-The Sens re-signed Erik Condra to a two-year, 1.25 million deal, making his arbitration drama among the shortest in memory. The deal is a good one for both sides, as Condra gets a well-deserved raise, but neither side makes a long commitment to each other. Nichols sums him up pretty well (and Travis Yost has similar comments):
Despite these modest [offensive] numbers, his exceptional puck possession numbers and ability to drive play as a winger have earned him somewhat of a cult-like appreciation around these corners of the interwebs. Unfortunately for Condra, the fact his value is better quantifed by Corsi means he’ll probably always be undervalued at contract time.
–Clarke MacArthur talked about signing in Ottawa:
I think there were six or seven teams kicking the tires and I just really thought Ottawa would be a good fit for me. I like where their team is going, they obviously have a great coaching staff there and just from playing against them and their compete level I thought it was going to be a good fit. I think it gives me a chance to play on those top couple of lines. A couple of years ago in Toronto when I had those minutes I was able to produce pretty good numbers. And, it’s a team that’s a playoff team. That was obviously my main focus — getting back on a playoff team again after getting a taste of it last year. I feel that Ottawa is team that can not only make the playoffs but also do something. I’ve heard nothing but positive things. Just to see their team with the amount of injuries they had last year and what he was able to do for that young team and the direction he kept them in line with, it’s only a positive thing for a player like me to sign there. I had some setbacks when I was younger but I always felt I could compete and play at that next level. So far I’ve done that and I feel like I’ve still got a lot to prove in the NHL. Obviously you want to thrive and strive to be more consistent. It’s something over the last couple of years I’ve tried to do and I want to carry that forward. They have a lot of depth up front and obviously with Spezza he’s a marquee centreman in the league and Kyle Turris, from what I’ve seen, is an up-and-comer with a lot of potential as well. It’s going to be an exciting time. I’ve played with Craig Anderson in the minors [in Rochester] so I’ve known him. Chris Phillips is from out in our area in Alberta. I know a couple of guys, I don’t know anyone too well, but I’m sure like all teams everyone seems to be good guys and I’m looking forward to meeting guys.
Essentially his comments boil down to he wanted top-six minutes and he wanted a team that was playoff bound. It will be interesting to see how MacArthur does in MacLean’s system, which (at least in theory) should suit him better than Carlyle’s in Toronto.
–Randy Lee talked about development camp and Nichols has transcribed the bulk of the interview and after talking about the importance of player development and how the camp is invaluable particularly for prospects in college or Europe he talked about Fredrik Claesson:
Freddie is a very unique guy. He works his rear end off and he has fun doing it. He’s playful. He’s fun. He makes you laugh. But he does it and he never comprises on work – and he does it on the ice, he does it in the seminars, he does it in the sparring sessions, he does it in the skating sessions, he does it in the sprint mechanic sessions… everywhere you see him, he’s pushing and he’s enjoying himself and it’s contagious and it’s a great thing to be. It was good for us this year that we were down to a final group of five and we polled everybody who worked with the players this year and it was pretty well consistent with this group of five. And it was really close in terms of the voting. In years past, we’ve had great workers who stood out like the Mark Borowieckis but we had a real elite group this year. It was good and good to Freddie on winning (the hardest worker) award.
Our two Swedish players [Marcus Hogberg and Tobias Lindberg] were incredible in terms of really absorbing the information. They amalgamated into the group really well. They really pushed themselves. We have some big bodies now and Pierre (Dorion) did a good job getting some big projects and I like that. These are great big guys that have a lot of upside. They do have some deficiencies right now, but you can tell that they’re like a raw piece of putty that you can really work with. Overall, the whole group was really receptive to everything we were doing. And it’s interesting, one of the best pulses I get on the group is talking to our drivers. We have a group of drivers that work with these guys and shuttle them all over the place and they get the pulse of what these kids are like. And they said, ‘Bar none, this is the best group of players that we have ever had.’ And especially the draft picks this year, they’re really good quality kids. Like Bryan (Murray) and Paul (MacLean) wanted – they just don’t want good players, they want good people.”
After talking about how nearly every hard working player who “gets it” will make it to the NHL one day and that Cory Conacher was “overwhelmed” by his exit interview, he discussed some other prospects:
Two guys are our high-estate players, Ryan Dzingel and Max McCormick; both guys that were later picks… Michael Sdao too, another college guy that was a seventh round pick. Dzingel was a seventh round pick and I believe Max was a sixth round pick or fifth. (They’re) later round picks but they’ve really worked hard. They’ve applied themselves to these camps. They take the information back. They stay in touch with you and work with Chris Schwarz. They work with our nutritionist and they’ve become a partner with us in their development but they do go back and play well for their teams and commit to them as well. And those guys made huge progress. You guys got to see a bit of Mike Sdao when he finished the season in Binghamton last year and a real character guy; a real guy that worked on his game. Dzingel and McCormick, people are going to like them because they’re both character kids. They work their rear ends off and Dzingel is a real high-end skill guy and Max McCormick is a real high-end character guy. (The fans) are going to like Buddy Robinson. That was a great signing by our organization. We get this guy without having to give up anything. He’s a character kid. He’s a good person. He wanted to come to our organization. He did well last year when he went to Binghamton. He got a taste of it – of what the actual jump is to make the jump is to go to the American Hockey League because guys don’t appreciate how big that step is. He embraced that challenge and he performed really well. He came into camp and worked his rear end off. He’s a great skater. He’s got great speed. There’s a few things that we’re going to work on with him because of mobility issues since he’s such a big guy. But he’s got a lot of upside and he’s willing to learn and he wants to learn and he wants to get better. Definitely, and he [Sdao] knows what his skillset is. He knows what type of player he has to be to be successful. He’s a hard-nosed guy. He’s got to be hard to play against. He’ll protect his teammates. He’s not a thug by any sense, but if the situation is there where he has to stand up for his teammates, he’ll do that. And he’s going to be a really good shutdown guy – he’ll block shots, he’ll be hard in front of the net and he’ll lay the lumber down on guys. He’s an old-school defenceman with real good character.
-I updated my profile of Matt Puempel.
–Eric T examines the kneejerk reaction to Corsi numbers from some players and journalists and he clarifies what those numbers are meant to accomplish succinctly:
The lesson isn’t “stats can help you win”; it’s “knowing more than the other guy can help you win”.
So in essence what Corsi let’s you do is:
This is what Moneypuck is all about. Nobody is trying to argue that Corsi is a perfect rating system, that shot quality is irrelevant. The point is that the talents that drive Corsi contribute more strongly to winning than people realize.
It’s a very well written piece and I highly recommend it. It may be worth a reminder that all statistics are an attempt to understand performance through numbers–hockey hasn’t been as easily reducible to numbers as baseball, but that gap is being narrowed by things like the Corsi numbers.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)