Senators’ Approaching an Offseason Full of Potential

Along with the bad comes a little good. The Ottawa Senators’ season is coming to an end. And, after a year as underwhelming as this one, it’s expected and understandable that the team and city looks towards the future. Fortunately for the Senators’, they’ve got a summer full of possibilities. From trades to changes behind the bench and in the front office, along with some promising young prospects, Ottawa has lots to think about and much to look forward to.

This pending offseason is full of potential.

A Pool of Promising Prospects

The Senators’ have a handful of prospects that have taken impressive strides in their development this year. Four key names in this conversation have been Colin White and Thomas Chabot, while two new names recently entered the mix in Francis Perron and Macoy Erkamps.

Perron and Erkhamps are both fairly new signings. After being drafted in the 7th round (190th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft, Perron has been playing for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL. The 19-year-old has shown progression each season and this year took a huge leap totalling 108 points in 62 games. His impressive offensive numbers have continued to shine into the playoffs.

Erkhamps was signed to an entry-level deal on April 1st. The 21-year-old defenceman has spent the year in the WHL as the captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings where he tallied 71 points in 72 games, leading WHL defencemen in assists with 58.

These two prospects have been pleasant surprises for the Senators. While both won’t likely be on the team’s roster next season, the story is different for White and Chabot.

As Ottawa looks at lineup changes to make this offseason, there has been talk of adding a bottom pair defenceman. While wanting to be sensitive and aware of not rushing a player’s development, Chabot has had an impressive year with the Saint John Sea Dogs. With an expected invitation to training camp, a spot as the 7th defenceman could be a perfect way to ease the 19-year-old offensive defenceman into his NHL career – while being mentored by a player like Erik Karlsson.

Related: An Open Letter to Senators’ Owner Eugene Melnyk

White’s situation has become unique because of where he plays. Having spent the year at Boston College, he would need to leave the NCAA to sign an entry level deal and start playing professional hockey. While that traditional route would take a prospect through the AHL to get accustomed to the routine of playing on a much more demanding schedule (unlike his current weekend schedule in the NCAA), Senators’ GM Bryan Murray said there’s a chance he could bypass that step.

“It takes a summer. He has to get stronger and all the other parts of his game are good. I really think he could come in and play if we wanted him to do that.” – Bryan Murray (Ottawa Citizen)

It will likely take some time in the offseason for both sides to decide what is best for White’s future development. It’s better to have questions of when than no questions at all. These four prospects seem to have bright futures ahead of them.

Making Moves With What You’ve Got

Aside from decisions on prospects, there’s also plenty to be made in the office. While updates can’t be expected until the offseason arrives, the future of Dave Cameron and Bryan Murray are no doubt in question. It can certainly be a safe bet to assume Murray will return (for what many would assume to be his last year) and Cameron will be let go.

Those two positions will have a heavy influence on what the rest of the summer can look like for the Senators’.

No matter who’s in the office, Ottawa has a summer and a team full of potential. Let’s just hope they maximize that potential and develop it properly.