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Senators build for the future with five picks in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft

June 30, 2023

The Belleville Senators have benefitted from their affiliation with a parent club that consistently emphasizes the National Hockey League Entry Draft. Many of the top players that help to make Belleville competitive each season are draft picks. At the same time, many of the elite talents on the Ottawa roster first learned their professional skills in the Bay of Quinte Region. 

Already boasting one of the best developmental systems, the organization was pleased to make five selections on Thursday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville as they continue to build for a bright future.

Hoyt Stanley – fourth round (108th overall)

After patiently waiting through the first three rounds, the Senators were undoubtedly delighted to take right-shot defenceman Hoyt Stanley with their first selection. The 6-foot-2, 187-pound blueliner registered 37 points (four goals, 34 assists) in 53 games this season with the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League. He was also named to the All-Rookie Team. Stanley is currently committed to playing at Cornell University this fall.

Matthew Andonovski – fifth round (140th overall)

In the fifth round, Ottawa took another rearguard. Through 67 contests with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of Markham, Ontario, recorded 16 assists and had a stellar plus-25 rating. The physically imposing, Andonovski also led his team with 85 penalty minutes last season. 

Owen Beckner – seventh round (204th overall)

After missing the sixth round, the Senators would once again take a prospect from the BCHL, tapping forward Owen Beckner from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Colorado College commit registered 50 points (17 goals, 33 assists) in 53 games. The left-shot centreman finished tied for the team lead in points.

Vladimir Nikitin- seventh round (207th overall)

Ottawa made some history with the selection of Vladimir Nikitin, as he became the first player from Kazakhstan to be drafted by the franchise. The 6-foot-4, 194-pound netminder posted a record of 18-6-0 with a 2.07 GAA, .924 SV%, and three shutouts in 24 appearances in the regular-season with Barys Astana U20 team and had a perfect 9-0-0 record in nine playoff games with a 1.56 GAA and .925 SV%. He also helped Kazakhstan earn a Gold Medal at the Under-18 World Championships (Division 1) and was named the top goaltender in the tournament. Nikitin is expected to join the Chilliwack Chiefs next season. 

Nicholas Vantassell – seventh round (215th overall)

The Senators’ draft concluded with the selection of Nicholas Vantassell. The 6-foot-4, 196-pound native of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, had 37 points (19 goals, 18 assists) in 62 games with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League. The right-handed power forward is committed to the University of Massachusetts for next season.

The busy offseason schedule continues as prospects will now suit up for development camp at the Canadian Tire Centre this coming week. Players from this draft and past entry selections will compete as they continue to try and impress the Senators’ executives, talent evaluators and coaches throughout the event.