With the hopes of playoff hockey at the bottom end of a long decline, questions regarding the Ottawa Senators’ lineup next season are already on the forefront.
It may seem a little early to be jumping ahead to lineup questions regarding the 2016-17 season, but for fans of the Ottawa Senators that’s where a glimpse of positivity lies. At this point, you’ve probably read about it more times than you can remember – this season is worth forgetting. So, in the spirit of looking forward to what can be a brighter future for the Senators’ organization, the discussion on Ottawa’s two most promising draft picks ensues.
A Brighter Future In Colin White & Thomas Chabot
Colin White and Thomas Chabot both have promising futures looking towards their professional hockey careers. The two were drafted last summer in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft in the first round. White, an American born centre known for his offensive prowess was taken 21st overall, while Chabot, the Canadian two-way defenceman was picked slightly before him at 18th overall.
The birthday buddies (both players are born on January 30th, 1997) have had some very impressive individual seasons.
Senators prospect Colin White deemed 15th best NHL prospect in Hockey News Future Watch. Thomas Chabot 38th.
— Ken Warren (@Citizenkwarren) March 18, 2016
Now, questions are surfacing if the two youngsters could have a chance at cracking the Senators’ roster in training camp next season.
After attending training camp this past fall, Chabot spent the 2015-16 season in the QMJHL playing for the Saint John Sea Dogs. In 47 games, he has collected 11 goals and 34 assists, while adding three assists in five games at the 2015 World Junior Hockey Championships.
The 6-foot-2, 190lb defenceman has shown excellent speed, puck handling skills, and vision for the game.
Thomas Chabot goes coast to coast for a lovely goal in the OHL pic.twitter.com/T9gfnKOefh
— Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) November 7, 2015
Chabot will return to training camp this coming fall with a chance to make his way onto the Senators’ roster. You can expect to see him have some time in Binghamton but, depending on his camp, he could find a way onto the roster in the 3rd defensive pairing.
He is also under team control until the end of the 2017-18 season.
White’s situation is a fair bit more unique than Chabot’s. White spent the year playing for Boston College of the NCAA where he has totalled 19 goals and 22 assists in 34 games played. The Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren touched on the complexity of his situation leading into next season in this article.
White will ultimately have to decide whether or not he is ready to take the step from college to professional hockey. The schedule transition alone can be very hard on players in the NCAA, who go from playing on the weekends to a much more demanding schedule in the AHL or NHL. It can be especially tough in the minors, where players often play back-to-back-to-back games.
Current Senators’ defenceman Michael Kostka says the entry into professional hockey can be all about timing:
“Say a kid comes out of college, doesn’t make the (Senators) in training camp and goes to Binghamton. Maybe the team has a tough year, maybe he has a couple of injuries to start, as opposed to a kid who gets off to a hot start and gets called up after 10 games (in the AHL). That can totally change the experience. It’s about the maturity of the kid, (regardless) of his skill and whatnot, because it’s going to be his ability to handle the crap when it’s thrown at him.” – Michael Kostka
Nonetheless, White has shown he has the potential to be a top ranked centre on Ottawa’s future roster. The decision on him will come on two fronts – whether White is ready to take the step and whether the Senators’ will be confident enough in him to sign him to an entry level deal.
Whether the two prospects find their way onto the roster next season or their development continues elsewhere, the Senators have a pair of very promising young players. This season may have been tough to watch, but the future is bright in Ottawa.