The Top 9 Prospects For The Ottawa Senators This Season
The Ottawa Senators haven’t reached the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2017. However, the team’s new ownership has fans optimistic that on-ice success will come soon.
A top-line centre in Tim Stutzle, a versatile second-line centre in Josh Norris and an effective two-way centre in Shane Pinto gives Ottawa a solid group of centres to choose from this season. But who gets the nod?
1. Chris Phillips
Phillips played his entire career with the Senators, appearing in 1,179 games. His best season was in 2003-04, when he scored seven goals and 23 points for the team. Phillips also had a memorable playoff goal, as he scored the game-winning goal in overtime of the fourth game of the first round series against the Maple Leafs, which the Senators lost in seven games.
After his playing career ended, he went into the business world and is now an investor. He still comes to games in the city and is always well-received.
I think it’s fair to say that Cody Ceci has earned the number 5 spot based on his history with the team. He is the longest serving player in franchise history, and he is one of the most popular players in the city.
2. Antoine Vermette
In his short time with the Senators, Antoine Vermette was the leader of one of their best eras. Alongside centre Daniel Alfredsson and right winger Dany Heatley, the trio was responsible for leading the team to its first playoff appearance.
Vermette wore number 20 for the Sens and played in 359 games before being traded to Columbus in 2008. He’s still considered by many to be a Senators legend.
Brady Tkachuk scored two goals in Ottawa’s 5-2 win over the Lightning on Sunday night. Joonas Korpisalo turned aside 19 shots in his regular season debut.
3. Vitali Abramov
A Russian winger, Vitali Abramov is a game breaking talent who made a huge impression when he crossed over to NA ice this season. Abramov is an undersized but super-skilled player that processes the game very well. He makes great decisions with the puck and has an uncanny ability to unlock scoring plays.
He scored 93 points in the QMJHL as a rookie and had the best PTS/GP rate of any first year eligible. If he continues to progress like this, Abramov will challenge for a roster spot in training camp next year. This is a huge signing for the Sens and could be a real spark plug for their offence if everything clicks.
4. Wade Redden
Originally drafted second overall by the New York Islanders in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, Redden was traded to the Senators with Damian Rhodes and Martin Straka for Don Beaupre and Bryan Berard on January 23, 1996. The Lloydminster, Saskatchewan native played eight seasons with the team, totaling 109 goals and 348 assists in 1,023 games.
Having shared a number of defensive partners with the Senators, including Chris Phillips, Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Neil, Redden was able to form strong bonds with the group. The trio remain friends to this day, celebrating births and deaths and sharing stories of success and failure when reunited.
5. Matt Duchene
When Matt Duchene came to Ottawa, he was expected to be the franchise’s next great defenseman. The 15th overall pick in 2008 was considered too slight to be an effective NHL defender, but Duchene proved his critics wrong and became a near point-per-game player on the blue line.
He wore number 65 in junior, but was given 76 when he arrived in the NHL. Thankfully, the number fit him perfectly as he broke out with a 55-point season. The Senators have high hopes for him this year as he joins Jakob Chychrun and Erik Karlsson on the defence.
6. Chris Wideman
With Norris potentially starting the year on LTIR and Pinto seemingly late to the party, Ottawa’s second- and third-line centres are suddenly a lot more crowded than expected. This could provide an opportunity for depth centre prospects like Ridly Greig and Rourke Chartier.
Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj and Jordan Harris all competed for playing time last season, with Xhekaj, in particular, displaying an ability to play a responsible two-way game. He will likely get some NHL opportunities this season.