Ottawa Senators Prospect Update: College

Jake Sanderson #8 of the United States (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

Jake Sanderson highlights the Senators 6 prospects currently playing in college

The Senators currently have two top-10 picks playing in college with Jake Sanderson (5th overall, 2020) and Tyler Boucher (10th overall, 2021), the former has been enjoying a sensational season while Boucher has struggled out of the gate.

RW Tyler Boucher – Boston University (Hockey East)

Drafted: 2021 1st Round (10th Overall) by OTT

2021-22 Season Stats: 14GP, 2G-1A-3P, +/-: -6

Selected with the 10th selection of the 2021 NHL Draft, the expectations for Boucher were high as expected, however, so far this season the Senators’ top prospect has just 3 points and 18 shots (1.29/GP).

Something that has carried over from his play with the USNTDP is his physicality, he’s still throwing his body around as much as he can and doesn’t seem to be deterred by the bigger, older competition, his 32 penalty minutes are a team-high.

For the remainder of the season, Boucher will have to show significant improvements to shift the focus away from the fact he was the 10th overall pick because as of now this pick looks to be a miscalculation by the Senators scouting staff.

LD Tyler Kleven – North Dakota (NCHC)

Drafted 2020 2nd Round (44th Overall) by OTT

2021-22 Season Stats: 15GP, 3G-2A-5P, +4

With the departures of fellow Senator Jacob Bernard-Docker and Matt Kiersted on the back end from last year, Kleven had to take on a prominent role inside the top-4 for North Dakota and he has fit in perfectly.

One of the main worries with Kleven during the draft process was his offensive game, and whether he had the talent to be an efficient transporter of the puck, over the last season and a half, Kleven has done a great job silencing the haters. His development in his offensive game has been exponential, he is much more confident with the puck and shows creativity off of the rush.

Kleven does a nice job taking the space he’s given before rifling home one of the hardest slap shots in all of college hockey, also his 30 shots (2/GP) is the same amount he had all of last season. His 50 penalty minutes should come as no surprise as his physical game is the main component of Kleven’s game.

RW Luke Loheit – Minnesota Duluth (NCHC)

Drafted 2018 7th Round (194th Overall) by OTT

2021-22 Season Stats: 8GP, 1G-0A-1P, +/-: +1

The Senators took a late-round flyer on the Minnetonka High product in the final round of the 2018 NHL Draft, and it appears Loheit will have to finish his junior season strong to warrant a contract with Ottawa.

Loheit has played 61 games over the last two seasons with one of the better programs in all of college hockey and has been effective in a bottom-line role for two years and counting. After scoring a goal in his team’s opening game, Loheit has cooled off going pointless in his last 7.

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LW Jakov Novak – Northeastern (Hockey East)

Drafted 2018 7th Round (188th Overall) by OTT

2021-22 Season Stats: 16GP, 5G-0A-5G, +/-: +4

Novak enjoyed three terrific seasons with Bentley University where he was able to find tons of offensive success, scoring 62 points over 87 games in his career, becoming an offensive force in his final two seasons, tallying 47 points in 50 games and two Hobey Baker nominations.

Now playing in a much harder conference in Hockey East, Novak has had to adjust to the quality of competition and is now starting to look more comfortable with 5 goals in his last 8 games. Like others from the Senators 2018 Draft class, Novak will be looking to sign an entry-level deal at season’s end.

LD Jake Sanderson – North Dakota (NCHC)

Drafted 2020 1st Round (5th Overall) by OTT

2021-22 Season Stats: 13GP, 6G-10A-16P, +7

Sanderson has continued his ascent into this season and now looks like one of the better players outside of the NHL for the way he can dominate a game in both the offensive and defensive zone. At the time of the 2020 NHL Draft, there was a clear gap between Sanderson’s offensive and defensive game, he was much more invested in defending and playing safe, rather than unleashing his full offensive potential. However, Sanderson has now developed his offensive game to a level where it rivals his defensive abilities, something many thought wasn’t possible before the draft.

The 19-year-old two-way defenceman is tough to contain in the offensive zone for opposing teams, his patience and tremendous skating allow him to dance around the blue line without turning pucks over, and usually creating chances at the net. Sanderson’s elite skill is on full display on this superb individual effort:

LD Jonny Tychonick – Nebraska-Omaha (NCHC)

Drafted 2018 2nd Round (48th Overall) by OTT

2021-22 Season Stats: 2GP, 0G-0A-0P, +/-: +1

Tychonick has struggled to find his way in the college game since his freshman season with North Dakota, transferring to Nebraska-Omaha after a tough first two seasons, however, the transfer hasn’t sparked Tychonick. He had just 8 points in 23 games last season with Nebraska-Omaha and now has been held pointless in just 2 games this season. The senior defenceman has missed time this season with injury, and once he steps back into the lineup will have to assert himself as one of the top players on the team, if he wants to pursue his future with the Senators organization. A lack of production and inconsistent play has plagued Tychonick throughout his entire college career.

It’s tough to give up and not sign a second-round pick to an entry-level contract but this may be the juncture that the Senators find themselves in at the end of the season. Without improved play and a clean bill of health, Tychonick seems to have an uphill battle.