Looking to make the leap: Nick Paul

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This is part of Ottawa Senators day at PHT…

At this point the Ottawa Senators have very little to show for the 2014 trade that sent Jason Spezza to the Dallas Stars.

Two of the players acquired in that blockbuster, Alex Guptill and Alex Chiasson, have already been traded in minor deals, while the second-round pick they received (used as part of another trade to move up in round two to select Gabriel Gagne) has yet to play in an NHL game.

The only other player still with the organization is 21-year-old forward Nick Paul, and he is looking like their best chance to salvage something from a trade that at the moment is looking to be terribly one-sided.

Somewhat of a late-bloomer in his junior league days playing for the Brampton/North Bay Battalion, Paul is a big, defensively responsible forward that spent the 2015-16 season split between the Binghamton Senators in the AHL and a brief look with the big club toward the end of the regular season. His first of year of pro hockey saw him record 17 points in 45 games in the AHL, and then add two goals and three assists in 24 games in Ottawa.

At this point he is probably not a lock to make the roster coming out of camp because the Senators have a lot of options at the forward positions. That is especially in the bottom-six with veterans Chris Kelly, Chris Neil, Zack Smith and Jean-Gabriel Pageau all locked into spots.

That means Paul is going to have to take a spot/playing time from somebody like Curtis Lazar or Ryan Dzingel. And he just might be able to do that because working in his favor, aside from the fact he is still only 21 years old, is that he has the size and defensive skills teams tend to want in their bottom-six.

He may not ever become a top offensive player in the NHL, but if he can give the Senators 20-30 points and play a strong defensive game there is a lot of value in having that in your bottom-six.