A New Take on Ottawa’s Prospects

Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus has published his list of the Senators’ top 10 prospects and it’s an interesting one to say the least. Having had Corey on one of our podcasts, I know that he places an emphasis on the puck possession aspect of the game and assuredly, it has influenced his list. Without giving away everything that the article had to say — to read the article in its entirety, click here — here’s the list itself.

  1. David Rundblad, Defense
  2. Mika Zibanejad, Left Wing
  3. Nikita Filatov, Right Wing
  4. Stephane Da Costa, Center
  5. Jared Cowen, Defense
  6. Jakob Silfverberg, Right Wing
  7. Patrick Wiercioch, Defense
  8. Derek Grant, Left Wing
  9. Matt Puempel, Left Wing
  10. Robin Lehner, Goaltender


Obviously a few things immediately stand out:

a) Despite being an undrafted free agent that has only played limited minutes in four professional games, Da Costa seems to be ranked pretty high considering that a number of the organization’s other prospects have higher pedigrees or have enjoyed more professional accomplishments. Much has been made of Da Costa’s lack of physical conditioning when he arrived in Ottawa, so there’s only a small sample size to evaluate here. It wouldn’t surprise many to see him start season in the AHL adjusting to playing against a higher level of competition.

b) The inclusion of Derek Grant. Last season the Senators’ fourth round from 2008 finished his collegiate career at Michigan State and joined Binghamton towards the latter stages of their season. Largely viewed as somewhat of an off the radar prospect, Grant didn’t play much of a role during Binghamton’s Calder Cup run — playing seven games registering a goal and a assist. With a number of Binghamton players graduating or moving on from last season’s team — Cody Bass, Ryan Keller, Roman Wick, Bobby Butler, Colin Greening, Erik Condra — Grant will be a prominent cog in 2011-12.

c) Considering Robin Lehner joined an exclusive club with Carey Price (2007), Patrik Roy (1986) and Gordie Bell (1943) and became one of only four teenage goaltenders to win the Calder Cup, one would imagine that he would have been given a higher on this prospect ladder. Pronman explained putting Lehner at 10 by Tweeting (@coreypronman) a few things:

  • Like with Markstrom and Campbell … Lehners low ranking is due to the current value of goalies and goalie prospects. Not b/c of the player.”
  • For a goalie prospect that it’s a huge compliment to be projected as an average NHL starter.”
  • “There’s a handful of goalie prospects in hockey I can put an average nhl starter projection on. Lehner imo is a top five goalie prospect.”
  • “Markstrom, Holtby, Campbell and Lehner are my top four.”
  • Not even close.” RT @6thSens: Regarding your goaltending projections, is there a guy out there who you definitively think will be elite?
  • “Also in re:goalie prospects the current market value of the position, to say the least, is very poor due to easily attainable talent.

d) Jared Cowen at 5? Seems a tad low but Pronman again explained it via Twitter as being a testament to the strength of the system than the player.

e) The omission of Stefan Noeson’s name is not intriguing because he was taken ahead of Matt Puempel in this year’s entry draft. Having spoken to a number of pundits from a number of different publications, all conceded that Puempel is the better offensive talent and the likelier of the two to play on one of Ottawa’s top two lines.

While Pronman’s list might not reflect my own, the beauty of it is that it’s something that fans can debate the merits of. So have at it in the comment thread. Where do you come out on this Hockey Prospectus list?