The Ottawa Senators are gearing up to sign one of their top defensive prospects, reports Bruce Garrioch of The Ottawa Sun and TSN. Tyler Kleven’s college season has come to a close, and Garrioch notes that talks between the Senators and his agent, Craig Oster, “will likely begin soon.”
Kleven, 21, is a strong one-on-one defender and has decent zone exit skills, too. However, it’s his offensive game that showed signs of growth throughout three seasons at the University of North Dakota. After notching just two goals and 12 assists in 62 games with the United States National U18 Team during his draft year, Kleven’s offensive totals steadily grew in college. That growth culminated in an eight-goal, 18-point campaign in 35 games in 2022-23.
The 44th overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft could join the Senators this year, although it’s unclear whether he would head to NHL Ottawa or AHL Belleville. Garrioch remarks he has “little doubt” that Kleven will want his entry-level contract to start immediately rather than deferring until 2023-24 and joining the Belleville Senators on a tryout for the remainder of 2022-23.
Kleven’s season came to an end last night with a 3-2 overtime loss to St. Cloud State in the NCHC semifinals. He didn’t record a point but registered a +1 rating.