It was a tough start offensively for the third of Boston’s 2015 first-round draft picks, a season after putting up 45 goals for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, but a productive November has right wing Zach Senyshyn back up near the top of the B’s prospects scoring list.
The Nepean, Ont. Native has the size, speed and hands to do a lot of scoring damage, especially off the rush. The 19-year-old has NHL-caliber burst and open-ice speed, often blowing by flat-footed defenders to drive straight to the net and find the twine with a lightning release and close-in finishing ability. He’s got nine goals in 20 games- a respectable if not career-best scoring pace, but the season is still young, and Senyshyn has helped his Greyhounds to a share of 1st place with the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL’s West Division.
Senyshyn had a tough summer, missing the July prospects development camp due to a bout with mononucleosis, and then went through an emergency appendectomy a couple of weeks before the start of rookie camp in Boston, missing the prospects tournament in Buffalo. Although he was able to attend the B’s veteran camp, he was still on the mend and went back down to junior in pretty short order.
Although the fast foodies out there demanded instant success and gratification with his offensive statistics regardless of the health-related setbacks, reality had a different plan in mind and it took Senyshyn some time to get himself into gear. He’s playing a more consistent and dangerous game these days, exploiting defenses with his speed and offensive hockey sense. Obviously, you don’t want to completely dismiss some of the early concerns associated with the lack of scoring, but the reality of the situation is that Senyshyn is too talented to be held in check for long. Whether that translates into the kind of production that certain self-important segments of the punditry and fan castes deem worthy of a player of his draft position remains to be seen (and to be frank- is completely beside the point).
Senyshyn is still addressing his all-around game and demonstrating more of a willingness to go and get pucks himself and provide defensive zone support. He’s a pretty proven commodity on offense, but in order to thrive in Boston, the 15th overall pick will have to assert himself more and that’s been a benefit of going back to the OHL for one more season. The offense is starting to click for him, but the real measure of Senyshyn’s development and progress are the little things that don’t manifest themselves on the offensive side of the ledger.
So far, so good. (And, Senyshyn avoided an automatic two-game suspension last week after getting a match penalty for slew-footing…The Greyhounds successfully got the ban overturned on appeal.)
Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and center Colby Cave have impressed down in Providence in recent weeks.
Although the offense has been fleeting and the Baby Bruins are a rollercoaster adventure this season under first-year head coach Kevin Dean, things are starting to come together more consistently on both sides of the puck.
Grzelcyk is second in scoring by defensemen (Alex Grant’s 5 goals and 12 points in 16 games paces Providence) and is demonstrating confidence with and without the puck, especially over the past two weeks. The former Boston University captain and third-round pick by the Bruins in 2012 is using his speed, head and hands to boost the transition game and is improving his positional play while not getting too far out of the box on his own physical limitations.
As Claude Julien has stated many times before, with undersized defenders playing ‘smart’ hockey is key- there are just certain situations and matchups coaches will avoid when they can, but guys like Grzelcyk come equipped to overcome the size and strength deficit.
In the early going, his stick positioning and gap control has been capable for a first-year pro. He’s filling lanes and showing a willingness to sacrifice his body to get in front of shots. When the Charlestown native gets the puck on his stick, he’s moving with his head up and can rapidly process and move the play to the right spot on the ice.
Cave, who is in his second full AHL season, is just a solid two-way center who brings versatility and opportunistic play to the mix. The undrafted free agent out of the WHL captained the Swift Current Broncos and was an effective player who could round out a bottom line in the NHL eventually. Despite the pretty average size, Cave could be a serviceable third-liner at some point, but he’s more of a projection as a fourth-liner and penalty killer who is a disruptive presence on the fore check and stands out for his effort, energy and opportunistic offense. We’re not big fans of making player comparisons, but there are some similarities to Dominic Moore, especially if he can raise his faceoffs to the next level.
These are two players to keep an eye on going forward; their effort levels and production of late could be rewarded with NHL time if Boston’s depth is tested yet again.
Amateur Prospects as of 11/28/16
|Anders Bjork, Notre Dame||HE-NCAA||14||9||14||23||4|
|Jesse Gabrielle, Prince George||WHL||20||12||10||22||24|
|Zach Senyshyn, SSM||OHL||20||9||8||17||15|
|Jakub Zboril, Saint John*||QMJHL||16||6||10||16||10|
|Ryan Fitzgerald, BC||HE-NCAA||16||5||11||16||22|
|Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, BU||HE- NCAA||12||2||10||12||10|
|Ryan Donato, Harvard||ECAC- NCAA||9||5||6||11||8|
|Trent Frederic, Wisconsin**||Big10- NCAA||8||4||6||10||8|
|Cameron Hughes, Wisconsin||Big10- NCAA||12||2||8||10||6|
|Charlie McAvoy, BU||HE-NCAA||12||1||9||10||6|
|Jeremy Lauzon, Rouyn-Noranda||QMJHL||9||2||6||8||2|
|Jack Becker, Sioux Falls**||USHL||15||2||3||5||26|
|Cameron Clarke, Ferris St.||WCHA- NCAA||14||0||4||4||14|
|Wiley Sherman, Harvard||ECAC-NCAA||9||0||3||3||8|
|Ryan Lindgren, Minnesota||Big10- NCAA||12||0||1||1||26|
* Suspended 5 games for hit to head of opponent
Pro and European Prospects
|Joona Koppanen, Ilves Jr.||U20- Finland||19||9||17||26||2|
|Peter Cehlarik, Providence||AHL||16||8||6||14||6|
|Anton Blidh, Providence||AHL||19||5||4||9||22|
|Matt Grzelcyk, Providence||AHL||19||1||8||9||4|
|Danton Heinen, Providence||AHL||9||5||3||8||0|
|Colby Cave, Providence||AHL||19||3||5||8||11|
|Emil Johansson, Djurgarden IF||Sweden- Elite||18||3||4||7||6|
|Jake DeBrusk, Providence||AHL||19||3||4||7||6|
|Colton Hargrove, Providence||AHL||16||3||3||6||18|
|Austin Czarnik, Providence#||AHL||2||1||2||3||0|
|Sean Kuraly, Providence||AHL||10||0||2||2||9|
|Rob O’Gara, Providence||AHL||14||0||2||2||2|
|Chris Casto, Providence||AHL||16||0||1||1||18|
|Linus Arnesson, Providence||AHL||16||0||1||1||4|
|Oskar Steen, Farjestad||Sweden- Elite||19||1||1||0||2|
|Brian Ferlin, Providence||AHL||1||0||0||0||0|
|Justin Hickman, Providence||AHL||4||0||0||0||5|
|Zane McIntyre, Atlanta||ECHL||1||0||1||0.93||.973|
|Dan Vladar, Providence||AHL||6||3||0 (3)||2.84||.914|
|Malcolm Subban, Providence||AHL||10||1||6 (4)||3.15||.895|
# Czarnik recalled to Boston
Tyler Randell, Tommy Cross, Alex Grant > age 25- not listed