Thomas Chabot is NHL Ready, The Ottawa Senators Are Not

MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 05: Colin White #18 of Team United States falls as he skates the puck against Thomas Chabot #5 of Team Canada during the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal game at the Bell Centre on January 5, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

As training camp approaches, NHL teams get geared up for the upcoming season. Although the Ottawa Senators haven’t released their training camp schedule yet, it’s safe to say Thomas Chabot is ready to shine when camps open. After coming off a dominating 45 point season in 32 games for the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL. Not only did he impress in the regular season, he was also cooking with gas in the playoffs with 23 points in 18 games. He was also named the MVP of the tournament at the World Juniors tallying 10 points in seven games. It looks like Chabot is ready to make the jump. Many have him listed as one of the best defensive prospects currently not in the pros right now. You can guarantee he’ll be ready to perform at camp.

What will he have to do?

Thomas Chabot will have to simply stand out at camp. He has a lot of competition in front of him, so proving his worth and improvements from previous years is pivotal for him. With the Sens recent signing of Johnny Oduya, the Senators are hinting that they’re prepared for anything that comes their way. Many experts have eluded to Oduya playing with Karlsson on the first pair. That might be the most realistic thing but can Thomas Chabot take that spot away? It’s common knowledge Guy Boucher throws his lines in a blender, expect Chabot to play on all pairings throughout camp so staff can see his progression and how he handles situations. Although he’ll be scattered at camp, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Chabot paired up with bottom pairing defensemen most of the time.

Thomas Chabot Vs Fredrik Claesson

Another talented young defensemen the Sens have is Fredrik Claesson. Claesson played 33 games in the past season while registering 11 points, he contributed to three points in 14 games in the playoffs for the Senators. While those aren’t prominent numbers for most people out there, Claesson was more known for his puck possession. He is likely one of the defencemen Chabot will be battling for the third pairing spot at camp. If Chabot doesn’t end up cracking the lineup, the Sens will look to Fredrik Claesson coming into that role.

Thomas Chabot Vs Mark Borowiecki

Yes you read that correct. Mark Borowiecki. Although Borowiecki suffered an injury in the first round against the Boston Bruins, the Sens relied on him heavily all throughout the season. Pierre Dorion and Guy Boucher spoke about him being the tough guy physically. Definitely physically, and mentally also. In the purest sense, Borowiecki fills a role on the Senators blueline, that Chabot cannot play. The question management needs to ask, is which roles leads to more success? There’s no doubt Chabot is a better puck mover than Borowiecki, but the Sens are the type of team to flirt with experience on their bottom pairing, at least one of their players on the bottom pair.

If Chabot does make the team, does he play third pairing minutes while Borowiecki and Claesson sit in the 7th and 8th spot? It’s likely the organization will value the experience of Claesson and Borowiecki ahead of Chabot, but with how highly the team value’s their top prospect, it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to leapfrog the pair in the depth chart.

Erik Karlsson’s Partner

With the loss of Marc Methot to expansion, who in the world is Erik Karlsson‘s partner? With the signing of Oduya, all signs point to him as being paired up with EK.  Chabot coming up this year, it’s led to some fans asking themselves if Chabot can pair up with Karlsson. In his limited NHL time, Chabot did spend a portion with Karlsson, although that appeared to be a method to shelter the young blueliner. Although the dynamism of a Chabot-Karlsson pairing is exciting, it’s unlikely.

The Senators aren’t a team to throw a talented young guy into the wolves, respectfully so. Sometimes when a team does that to a young player of theirs it leads to them development and growth issues for the player. Although it would be wonderful to see Chabot and Karlsson together for the Sens, it might be a lot to handle for the youngster in his first year. All in all it’s safe to bet Oduya will be Karlsson’s partner. A veteran alongside a superstar with both of them having experience is a fine duo for the Sens.

Final Verdict on Thomas Chabot

Based on the Senators love of role players – read Borowiecki – and their crowded blueline, it’s unlikely Chabot will find himself a regular on the team’s backend. Add to that the team’s trepidation about starting players too young, like they did with Cody Ceci and Curtis Lazar, and there is a possible situation where the defender doesn’t make the jump to the NHL at all. If Thomas Chabot does make the team, it’ll be a treat for Sens fans. If he doesn’t, he’ll be gaining experience and getting ready for the year after. No matter what happens, the Sens have a great caliber type of player in Thomas Chabot.

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