Ottawa Senators UFA Profile: Matt O’Connor


Matt O’Connor

23, 6’6, 205lbs

Goaltender – Boston University

14-15 Statline: 25-4-4, 2.18GAA, 0.927 sv%


Current Depth Chart:

Craig Anderson, Robin Lehner, Andrew Hammond, Chris Driedger

A Fit In Ottawa? 

It has been speculated over the past few weeks that the Senators have had serious interest in O’Connor. He’s visited with the team, as well as three others and fans should expect a decision sometime soon. O’Connor certainly sounds like he holds the prospects of being an NHL player in the future, but is completely willing to play in the AHL according to quotes from a TSN 1200 interview last week.

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Ottawa’s system in Binghamton has been one with much success over the past few seasons and despite a failure to make the playoffs this past season, O’Connor might be best fit in Bingo next year. If you look at the recent graduates from Binghamton (Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Mark Borowiecki, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau) it’s not wonder the team needs to rebuild.

With a few potential pieces coming soon in Ben Harpur, Tobias Lindberg, Nick Paul as well as swedish defender Mikael Wikstrand (who sounds like he’s staying until next year). It sounds like O’Connor could have a good challenge ahead of him in Binghamton as it will likely be the same core of guys like Shane Prince, Matt Puempel, and Chris Wideman next year.

At the NHL level, O’Connor still has three guys ahead of him. If one is expected to go this off-season and O’Connor signs on, expect him to be Binghamton’s number one goaltender. The 15-16 season should then come as a big telling year for Ottawa’s NHL tandem, whether it be made up of any of the 6 possible combinations, as the organization and O’Connor will understand they have another young goalie waiting in the wings.

Expected Contract:

Things in the NHL have changed when it comes to signing NCAA free agents. O’Connor, given his age is eligible for a two-year deal which will expire with him being an RFA. Unlike the highest bidder format of the NHL’s free agency, there is a limit on O’Connor’s maximum pay on his entry-level contract. Making the choice of the city and system far more important than it was before.

With money no longer being the biggest factor, the Senators find themselves up against a few other franchises in competition for O’Connor. With Edmonton now desirable (again) and New York having quite the system, Ottawa and Vancouver remain in O’Connor’s top 4, but any one of the those mentioned could find themselves with a solid and free prospect.

"Expected deal: 2 years, ELC $750,000/$80,000"

NHL Comparable:

For a comparable player, I’d look to a guy who was in Ottawa’s system not too long ago… then we traded him for Cory Conacher.

Ben Bishop, much like Matt O’Connor is a big goaltender. Bishop is listed at 6’7, whereas O’Connor is 6’5/6’6 depending where you go. Regardless, O’Connor and Bishop are both big guys and both guys who went through the NCAA systems. O’Connor at BU and Bishop at Maine.

The Senators have a chance to replace what they had in Ben Bishop with O’Connor

O’Connor is currently 23, and Bishop is now 28. With O’Connor just graduating now, look for him to spend a few more seasons in the AHL before breaking in full-time.

I’d like to think O’Connor holds a similar ceiling as Bishop if developed properly. Patience is key here and Bishop displayed that well as he played around 5 AHL seasons before breaking in full-time around 2013.

Oh, and for another comparable.. why not take a look at two of these goaltending gaffes from the last 30 days.

Obviously neither of these plays define who Bishop/O’Connor are as goaltenders. Simply odd flukes as O’Connor was nothing short of a brick wall for BU this season and Bishop remains one of the NHL’s top goaltenders.

Both great players, both big guys. The Ottawa Senators may have a chance to replace what they had in Bishop with O’Connor

Next: Ottawa Senators That Require Improvement in 15-16

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