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August 27, 2012
Top 10 Prospects
Ottawa Senators

by Corey Pronman

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Full list of NHL Organizational Rankings

Ottawa Senators Top 10 Prospects

1. Mika Zibanejad, Center
2. Cody Ceci, Defense
3. Jakob Silfverberg, Right Wing
4. Mark Stone, Right Wing
5. Shane Prince, Left Wing
6. Stephane Da Costa, Center
7. Stefan Noesen, Right Wing
8. Patrick Wiercioch, Defense
9. Matt Puempel, Left Wing
10.Andre Petersson, Right Wing

Organizational Ranking: 5th

System Overview: This is a ridiculously deep system. Players like Jarrod Maidens, Ben Blood, and Fredrik Claesson, who would all be in just about any team's top 15 prospects, end up off Ottawa's top 15. They lack the multiple star prospects outside of Mika Zibanejad, but there are still so many quality youngsters in this organization.

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1. Mika Zibanejad, Center
2010-11 Ranking: 2nd
Date of birth: 04/18/1993
Age: 19
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 201
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 26 GP, 5 G, 13 P, 15:44 ATOI (Djurgarden-SEL)
Acquired: First round, sixth overall in 2011 by Ottawa

The Good: Zibanejad is a prototypical do-everything forward with above-average or better tools across the board, and he is one of the more complete prospects in hockey. He's an above-average skater who has shown some improvement in that area and generates good power from his stride. Zibanejad is a high-end puck-handler who can dazzle with his hands. He also is a good passer who will flash plus ability in that area. He has a bullet shot and can score from mid-distance. Zibanejad is a tremendous on-ice worker who barrels through each check and gives it his all every shift. He's also a pretty effective defensive player who can play center or wing, although I see him as the latter down the line. He's NHL-ready.

The Bad: Zibanejad will occasionally get a little too cute, forcing some plays. He has no real glaring weakness.

Projection: He could be a top line forward.

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2. Cody Ceci, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 12/21/1993
Age: 18
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 207
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 64 GP, 17 G, 60 P (Ottawa-OHL)
Acquired: First round, 15th overall in 2012 by Ottawa

The Good: Ceci is an above-average skater who moves very well for a 6'3'' player with fluid four-way movements. He has an outstanding hockey brain, showing plus sense between his two-way instincts and his very quick game-processing ability. Ceci is advanced defensively for his age, showing a well-rounded defensive game between his gap control, stickwork, and physical play. He's a good passer who can make a nice outlet pass and move the puck around fine on the power play.

The Bad: Ceci lacks a real standout offensive skill and projects as more of a tough minutes player rather than a top power play guy in the NHL.

Projection: His ceiling borders between a fringe top pairing and a very good second pairing defender.

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3. Jakob Silfverberg, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: 6th
Date of birth: 10/13/1991
Age: 21
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 194
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 49 GP, 24 G, 54 P, 19:12 ATOI (Brynas-SEL)
Acquired: Second round, 39th overall in 2009 by Ottawa

The Good: This season's SEL MVP is a pretty well-rounded player. Silfverberg has above-average hockey sense at both ends to go along with solid puck skills and skating ability. He has the ability to make plays with the puck and also has a pretty desirable power element to his game in terms of protecting the puck in the cycle and crashing the high percentage areas with regularity. Silfverberg also has a bullet shot that is arguably high-end. He's NHL-ready and could climb Ottawa's depth chart quickly.

The Bad: Silfverberg is not an overly creative offensive player, and while he does have skill, scouts describe him as more of a "north-south" player than one who the offense will flow through.

Projection: He could be an above-average second line winger.

