The Ottawa Senators keep adding to their pipeline of prospects for the future.
Senators general manager Bryan Murray today announced the signing of forwards Jakob Silfverberg
and Louie Caporusso
to entry-level contracts. Silfverberg, a second-round pick (39th overall) by the Senators in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, inked a three-year deal, while Caporusso, a third-rounder (90th overall) in the 2007 draft, received a two-year contract.
The Senators have high hopes in particular for the 20-year-old Silfverberg, who represented Sweden at the 2011 IIHF World Hockey Championship in Slovakia. But assistant general manager Tim Murray said that's to be expected from a second-round selection.
"We think he’s got a chance to be a real good NHL forward, a top-six NHL forward who can score, who competes hard and plays the game the proper way and plays all three zones hard," Murray said of the native of Gavle, Sweden. "We just think that, as a second-round pick, he should be a very good prospect and he’s on that line right now."
His arrival in Ottawa, however, is at least another year away. Silfverberg has decided to return to the Swedish Elite League for a third season with Brynas, for whom he recorded 18 goals and 16 assists — both professional career highs — in 53 games in 2010-11.
"He just thinks he needs to play one more year there and really dominate the league if he can — that’s his plan — and get stronger," Tim Murray said of the 6-1, 187-pound forward. "He feels, after one more year there, he’ll be ready to come over here and play in the National Hockey League. We’re certainly not against that. We don’t want to rush him.
"We saw in (defenceman) David Rundblad this year, playing his third year in the league, a real dominant performance that should translate into bypassing the American Hockey League and becoming a good NHL player."
Rundblad notched 11 goals and 50 points last season, tops among all Swedish league defencemen, in helping lead Skelleftea HC to the playoff championship series. He is expected to challenge strongly for a spot on the Senators blue line when training camp opens in September.
Caporusso, meanwhile, is likely bound for the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators after completing a standout four-year career at the University of Michigan, during which he totalled 68 goals and 144 points.
"He’s an extremely smart player and a skilled player," said Tim Murray. "I expect him to come in here and have a good training camp. We’ll work with him all summer to get stronger and quicker. After training camp, he probably ends up in Binghamton and I hope he can carve out a space for himself on an offensive line and a power play unit."