The Ottawa Senators have signed centre Mark Kastelic to a three-year entry-level contract on Thursday.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) April 9, 2020
Ottawa Senators sign Mark Kastelic
Kastelic is 21-years-old, and recently completed his fifth and final year of junior hockey with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. As team captain, Kastelic was tied for the team lead in scoring this season with 38 goals, 30 assists for 68 points in 58 games. Ottawa drafted Kastelic with the 125th overall pick in the 2019 draft. During the 2018-2019 season, he scored 47 goals and 77 points, which jumped his previous career high by 33 points. Kastelic, who is from Phoenix, Arizona, is a big physical player. He is 6’3, 221 pounds, and recorded 122 penalty minutes during his draft year. This season he toned it down by recording 83 penalty minutes.
Ottawa Senators general manager, Pierre Dorion, spoke about Kastelic in a press release.
“Since being drafted just last June, Mark has worked hard to earn this contract,” said Dorion. “We were pleased to see how he progressed in his overage season in Calgary, where he served as Hitmen captain for two consecutive seasons, and where he was on track to post his most productive major junior season. He’s a solid two-way centre who shows strong attention to detail in his play.”
Here are some highlights of Kastelic during his draft year.
What This Means for the Future
Kastelic’s junior hockey career is similar to that of former Ottawa Senator, Zack Smith. Smith played in the Western Hockey League as well for the Swift Current Broncos, and was not a big scorer in junior until his fourth season. In his fourth year, (2007-2008) Smith scored 70 points which beat his career high by 39 points. He was also a physical player, racking up 266 penalty minutes over his last two seasons. Similar to Kastelic, Smith was drafted by Ottawa after his fourth season in junior, but he jumped right into the AHL instead of going back for his fifth season in the WHL.
Due to the similarities between the two players, if Kastelic does make the NHL, he will probably have a similar role as Smith as a bottom six forward. Due to Ottawa’s deep prospect pool, Kastelic will probably start next year as a bottom six AHL player. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he will have to wait long to get his NHL opportunity. Since D.J Smith became Ottawa’s head coach, he and the organization have rewarded players who have worked hard. Therefore, a player like J.C Beaudin, who is a third year bottom-six player with the AHL’s Belleville Senators, has seen time in the NHL this year because of his work ethic. If Kastelic can be one of the hardest working players for Belleville, he could earn his way to the NHL over other more skilled players.