In a deep Senators crease Mads Søgaard is a forgotten man

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: Mads Sogaard poses after being selected 37th overall by the Ottawa Senators during the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: Mads Sogaard poses after being selected 37th overall by the Ottawa Senators during the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /

The second-round pick from the 2019 NHL Draft, Mads Søgaard should be heralded as the Ottawa Senators top goaltending prospect, but because of a crowded crease in Ottawa he isn’t getting the recognition he deserves

The Ottawa Senators traded up to 37th overall and surprisingly took the 6’7″ goaltender from Denmark after he enjoyed a stellar season with Medicine Hat in the WHL.

Being the second goaltender off the board shows how highly regarded the goaltender was, and Ottawa must think a lot of Søgaard to trade up for him. Posting a stellar 0.921 save percentage and 2.64 goals-against average in his first season in the WHL backup the selection. He struggled through the world juniors, but on a weak Denmark team, you can’t put much value in the tournament.

How did Søgaard play in 2020?

Playing on a strong Medicine Hat team, the expectations for Søgaard were sky-high, due to a dip in his numbers it appears that expectations for the young goaltender have lowered. He finished with a 0.908 save percentage and 2.53 goals against average, also adding 21 victories. While his save percentage worsened, he did improve as the season went along.

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The season shortened due to Covid-19 hampered Søgaard’s ability to continue the season strong and into the playoffs after having a stellar final eight games. In those games the lengthy net minder went 6-2-0 and held a 0.946 save percentage and a 1.38 goals against average, implying his best was yet to come in the playoffs.

On this play here Søgaard shows why his size is such an asset, the Oil King forward comes in all alone and has nowhere to go with the puck and results in a seemingly easy save for the Medicine Hat goalie:

While he didn’t have a banner year, he showed enough good play, especially in the last quarter of the season to give Ottawa Senators fans excitement about his sky-high ability.

Where does he stand in Ottawa’s crease

Ottawa has plenty of goaltending prospects in their system, some with already great results in the pros.

The tandem in the NHL is expected to consist of Anders Nilsson and Marcus Hogberg, as they are the too most NHL ready goaltenders. This assumes that the Senators don’t bring back veteran Craig Anderson.

Ottawa currently has a lofty five goalies that have a chance to become an integral part of their final product after the rebuild. Consisting of Joey Daccord, Filip Gustavsson, Marcus Hogberg, Kevin  Mandolese and the aforementioned Søgaard. That is a tremendously deep crease that has a ton of talent.

Hogberg has the upper hand on the other prospects in terms of NHL experience with 24 games played last season where he performed well. Daccord outplayed Gustavsson significantly in Belleville and took over the starting spot at the end of the season. Daccord and Gustavsson tied in wins with 15 but Daccord held a 0.915 save percentage to Gustavsson’s 0.889, a huge discrepancy between the two prospects.

Ottawa had two goalies in junior last season with Søgaard and Kevin Mandolese. Both goalies performed really well, especially Mandolese who won the QMJHL goalie of the year for his superb play.

Søgaard will be the only Senators goalie in junior next season with Mandolese moving up to the pro ranks and starting in the ECHL:

Mandolese is most likely the lowest on the depth chart in the goalie cupboard not due to his great play last year but because he was a sixth-round pick and is still a relative unknown. While the struggling Gustavsson has  not had the best endorsements from the Belleville staff:

Not exactly oozing confidence about Gustavsson.

This is where there can be some discussion, with three goalies who are very talented and have had success in Hogberg, Daccord and Søgaard. One glaring advantage that the Medicine Hat goaltender has is his age, he is still 19 years old and doesn’t turn 20 until December. While Hogberg is turning 26 in November and Daccord is turning 24 later this summer, the age gap is extreme and Søgaard has about five years of potential development to get to where these goalies are now, which seems like a given at this point.

Assessing goalies is often a crapshoot and its no different here in Ottawa, but Søgaard is without a doubt the most enticing goaltender the Senators have.

When can we expect to see Søgaard in Ottawa?

With Søgaard heading back to Medicine Hat next season everything else will most likely stay status quo. The 2021-2022 season is where decisions will have to be made.

Nilsson and Hogberg are both free agents for that season if Ottawa sees enough progress from there young netminders they would be inclined to let Nilsson go. Hogberg would be an RFA so if he solidifies himself as an NHL goalie he would most likely stay with the team.

Daccord, Mandolese, Gustavsson and Søgaard would be playing in the minors which would be too hectic and not feasible. At the very least one of those goalies is gone by this point, most likely Gustavsson if he doesn’t pan out. Some combination of Daccord (if he’s not the Senators backup), Søgaard and Mandolese in the minors.

At the earliest, I can see the young goalie from Denmark making the jump to the NHL in 2022-2023 if he exceeds expectations in his first season in the AHL. Goalies take time, and Søgaard is a prime example, he has all the tools with his great size and mobility to become a quality starting goalie but it won’t happen overnight. A realistic season where Søgaard could make an impact is most likely during the 2023-2024 season, where he makes the jump and could put it all together for Ottawa.

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The sheer potential of the young goalie by way of Denmark makes his way too polarizing for Ottawa Senators fans to overlook. The Senators’ goalie situation may help out the young goalie, by allowing Ottawa to be patient and wait for Søgaard to develop into his untapped potential.