Jayce Hawryluk

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What is the Senators’ long-term outlook?

With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to review where each NHL team stands at this moment until the season resumes. Here we take a look at the long-term outlook for the Ottawa Senators.

Pending Free Agents

The Core

Outside of Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot, the Senators will be searching for a new core in the coming years. Due to the failures of the San Jose Sharks this past season, the Senators have two premium picks in the upcoming draft, including the second-and third-best odds to land the top selection per the current standings. In addition, they have six picks in the second and third round if they want to move up in the draft or acquire additional talent.

Similar to other rebuilding franchises, the tough decisions are looming. Their farm system has a number of potential pieces, but general manager Pierre Dorion needs to find a few difference makers.

Ottawa wisely signed Chabot to a long-term extension prior to the season and will most likely try to lock up Tkachuk this upcoming summer.

Colin White, a 23-year-old, has five years remaining on his contract upon the conclusion of this season and will likely play a central role in the years to come. For the next few seasons, the primary focus will be on player development not on-ice results.

Outside of Bobby Ryan’s contract which lasts until the end of the 2021-22 season, the Senators do not have a salary cap issue. Dorion could wisely use his cap space to acquire additional draft capital, or overpaid NHL players on the cheap as long as he does not exceed the internal budget.

While the Senators will not be making the Stanley Cup playoffs in the immediate future, they do have endless potential with a treasure trove of draft picks and valuable cap space. The biggest question ownership will face is if Dorion is the right general manager to lead them out of the abyss.

Long-Term Needs

The Senators have a need at every position. Chabot has proven himself to be an elite defenseman and Nikita Zaitsev is an NHL-caliber blueliner, but the team will need to develop or acquire a lot more talent.

Anthony Duclair is the type of player the Senators should be currently looking to fill their roster with for the short-term future. Ottawa could give players ample ice-time and special teams opportunities that other teams do not have patience for. Think of players such as former first-round pick Joshua Ho-Sang that are looking for a chance to prove themselves after a rough start to their career.

Long-Term Strengths

It was mentioned above, but the greatest strength of the Senators organization is the arsenal of draft picks and salary-cap flexibility. They have three first-round picks in the 2020 NHL Draft and 10 picks in the second and third round over the next two seasons. The decisions made this offseason and next will likely define the success of the franchise in the next decade.

MORE ON THE SENATORS:


Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

The Buzzer: Bob continues heater; Aho stars on Whalers Night

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Three stars

1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets

When Bob is hot, the Blue Jackets seem unbeatable. And Bob is certainly on a heater right now.

Bobrovsky picked up his second shutout in his past four starts, turning aside 39 shots the New Jersey Devils sent his way in a 3-0 win.

Things weren’t looking good for Columbus’ crease hero, but over the past six games, he’s been back to his winning ways, taking victories in five of those starts and losing in overtime in the other. His save percentage on the season has jumped up to .913 to go along with his 16-10-1 record.

Bob has won four straight, as have the Blue Jackets.

2. Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes

Two goals, four points on Whalers night? Someone showed up to make sure the men back in green collected a nice win in those beautiful threads.

Aho was spectacular in the game, scoring shorthanded and assisted on both of Teuvo Teravainen‘s goals as the ‘Canes bounced back from a 2-0 deficit with four unanswered goals.

It’s been an up and down year for Carolina, but it was nice to see them pick up the win after honoring their heritage on Sunday.

3. Jayce Hawryluk, Florida Panthers

Through his first four NHL games, Hawryluk hadn’t sniffed the scoresheet.

All of that changed on Sunday, however. The 22-year-old made the most of his limited ice-time, scoring twice — including on a breakaway — to get his first NHL goal and then his second right after it.

Highlights of the night

This was solid:

Hawryluk’s first NHL goal was just a product of hard work:

He did him dirty:

Factoids

Scores

Blue Jackets 3, Devils 0

Hurricanes (Whalers) 5, Bruins 3

Panthers 6, Blackhawks 3

Flyers 3, Rangers 2 (SO)

Maple Leafs 5, Red Wings 4 (OT)

Kings 4, Golden Knights 3 (OT)

Islanders 3, Stars 1

Coyotes 4, Sharks 3 (OT)

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Panthers’ Malgin eyeing bigger role this season

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The Florida Panthers are looking toward a bit of a youth movement this season after saying goodbye to veterans Jaromir Jagr and Jussi Jokinen this offseason. They have no shortage of options heading into the 2017-18 season, and one player that figures to get an expanded look is second-year forward Denis Malgin.

A fourth-round pick by the Panthers in 2015, Malgin was able to get a limited look with the team a year ago and was up-and-down a bit in 15 games, scoring three goals to go with nine assists.

Coming back for year two with a better understanding of what is going on around him — thanks to a better grasp of the language, as he explained to Alain Poupart of NHL.com recently — he should get a more consistent look in the Panthers’ bottom-six.

An early run of injuries forced him into the lineup probably earlier than the Panthers would have liked, but he showed flashes of skill that make him an intriguing prospect heading into this season.

Here is Panthers’ director of player development Bryan McCabe talking about his progress, via NHL.com.

“He’s a highly skilled individual,” Panthers director of player personnel Bryan McCabe said of Malgin. “He maybe played a little faster than we would have liked, but that was out of necessity, not necessarily because we wanted him here. We had a ton of injuries and he’s a really skilled player, so he was kind of thrust in the limelight.

“He maybe needed some more seasoning … that’s why [he attended development] camp. We’re trying to build him back up a little. He had an up-and-down year; we want to make sure his confidence is high when he comes into camp this year.”

Including Malgin the Panthers already have at least six players under the age of 24 on the roster for this upcoming season, while prospects like Owen Tippett and Jayce Hawryluk figure to have a chance to make the team and make an impact. The Panthers have a really strong young core built around Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, and Aaron Ekblad, but injuries and some regression across the board this past season resulted in a bitterly disappointing 2016-17 season. They are looking to rebound this season.