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4. Mark Stone, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 05/13/1992
Age: 20
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 196
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 66 GP, 41 G, 123 P (Brandon-WHL)
Acquired: Sixth round, 178th overall in 2010 by Ottawa

The Good: After falling to the sixth round in 2010, Stone, per one NHL executive, has improved by "leaps and bounds" as he's established himself as a true top prospect. Stone has high-end hockey sense, showing the ability to be a tremendous distributor of the puck who can make creative feeds. He also has good hands and can make individual plays. Stone is an above-average finisher who has the hands to finish in tight and the shot to score from mid-distance. He's a big body who can protect the puck and be a net-front presence.

The Bad: Stone's skating has historically been his weakness, and while it's not as horrible as it was two years ago, I'd still grade it as below average.

Projection: He could be an above-average second line winger.

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5. Shane Prince, Left Wing
2010-11 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 12/16/1992
Age: 19
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 190
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 57 GP, 43 G, 90 P (Ottawa-OHL)
Acquired: Second round, 61st overall in 2011 by Ottawa

The Good: Prince is a very gifted offensive player who has a lot of tools that can threaten a defense. He has a high-end hockey brain which leads to very impressive creativity with the puck and good ability as a playmaker. Prince has plus puck skills to go along with above-average speed and great agility. He also shows pretty desirable work ethic on the ice. If he transitions to the pro level well, he has all the makings of a scoring forward.

The Bad: Prince is a 5'11'' player and that may be slightly overstated. His physical game in the NHL will be the major test he needs to pass. He needs to continue to bulk up.

Projection: He could be good second line winger.

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6. Stephane Da Costa, Center
2010-11 Ranking: 4th
Date of birth: 07/11/19989
Age: 23
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 185
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 46 GP, 13 G, 36 P (Binghamton-AHL)
Acquired: College free agent

The Good: Da Costa is a very skilled player who can dazzle with the puck, flashing high-end possession skills. He has above-average to plus hands, showing the ability to dangle in tight spaces and is a pretty creative player with the puck. Da Costa is an equally skilled playmaker seems to have eyes in the back of his head. He's a decent skater with good agility and edgework.

The Bad: Da Costa's physical game is underwhelming, as he really lacks strength especially compared to where players strength levels usually are at his age. At times, he looks like a perimeter player who doesn't really attack the high percentage areas. His defense needs work, too.

Projection: He could be an average second line center.

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7. Stefan Noesen, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 02/12/1993
Age: 19
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 190
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 63 GP, 38 G, 82 P (Plymouth-OHL)
Acquired: First round, 21st overall in 2011 by Ottawa

The Good: Noesen is a power forward with some skill, and as a player who likes to use his body, his frame is starting to come into form to where he can be really useful in that role. He goes to the net with frequency and picks up a lot of goals from within five feet. Noesen has other elements to his game, too, as he thinks the game well, shows ability to move the puck around at a solid level, makes good defensive reads, and plays well off the puck in the offensive zone. He has a solid shot as well.

The Bad: Noesen lacks a glaring weakness. A year ago, both his skating and puck skills were below average, but they're both roughly average now. At times, he will show a lack of offensive creativity, but that's a nitpick.

Projection: He could be a decent second line winger.

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8. Patrick Wiercioch, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: 7th
Date of birth: 09/12/1990
Age: 21
Height: 6'4''
Weight: 200
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 57 GP, 4 G, 20 P (Binghamton-AHL)
Acquired: Second round, 42nd overall in 2008 by Ottawa

The Good: Wiercioch is a skilled big man with a desirable upside. He has good hands to go along with above-average vision and can certainly threaten on the power play. Wiercioch is comfortable with the puck on his stick, showing a good panic threshold and making quick decisions. He's an average skater, but pretty mobile for a player his size.

The Bad: Wiercioch's season was impacted by a scary throat injury. He still needs to bulk up and use his body a little more. His defense isn't bad but I don't see it as NHL average. For an offensive player, his AHL production has been underwhelming.

Projection: He could be a top four defenseman.

