The Ottawa Senators have signed top draft pick Lassi Thomson to his three-year entry-level contract. Thomson was selected 19th overall in last month’s draft, and is expected to return to Finland this year after one season with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. Senators GM Pierre Dorion released a statement on the young defenseman:
Lassi has great offensive instincts and an NHL-caliber shot. He also brings a high compete level – he’s always moving his feet and driving the pace of play. We came away from development camp in Ottawa very impressed and feel that he is going to be an important piece of our team’s future.
Thomson, 18, put up 41 points in 63 games for the Rockets in his one year of CHL hockey, but will really be tested in 2019-20 in his first year playing in Finland’s top league. His skating ability pushed him up draft boards throughout the year, though some still saw his selection as something of a reach given his rank on many prospect lists. NHL Central Scouting had him 15th among North American skaters, but he ended up going ahead of players like Arthur Kaliyev and Philip Tomasino. Still, the fleet-footed defenseman adds another high-ceiling prospect into an Ottawa system that is starting to fill up nicely.
With Thomas Chabot ready to take his place among the elite defensemen in the NHL, he’ll need some running mates before long on the Ottawa blue line. That’s where Thomson and top prospect Erik Brannstrom come in, hopefully forming a core that can be relied on for years to come. Each of them can carry the puck extremely well, an obvious talent that the Senators are prioritizing as they rebuild their club from the ground up.