Ranking The Top 20 Ottawa Senators Prospects: #5 – #1

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4. Nick Paul

Forward – Brampton Battalion — 2013 4th round pick (Dallas Stars)

OHL 6foot4 196lbs

Perhaps the most intriguing piece from the Jason Spezza trade, Nick Paul is ready to make the step to the AHL. As an OHLer, Paul was a late bloomer who was not selected in his first year of OHL draft eligibility. It was after he shot up in height that he garnered attention, leading to a Battalion selection in 2012 and an NHL selection the year after in Dallas.

Paul was a world-junior this past year and played a big role on a Battalion team who went far in the OHL playoffs for the second straight year. While Paul was able to mix offence into his game this past season, it was his defensive game that also gained him attention. In the OHL’s coaches Poll, Paul received nods for “best defensive forward” and “best on face-offs” in the OHL’s eastern conference.

While he hasn’t been a dynamic offensive player, Paul projects as a third line center or winger at the NHL level. He is bound to be a useful piece and could put up 35-45 points at the NHL level. The scouting reports on Paul are somewhat all over the place, but many of them use a few important evaluators in determining future NHL success. Smarts and size. From McKeen’s Hockey:

"Extremely versatile as he can adapt to any situation while making subtle contributions .. not a flashy type yet always manages to stay involved by getting his big body in the way and by effectively shielding pucks down low in the offensive end Brings a steady compete level and tenacity .. sticks with plays and shows a strong appetite for the puck .. a self-driven type who strives to be a difference maker with his work level … can read and evaluate plays and complements others with his hockey sense.’"

The big test for Paul comes at the AHL level next season. While we have seen how top prospects can struggle when the game takes a step up, Paul and Senators fans hope that isn’t the case. If Paul is able to show his value at the AHL level, perhaps it isn’t too far away we see Nick Paul is a Senators uniform.

Next: The Former Kitchener Ranger, and 1st round pick

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