Mark Kastelic has proven enough that he belongs in the NHL. The new fourth line center for the Ottawa Senators is now locked up for two more seasons, and deservedly so. The contract extension will carry an annual amount of $835,000 per season until the 2025-26 season.
Despite only playing 23 career games, this contract was a tidy piece of business for GM Pierre Dorion. It serves as another success story for the Sens, especially revolving around their draft success.
Back in the 2019 NHL draft, the Senators were at their lowest point as a franchise. Despite finishing dead last in the league, they did not have their 1st round pick, which was sent away as part of the Matt Duchene trade. So, it would have been easy for fans to dismiss this draft, and not be interested in their later round picks.
One of those late draft picks was Kastelic, picked 123rd overall in the 5th round. Kastelic was taken as a 20-year-old center, recently coming off a strong WHL season. He was third in WHL goal scoring with 47, along with 30 assists in 66 games. But the writing was on the wall, he was picked to be a hard working, bottom six center.
When drafted, he was a 6’4" center with a 60% face off rate, scoring at a 50-goal pace. Looking back, Kastelic was the perfect 5th round selection. He is the only pick in the 2019 5th round to play NHL games so far. And he looks like he belongs.
Through 23 career games, Kastelic has a 61% face off rate, which ranks 2nd in the league. He also ranks sixth in hits/60 in the league. But his offensive production from junior has transitioned well and should get better. Through 23 games, he has 6 points. For a 4th line center playing just under 9 minutes a night, these are solid numbers.
The Senators have had a lot of turnover since their rebuild started in 2018. Down the middle, the Senators should be set. Kastelic, Josh Norris, and Tim Stutzle are now all locked up for 3 seasons, which should create a sense of comfort for Sens fans. You can expect Kastelic to be a part of the Senators’ core for years to come, playing a major role on the 4th line.
By Damian Smith | Sens Nation Hockey