Thoughts on Senators Prospects (Part Two)

The second installment of my look at the Sens prospects (you can find Part One here).  After covering prospects in junior, college, and the ECHL, I’m taking a look at AHLers.  I have left out players who I don’t believe will return (like Wacey Hamilton), while players who are through their ELC’s who have established what they are (like Mark Borowiecki) are treated a bit further below (as is Cody Ceci, who spent most of his season in the NHL).  As always, for players without significant time in the NHL it’s worthwhile viewing the scouting reports when drafted (many of which can be found via the link above).

Cole Schneider (FA NCAA 2012; 69-20-34-54; previous season 60-17-18-35; splits 10-4-1-5/10-2-6-8/10-6-8-14/10-3-3-6/10-1-4-5/10-3-5-8/9-1-5-6)
An excellent sophomore campaign with only a few periods of inconsistency; so far Schneider has been an excellent free agent signing and all that remains to be tested is his capabilities at the next level–he can clearly dominate in the AHL.  Does he need to be a top-six player to pan out at the next level?  I think that remains to be seen–if he’s a possession guy then the goals aren’t the only way for him to step up.

Chris Wideman (4-100/09; 73-9-42-51; previous season 60-2-16-18; splits 10-1-7-8/10-1-3-4/10-1-7-8/10-2-10-12/10-1-4-5/10-0-3-3/13-2-8-10)
A fantastic sophomore season, slowing a little in the second half (32 points in the first 40, 19 in the next 33); undersized NCAA grad will always have to do more to get his shot, but another dominant AHL-season is going to force Ottawa’s hand.  It’s very rare for a small blueliner to play a depth role, so he has to push for at least a 4-5, second unit powerplay spot to have a realistic shot.

Matt Puempel (1-24/11; 74-30-18-48; splits 10-3-2-5/10-3-2-5/10-3-1-4/10-5-2-7/10-5-2-7/10-5-3-8/14-6-5-11)
First-rounder’s rookie season improved over the course of the season (went from 0.46 points-per-game in the first 30 to 0.77 the rest of the way); sniper projects as a top-six player who can eat up powerplay minutes, but whether he’ll achieve that potential is still up in the air (his ability at the AHL-level is not in question).

Shane Prince (2-61/11; 69-21-27-48; previous season 65-18-17-35; splits 10-2-2-4/10-3-5-8/10-2-5-7/10-6-4-10/10-3-2-5/10-3-3-6/9-2-5-7)
Improved over last season; his primary issue is inconsistency, but his tracking the right direction; I don’t know if Prince has the chops for the next level, but that possibility remains (perhaps as a pesky top-nine player).

Jean-Gabriel Pageau (4-96/11; 46-20-24-44; NHL 28-2-0-2; previous season 69-7-22-29; splits 10-5-9-14/10-2-4-6/10-2-8-10/16-11-3-14)
While his time in the NHL was a disappointment, he dominated in the AHL and his future remains bright; he’s not a lock for the NHL roster next season, but that league is in his future (even if he never produces enough to escape a bottom six role).

Mark Stone (6-178/10, 37-15-26-41; NHL 19-4-4-8; previous season 54-15-23-38; splits 10-4-4-8/10-6-6-12/10-3-9-12/7-2-7-9)
Injury-prone, but there’s no questioning Stone‘s hands or instincts; it remains to be seen if his feet are fast enough to be an NHL-regular, but he’ll get an opportunity to show that sooner than later.

Buddy Robinson (FA NCAA 2013, 69-15-16-31; splits 10-2-1-3/10-4-3-7/10-1-1-2/10-1-2-3/10-2-3-5/10-1-3-4/9-4-2-6)
The big winger gradually became more consistent over the course of his rookie season, which echoed Cole Schneider‘s last year; NHL-potential hasn’t been tested yet, but at the least he’s going to be a good AHLer.

Fredrik Claesson (5-126/11, 75-3-26-29; previous season 70-3-8-11; splits 10-0-0-0/10-0-5-5/10-1-6-7/10-1-8-9/10-0-1-1/10-1-1-2/15-0-5-5)
Steady Freddy enjoyed a fantastic sophomore season; defensively dependable, there’s no question he could at least fill-in at the NHL-level, so the question now is whether he can be a regular or not.

