The Ottawa Senators have signed goaltender Kevin Mandolese to a three-year, entry-level contract. The deal will take Mandolese through 2022-23. The team announced the move early Monday afternoon.
— Sens Communications (@Media_Sens) April 13, 2020
Senators Sign Kevin Mandolese
Mandolese has been playing with Cape Breton in the QMJHL for the past four seasons. 2019-20 was the best year for the 19-year-old prospect. Mandolese posted a .925 save percentage and 2.33 goals-against average. His numbers made him one of the top goaltenders in the Quebec League before the league halted operations earlier this year.
The Senators originally drafted Mandolese in the sixth round of the 2018 NHL Draft. He has NHL size at 6’4″ and does a good job squaring up shooters according to our own Ben Kerr. There is a lot to like about the way Mandolese takes shots away from opponents but struggles with rebound control. That is something many young goaltenders need to work on so Mandolese is not unique in that regard. A few seasons with Ottawa’s AHL or ECHL affiliate will help Mandolese adjust to a higher level of play and refine some of his skills. He has excelled and could move up the organizational ladder but there is a chance he could return to his QMJHL team as an overage player.
What This Means for the Future
Mandolese will need a few seasons in the lower levels before he is ready but Ottawa has time to let him develop. The Senators are in a rebuild and have the luxury of letting him learn with their affiliates during the entry-level deal. Mandolese’s future ceiling is probably as an NHL backup but Ottawa is stockpiling future talent at this stage. Current goaltender Craig Anderson is close to retirement and it is unclear if Marcus Hogberg is the long-term solution.
The Senators, like many teams, are being aggressive with deals for depth prospects right now. We do not know when hockey operations will resume so teams are securing players for an unknown future. They recently signed prospects Jonathan Aspirot and Mark Kastelic to entry-level deals as well. Fans should expect more of these in the coming weeks until the league decides what will happen to the rest of the 2019-20 season.