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Ottawa Senators prospect Zack Ostapchuk just wrapped up his final year of junior hockey, where he split his time between the Vancouver Giants and the Winnipeg Ice. Ostapchuk has shown some promising development over his years in the WHL, and the next step for him will be proving his talent at the pro level. In this article, I will review Ostapchuk’s season and discuss some NHL-comparable players that he may resemble in the future.
Zack Ostapchuk’s Season Statistics
Zack Ostapchuk just finished his fifth WHL season this past year. This season marks the first time Ostapchuk has finished with above a point per game, as he scored 67 points in 55 games. He also went on to score 15 points in 18 games in the playoffs with Winnipeg. Ostapchuk also had an even strength goals for percentage of 63.11% (65 goals for, 35 goals against).
His success didn’t just come in the WHL however. Ostapchuk also competed in his second World Junior Tournament of his career this season. Ostapchuk played an important role in the bottom 6 for Team Canada and helped the team go on to win gold in both 2022 and 2023. Ostapchuk put up 3 points in 7 games during both tournaments, while also playing a physically sound defensive game for the Canadians.
Ostapchuk’s Projection In The NHL
Zack Ostapchuk has quite a promising future according to hockey prospect models that project junior player’s NHL careers. According to the RankKing model, Ostapchuk has a PNHLe score of 48.0 which projects his points ceiling as a second-line forward at the NHL level.
Dobber Prospects Scouting Profile describes Ostapchuk as a “physical forward with a powerful stride and slick stickhandling ability.” This makes me think of a utility player that can be moved up and down the lineup for injury replacements. Ostapchuk also seems like a player who can succeed in either a middle or bottom 6 role depending on what the team needs, given the tool kit he has.
While I certainly believe Ostapchuk can be a top 6 forward in the future, I don’t see that happening with the Ottawa Senators. I see Ostapchuk as more of a third/fourth-line player on the Senators long-term. I think he will be a very valuable forechecker who plays a solid 2-way game, and I see him playing on the penalty kill at the NHL level.
Some NHL Comparable Players For Ostapchuk
Zack Ostapchuk has a wide variety of players that I could see him turning into in the future. Below I have listed a few players that I believe his game resembles, as well as a PNHLe comparable player listed by RankKing.
This is one player who had a very similar points projection at the same age as Ostapchuk according to RankKing. McGinn is a reliable bottom 6 forward who has been able to chip in some points offensively. As a defensive forward, McGinn has been elite and has helped shut down opponents wherever he has played.
This chart shows Brock McGinn in the 92nd percentile in terms of even-strength defence. I could see Zack Ostapchuk turning himself into a Brock McGinn-like player, where he could be one of the better defensive forwards while also contributing 10-15 goals and 20-30 points. I don’t think this is the ceiling for Ostapchuk, but it would make him valuable nonetheless.
This is not one of the analytically comparable players for Zack Ostapchuk, but it is a player that I believe his game resembles. Sens fans of course are very familiar with the game of Nick Paul, and I think Ostapchuk could become a similar player. Both guys have a similar build, Ostapchuk (6’3 205lbs) and Paul (6’4 225lbs), and have a Swiss army feel to their game where they can do a bit of everything.
This chart doesn’t include data from this season, but it does show that Paul, like McGinn, has been a defensive specialist. Nick Paul put up a career-high 17 goals this season and matched a career-high in assists with 15. I believe that Ostapchuk has the potential to put up similar numbers to Paul, while also playing a sound defensive game like him.
The final player that I think is a good comparison for Zack Ostapchuk is Adam Lowry of the Winnipeg Jets. Lowry is another big forward with a very broad skill set, allowing him to play the game in different ways. Like Paul and Ostapchuk, I would describe Lowry as a Swiss army knife, and once again as somebody who can play up and down in the lineup. While the offence may not be the A-game, he can still contribute some consistent third-line scoring while playing a really solid defensive game.
This post-season is where Adam Lowry showed how effective of a player he is. In round one against the Golden Knights, Lowry had 4 goals and an assist in 5 games. Lowry was able to perform extremely well at both ends of the ice against the eventual Stanley Cup Champions. If Ostapchuk becomes an Adam Lowry quality player, he will be incredibly valuable to the Sens organization.
Fans and analysts always talk about how big, skilled guys like Paul and Lowry are the types of players you want in the playoffs. If Ostapchuk reaches his potential, I see him falling into that same category of players. As a guy who takes his game to the next level when the lights shine the brightest.
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