Nothing Shabby About Chabot
SENATORS: A Week in Review is a weekly column looking back at the week in Ottawa Senators hockey written by OLMSports Dave Gross.
Feature photo Courtesy CP
Circling back to the draft of 2015 and while most will focus on the introduction of wunder-kid Connor McDavid to the ranks of the National Hockey League, it was a choice first round for plenty of clubs, including the Ottawa Senators.
Ottawa held both the 18th and 21st selections in that first round and took – in order – Thomas Chabot from the Q's Saint John Sea Dogs then Colin White from the U.S. National Development Team.
Initially there wasn't much chatter regarding Chabot. Steady and reliable was the scouting report. That was about it.
Regarding White though, the talk was louder and more substantial: Future star, potential captain-material.
Nearly three years later, the volume's picked up on Chabot while White continues to slowly develop.
Chabot's ability to raise eyebrows arrived in full flush during last season's world junior tournament. The then-19-year-old was named tournament MVP and the best player in the gold-medal game which the United States took (5-4) in a shootout.
Chabot logged nearly 44 minutes of ice time in that finale and bagged a goal and an assist.
From there, Chabot returned to the QMJHL and carried the Sea Dogs to the Memorial Cup tourney. Saint John was ousted in the semi-final, but boy was he a force . . . easily one of the best in the tourney.
“He’s an amazing defenceman and he’s a good person on and off the ice,” Taylor Raddysh told Sportsnet at the time. Raddysh skated for Erie, the team that eliminated Saint John and a teammate from the 2017 WJC. “He’s a leader.”
Chabot's growth curve has proven large. When he first joined Saint John as a 16-year-old he hardly spoke a word of English. Now he's comfortable.
This season, Chabot's story continues to unfold and impress . . . and he looks pretty comfortable doing it.
Since the Senators decided to face up to the obvious (the playoffs just were not going to happen), Chabot's been handed big NHL minutes to develop. Four times in January he topped the 20-minute mark in games.
Can't see that slowing down.
Sure there are breakdowns in his own zone (as we saw versus Montreal on Sunday) – the signature of any young blueliner – but his arsenal of weaponry and poise makes that easy to overlook.
In time Chabot will be a complete, top-drawer NHLer.
Not bad for an 18th overall pick skirting fanfare and plaudits just a couple of seasons ago.
NEWS, NOTES AND NOTIONS: It's not looking like a great year for Canadian clubs and the playoff chase. We can pretty well surmise, at this point, that Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton and Vancouver will certainly be on the outside looking in. Calgary is scuffling and in a dogfight for the final posting out west. Of the remaining? Winnipeg and Toronto are both in. The Jets are considered by some as a Stanley Cup contender (now that they have goaltending) . . . Last season, five of the seven Canadian teams made the playoffs . . . The season before? 0-for-7. Not one Canadian representative . . . You know it's not Montreal's year when Carey Price goes on a 2-9-2 'run.' But that's where he sat heading into Sunday's game against Ottawa . . . Hard to recall a time in recent memory when the Bell Centre was as quiet as it was on Sunday . . . TSN 1200's John Rodenburg hit the nail on the proverbial head when he tweeted this during the opening period: "These 2 teams are playing like they were at a Super Bowl party last night and the fans were too." . . . Boston superman Zdeno Chara played in his 1,400th game on Saturday. He turns 41 next month and reportedly has no desire to retire. I have no desire to argue with him. Few do . . . Nobody wants the Bruins in the first round but it looks like Toronto won't have a choice: a B's-Buds first-rounder is a near certainty given the standings. With Tuukka Rask playing out of his head – 18-0-2 in his last 20 games – and an influx of quality youth to complement superb seasons from Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, Boston is a monumental mountain to climb.
THE WEEK AHEAD:
Tuesday, Feb. 6: New Jersey at Ottawa (7:30 pm)
Thursday, Feb. 8: Nashville at Ottawa (7:30 pm)
Saturday, Feb. 10: Ottawa at Toronto (7 pm)