Corey Cowick (6-160/09, 72-12-13-25; previous season 72-16-19-35; splits 10-1-1-2/10-3-1-4/10-0-2-2/10-4-4-8/10-2-1-3/10-1-1-2/12-0-3-3)
After a successful season riding shotgun with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, everything came crashing to earth for Cowick who, other than a short stretch in December, put up awful numbers (even for a checker).  He’s clearly someone who needs to be insulated to perform at his best and that doesn’t bode well for an NHL future, even if he’s now fully established as an AHLer.

Derek Grant (4-119/08, 46-12-10-22; NHL 20-0-2-2; previous season 63-19-9-28; splits 10-3-3-6/10-3-1-4/10-0-2-2/16-6-4-10)
His numbers marginally improved over last season and he spent a good chunk of the early season in the NHL; projects as a PK forward and the upcoming season is going to be make-or-break for him (I don’t think he’ll be on the Sens roster, but he should dominate in the AHL no matter where he’s played).

Michael Sdao (7-191/09, 61-5-6-11; splits: 10-1-0-1/10-1-2-3/10-0-2-2/10-2-1-3/10-1-0-1/11-1-0-1)
Drafted as the best fighter of the 2009 class, his rookie season saw him eventually push Ben Blood out of the lineup, but not do enough to dress in the playoffs; he projects as a 5-6 guy.  His numbers are actually quite decent and he can do more with the puck than someone who is just a goon–the question remains if he can translate that to the next level and at this point it’s too early to tell.

Darren Kramer (6-156/11, 45-2-2-4; previous season AHL 21-1-0-1/ECHL 19-3-7-10; splits 10-1-1-2/10-1-0-1/10-0-1-1/15-0-0-0)
The best fighter in his draft class, he was a full-time roster player in his sophomore season, but dressed for only just over half the games–despite appearing in the playoffs, it’s clear his skill level isn’t high enough for him to fill anything other than the role of a fighter, something I don’t see him translating to the NHL.

Older/NHL Players

Cody Ceci (1-15/12; NHL 49-3-6-9; AHL 27-2-17-19)
First-rounder was locked into Ottawa’s lineup for the same kind of WTF reasoning that keeps Chris Phillips in the lineup; like most young defenseman there’s a lot growth yet to come and a full season in the AHL would likely help; an offense-first blueliner, the future should be bright for Ceci–the only question is when he’ll be ready for full-time NHL duty.

Mike Hoffman (5-130/09; AHL 51-30-37-67; NHL 25-3-3-6; previous season AHL 41-13-15-28)
He has nothing left to prove at the AHL level, so the question remains whether or not he can be a regular NHL player; I think he can–he has the speed and hands to be useful even if he can’t translate his scoring–the only question is whether he does this in Ottawa or not, and whether he’s someone who plays for parts of a few seasons and then disappears.

Stephane Da Costa (FA NCAA 2011; AHL 56-18-40-48; NHL 12-3-1-4; previous season AHL 57-13-25-38)
This was the first season where Da Costa looked like a (potentially) useful NHL player; I’m still not sure how well his skills translate, since I don’t think he’s particularly useful in a depth role and his production might not warrant anything else, but given that after last year I thought his peak was the AHL, he’s become a more interesting asset.

Mark Borowiecki (5-139/08; AHL 50-2-6-8; NHL 13-1-0-1; previous season 53-4-10-14)
Heart and soul player had a poor season–too many penalties, too many fights, sub par production, etc.  There’s no questioning his worth ethic, but the more I see of Borowiecki the more I’m convinced his peak is a 6-7 blueliner who is as good as he’s going to get right now.

David Dziurzynski (FA BCHL 2010; AHL 68-13-12-25; previous season AHL 54-4-16-20; NHL 12-2-0-2)
There’s nothing left for Dizzy to prove in the AHL–he’s a well-established checking forward whose numbers have been almost ruthlessly consistent (points-per-game per season: 0.26, 0.38, 0.37, and 0.36); is he good enough to perform the same role in the NHL?  I thought he looked out of place with Ottawa two season’s ago, but that’s not to say he couldn’t fit on a line in the right situation–although I’m dubious he’ll get that chance with the Sens.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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  1. […] Thoughts on Senators Prospects (Part Two) […]


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