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9. Matt Puempel, Left Wing
2010-11 Ranking: 9th
Date of birth: 01/24/1993
Age: 19
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 190
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 30 GP, 17 G, 33 P (Peterborough-OHL)
Acquired: First round, 24th overall in 2011 by Ottawa

The Good: Puempel's best skills are his shot and his goal-scoring ability. The term "quick release" is often overused in scouting circles, but Puempel's is special and he has a lot of finishing ability upside. Puempel rarely has to properly set his feet and distribute his weight to generate a plus shot and he can regularly place his shots with power and accuracy. He has solid hands, but he isn't really a player you want to start the puck movement. Puempel makes good off-puck reads, though, and likes to find soft spots in coverage. He's a decent skater, too.

The Bad: Puempel had a rough season due to a concussion injury and a suspension. His physical effort is questionable and he can be a victim of inconsistent play. Puempel needs to gain a lot of strength as well.

Projection: He could be an average second line winger.

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10. Andre Petersson, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 01/24/1993
Age: 21
Height: 5'9''
Weight: 172
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 60 GP, 23 G, 44 P (Binghamton-AHL)
Acquired: Fourth round, 109th overall in 2008 by Ottawa

The Good: Petersson is a very skilled little guy who shows high-end puck skills and gets regular praise from scouts for his talent level and the fast pace game he can play. He has quick, rapid hands to go along with generating power well from his first few steps. Petersson has good vision as well and shows good competitiveness on the ice.

The Bad: Petersson certainly had an adjusting period to the North American game as his struggles in the physical game are evident especially for a player his size. His defense is underwhelming as well as he tends to be the kind of player who is "all offense".

Projection: He could be a below-average second line winger.

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The Next Five

11. Mike Hoffman, Left Wing: Hoffman is a tremendous skater and puck-handler, but his consistency isn't always there. He may push for an NHL spot next season.

12. Robin Lehner, Goaltender: Lehner is a top of the line goalie prospect who one NHL source described as "way ahead of the curve" for a normal goalie prospect. He's a big, athletic netminder who moves around well with a good glove hand.

13. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Center: Pageau is an exciting player due to his great skating, the energy he plays with, and his top-end hockey sense. Despite being a very small player, he was still used to check top forwards in the QMJHL while also used in scoring roles.

14. Mark Borowiecki, Defense: Borowiecki is a very physical defender who skates well and shows good defensive awareness. He's on the cusp of NHL ice time.

15. Derek Grant, Center: Grant's ice-time was up and down in his first pro season as he was inconsistent. You still have to love a 6'3'' player with skill and hockey sense and hope it all comes together.

The Sleeper: Robbie Baillargeon, Center

Baillargeon is a pretty smart player, with arguably high-end hockey sense. That's pretty much his only standout skill, but he's a decent all-around player.

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Ottawa Senators Organizational Top 10

Players 22 or under as of 09/15/2012 or still considered a prospect as defined here.

1. Erik Karlsson, Defense
2. Mika Zibanejad, Center
3. Cody Ceci, Defense
4. Jakob Silfverberg, Right Wing
5. Jared Cowen, Defense
6.Mark Stone, Right Wing
7. Shane Prince, Left Wing
8. Stephane Da Costa, Center
9.Stefan Noesen, Right Wing
10.Patrick Wiercioch, Defense

I don't think number one is any real surprise. The reigning Norris Trophy winner may have been somewhat cushioned by zone starts this past season, but Karlsson's talent and output are very desirable and he should be a top player for many seasons. There's merit to the fact he didn't log the toughest minutes relative to other top defenders in the league, but he also just turned 22 in May. There are top D prospects who at 21 are just entering the league, never mind putting up 78 points. As Karlsson ages, he should steadily gain more defensive value. Cowen did fine for a player his age in his first season. While he's not exactly a significant player in the lineup as of now, he showed flashes of the player he could be in his rookie year and pretty soon he could be a tough-minutes defender that pitches in with average offensive totals.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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Summer Skate (08/25)
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Top 10 Prospects (08/23)
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Top 10 Prospects (08/28)
Next Article >>
Top 10 Prospects (08/28)

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