With All-Star names like Matt Duchene and Erik Karlsson passing on the chance to represent their countries at the World Hockey Championships this month in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark, let’s take a look at how their Ottawa Senators teammates are faring on the international stage.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Canada
Representing Canada for the first time in his hockey career, Pageau has shown that he can excel when playing in a more sheltered role in the line-up. But by no means is Pageau not effective. In the nine games so far, including the pre-tournament game, the 2011 fourth-round pick has tallied five points, including scoring the only goal during Canada’s loss to Finland.
With Matt Duchene established as the number-one centre, look for Pageau to really solidify his second-line role. While much of the Senators team looks to bounce back from a bad year, Pageau’s production drop-off from the previous season was not huge and his promotion to the second line after the Derick Brassard trade will only increase his ice-time and opportunity to produce going into next season. With his experience after this tournament, the 25-year-old should feel more comfortable playing the supporting role with added responsibility for Duchene’s first full season with the Senators on the horizon.
Thomas Chabot, Canada
The most valuable player during the Under-20 World Junior Championships in 2017, this is Chabot’s first stint with the men’s team following his first full season with the Senators. The left-handed defensemen has two assists and is a plus-seven so far, but has also seen his playing time decreased with Marc-Edward Vlasic joining the Canadian blueline.
With Chabot playing big minutes last season as a result of the Chris Wideman injury and the Dion Phaneuf trade, the Senators will have different options on defence next season. For his sophomore campaign, Chabot might be leaned on more after a strong rookie season.
Colin White, USA
Like Chabot, Colin White is making his men’s hockey championship debut after representing the United States at the junior level. With three goals and an assist in eight games so far, White is looking comfortable playing on the international stage.
After playing 21 games with the Senators, the former Boston College forward is playing at a level where he looks to challenge for a spot in next season’s lineup.
Filip Gustavsson, Sweden
At just 19 years old, Filip Gustavsson has had a busy season with lots of opportunity at different levels. This includes starting the season with Luleå HF of the Swedish Hockey League before joining the Senators’ AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators, while also playing for Team Sweden at the World Junior Championships where he backstopped them to the silver. Now, Gustavsson is acting as the third-string goalie and gets to take in the view while being around an experienced Swedish team, similar to what Michael DiPietro is doing with Team Canada.
Goalie Filip Gustavsson plans to travel to North America after the season in Sweden and hopefully get in some AHL games with Belleville. Expected to play in North America next year. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) February 24, 2018
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun is expecting Gustavsson to stay in North America for the next season, furthering his development in Belleville and getting more accustomed to the surface and style of play within the Senators’ organization. As THW’s Jacob Harris elaborated on, Gustavsson isn’t the answer for the Senators’ goalie issue just yet.
Ville Pokka, Finland
Coming over from the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline, Ville Pokka didn’t play with the big club, going straight to Belleville. The soon-to-be restricted free agent has yet to record a point in the tournament for Team Finland.
The 23-year old has shown offensive upside at times, with seven goals and 26 assists in the AHL this. Expect the Senators to give him a qualifying offer given their depth on the blue line.
Magnus Paarjarvi, Sweden
The former first-round pick is one of the more experienced players on the international ice, representing Sweden at countless levels during his career. Scoring two goals in eight games played, he’s already matched his goal total when playing with the St. Louis Blues before joining the Senators.
An unrestricted free agent on July 1, Paarjarvi did increase his production with six goals for the Senators but his return with the team is uncertain, especially if players like White are challenging for permanent spots in the lineup.
You can still watch the World Hockey Championships, now down to the final four. Canada will play Switzerland while Sweden takes on the United States on Saturday.