons.
Halliday played his freshman year at Ohio State University and hit the ground running with nine goals and 32 assists in 40 games which led the team. Ohio State might not be as strong a team in 2023-24, so it could be a test for Halliday to duplicate or progress.
Merilainen had an excellent year with Karpat in Liiga where he played 42 games and had a 91.8 save percentage. He made his way over to North America late in the season and played four games with Belleville and two with Ottawa and showed well. He will look to get 30 or more games in the AHL next season.
Hamara is only 19-years-old still but he had a disappointing first season with Kitchener in the OHL where he played 56 games and ended up with two goals, 15 assists and was a minus 21. The transition to North American hockey didn’t go as smoothly as he would have liked. The good news is that he played fairly well for Czechia at the World Juniors.
Johansson played six games in the SHL with Timra before being loaned to IF Bjorkloven of the Allsvenskan where he played 27 games and had six goals and three assists. He should get another shot with Timra in the SHL this season, but he has been passed by a few other prospects.
Until he can remain healthy for 50 or more games in a season, it is difficult for him to show progression. This year should be a huge test for him in the AHL, but his game might translate at the pro level.
Prospect Depth Chart
The list is a combination of NHL readiness and upside.
Top 20 Fantasy Prospects
This section is intended to paint a picture of the Ottawa Senators prospects whose current trajectory projects them making the most positive fantasy impact at the time that they reach the NHL. The arrival date and NHL certainty have been taken into consideration. However, a player’s potential upside is the most important factor in determining this list.
This concludes our look at the Ottawa Senators organization in 2023. Our previous July-32-in-32 article examined the team’s 2023 draftees, off-season acquisitions, and numerous other topics.
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On this episode: Pat is joined by Ben to discuss prospects in the Central Division who have a chance to make the roster to start, have cups of coffee, or may be up after the trade deadline. This talk is to help fantasy hockey GMs decide on prospects to add, watch or invest in for […]