The Ottawa Senators selected the rangy forward with the 39th overall selection
Pre-draft ranking: #95 by TSN/Bob McKenzie
Trent Mann stuck to his board with the Senators‘ first pick of day 2, grabbing the 6’3″ centreman out of the Vancouver Giants in the WHL. This is a “sensy” pick if there ever was one, Ostapchuk is a big, fast and skilled forward who has shown exceptional improvement over the past year.
The Vancouver Giants product struggled in his first year in the WHL, only producing 8 points in 44 games, but this season he quickly became one of their most valuable players. Ostapchuk scored 7 goals and 16 points in just 22 games with Vancouver this past season, doubling his production from the year prior. This rapid improvement from the Senators 2nd round pick was good enough to earn him the Giants “most improved player” award, something I’m sure Mann and others were quite aware of when they selected Ostapchuk.
The rangy centreman uses his explosive stride and long reach to blow past opponents, making him a beast in transition, something that is valued highly at the NHL level. You can see what I mean in the highlights below:
While most pre-draft rankings had Ostapchuk expected to go anywhere from the 3rd to 5th round, the Senators obviously felt it was the right time to get their guy, something they did for the majority of the draft.
Joel Henderson of FC Hockey was quite bullish on the talented forward:
"“I’d just like to say that among WHL forwards long term, I think Ostapchuk has about as high of potential as anyone. His puck control abilities are truly fantastic in small space. He can coral a loose puck and redirect it to open ice or away from pressure. It’s very tough to find that level of finesse with someone his size.”"
There’s definitely substance to this argument too, Ostapchuk has a ton of translateable skills to the NHL, he’s a great skater, can score around the net, and has the ability to play with a physical edge. Ostapchuk is still pretty raw at this point, his on-ice awareness could definitely improve, especially in the defensive zone but that will surely come with more experience.