Though just nominated for the Hobey Baker yesterday, Ottawa Senators prospect Josh Norris will not play again this season for the University of Michigan. According to Brad Galli of WXYZ Detroit, Norris suffered an injury at the World Juniors that will keep him out for the remainder of the season. The 19-year old was in his sophomore season with the Wolverines, and had 19 points in 17 games.
The question now becomes whether the Senators will try to convince Norris to leave college and sign his first pro contract, given his apparent readiness to contribute next season. Acquired from the San Jose Sharks as part of the Erik Karlsson trade, Norris was first selected as the 19th overall pick in the 2017 draft. After a solid freshman season he had been arguably the best forward on the Michigan roster for the first part of the season and looked ready to make the jump to professional hockey. Whether that will be in Ottawa next season is likely a big selling point, as he very well could choose to stay in college instead of playing in the minor leagues.
Ottawa though will likely have plenty of opportunity in 2019-20 for a player like Norris. A two-way center with enough size and strength to compete all over the ice, he has grown into his playmaking potential over the last year and could look extremely dangerous next to offensive wingers like Brady Tkachuk or Mark Stone. Given the uncertainty around the future of center Matt Duchene, the team could have a young replacement ready to step into some of those minutes if they can convince Norris to leave school.