Yesterday was a crazy day filled with significant Senators related news items, so I didn’t have a chance to discuss ESPN Insider‘s Corey Pronman unveiling (note: paywall) his list of the top ten Senators prospects separately until today.
We already know that the recent graduation of prospects like Robin Lehner and Cody Ceci, as well as the Senators trading Stefan Noesen and a 2014 first round pick in the Bobby Ryan deal led to Pronman ranking the Senators as the league’s 23rd best system.
Here is the official breakdown of Ottawa’s top ten prospects – the overall ranking indicates where a prospect was ranked in Pronman’s top 100 drafted NHL prospects:
|1. Curtis Lazar||RW||14|
|2. Mark Stone||RW||48|
|3. Mikael Wikstrand||D|
|4. Matt Puempel||LW|
|5. Miles Gendron||D|
|6. Andreas Englund||D|
|7. Nick Paul||C|
|8. Fredrik Claesson||D|
|9. Quentin Shore||C|
|10. Shane Prince||LW|
To me, there does not seem to be some glaring omission from the list, but I am intrigued by Pronman’s ranking of Miles Gendron, especially since he’s ranked ahead of Andreas Englund, a player who was drafted ahead of him this past June. Gendron has some intriguing physical tools, particularly his skating, but he’s relatively new to his position. While it’s true that this rawness could mean that there’s significant upside to his game, there is also a proportionate risk factor as well.
After cracking Pronman’s top 100 prospects list back in 2012 as the 87th best prospect, Shane Prince has gradually slid to the bottom of these prospect rankings. In his second year in Binghamton, his production did take a jump forward, but to this point, he has yet to earn a call-up to the parent club. Others like Stephane Da Costa, Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Derek Grant and David Dziurzynski have gotten the nod instead. Maybe Prince will get that opportunity this season and with the departure of a few prominent members of the B-Sens, he should be in line for a prominent role in Bingo to start the season.
Interestingly, Alex Guptill, one of two prospects obtained from the Dallas Stars in the Jason Spezza deal was featured in Pronman’s Dallas Stars top ten rankings last year, but he’s conspicuously absent from Ottawa’s list this year. Nick Paul on the other hand wasn’t even listed as one of Dallas’ top fifteen prospects last year, but he comes in as Ottawa’s seventh best prospect this year and for the purpose of Ottawa’s prospect breakdown Pronman recognized him as the Senators’ noteworthy prospect in the article.
“Nick Paul — acquired in the Jason Spezza deal — started the season in mediocre fashion but looked impressive after the winter holidays and through the OHL playoffs, where he notched 12 goals and 18 points in 22 games. Paul is a 6-foot-3 forward who uses his frame well and has impressive defensive IQ. He’s not an all-world talent, but he has solid hand-eye coordination, which allows him to control possession and be an ace faceoff man. He just needs to get quicker.”
As I mentioned in my piece that detailed Pronman’s inclusion of Lazar and Stone in his top 100 drafted NHL prospects list, there’s a very realistic possibility that both Lazar and Stone can graduate from Pronman’s list next year. Meaning, that next year’s Senators list could be devoid of projectable high-end talent.
Pronman would also go on to note that Stone and Lazar were the most likely to add an impact to the Senators this season, but that players like Derek Grant and Mike Hoffman who have appeared on his lists in the past should also contribute, as well. (Note: both Hoffman and Grant have to pass through waivers before they can be returned to Binghamton.)
It’s not like there isn’t talent coming through the system however, it’s just that it mostly consists of safer lower ceiling-types. Pronman does correctly note that “the depth here is fine and arguably above-average, but after Curtis Lazar and Mark Stone, there isn’t a ton of top talent.”
Most importantly however is that he “could buy an argument that Mikael Wikstrand could be tagged as (a top talent).”
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