Most Bruins fans know the name Zachary Senyshyn by now. If you don’t, he was taken by the Bruins in the 1st round of this past summer’s 2015 NHL draft. Boston had the 13th, 14th, and 15th overall picks and they selected Senyshyn at 15th overall. Currently he is playing for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League. Last night I had the opportunity to watch him live when his Greyhounds played the Sudbury Wolves.
Senyshyn is known for his offensive abilities and he lived up to the hype by scoring two 3rd period goals Wednesday night. The first goal, he picked up the puck in the defensive zone and carried it towards two Wolves defenders. He dragged the puck under the stick of one defenseman and was able to collect the puck again while splitting the defense. He finished the play with a backhand shot that got through the Sudbury goalie.
Senyshyn’s second goal was on an odd man rush that he started in the defensive zone. He received the puck back in the neutral zone and buried a wrister from just below the top of the circles. To add to it, the Greyhounds also scored while Senyshyn was firmly standing in front of the net screening the goalie.
Overall, I thought he was good but not great. He did get better as the game went on. It is really hard to gauge because I am not sure in this particular game that if I didn’t know who he was if he would have stood out as a top prospect for the Bruins.
The player that kept popping into my head while I was watching Senyshyn was Jack Eichel. Last year I got to see Eichel play at the University of Vermont when his visiting Boston University team was in Burlington to play the Catamounts. Senyshyn, like Eichel, has a nonchalant look to his game. It almost looks like he is not really trying mainly because it comes naturally easy to him, or at least that is what it seems. I am not saying Senyshyn is going to be Jack Eichel. I am just saying, to me, they have some similarities. Senyshyn showed good speed, but not quickness. Also I would have to say that he needs to be stronger with the puck, but that will come as his body fills out.
Regarding the gameplay in general I thought that NCAA hockey is faster and definitely more structured at the defensive end. With that being said, most of the players competing in NCAA hockey have exhausted their junior eligibility, meaning they’re older and in their early 20’s. That leads to more of a men’s style game with solid structure and systems. The 18-year-old Jack Eichel’s of the NCAA hockey world are a rarity. Whereas in Canadian junior hockey where Senyshyn plays all of their stars are that age.
Sudbury won the game 6-4. There were 7 goals scored in the 3rd period. No one was playing defense.
Senyshyn is a certainly a good prospect for the Bruins. With Wednesday nights performance he now has 26 goals this season in just 37 games. That’s the same amount of goals as he scored all last year in 66 games. That puts him on pace for nearly 50 goals this season.
In my opinion though he is not close to NHL ready and he will need some sort of AHL seasoning in Providence. I would have liked to seen him in the recent World Junior Championship tournament to see if he could turn up his game against greater competition in his age bracket. Since Senyshyn has signed an entry level contract with the Bruins once his junior season is over he will most likely play for the Providence Bruins. At that time we will have a better gauge on where he is at in his development. Unfortunately Senyshyn will not be eligible to play in the AHL in the 2016-2017 season because he will not turn 20 until March 30, 2017. A CHL player must turn 20 by December 31 of that season to be able to play in the AHL. I am not going to get into my feelings regarding this rule, but you can read a previous article regarding CHL – NHL Agreement. So if Senyshyn does not make the Bruins next season he will be back playing for Sault Ste Marie.