The Sens Development Camp has wrapped up. It’s always a fun event for those who get the chance to attend, although admittedly you have to love hockey, the Sens, and prospects (RIP Nichols) to get full value from it.
Randy Lee offered comments about performances in the black and white game and besides blowing the usual smoke up the asses of top-picks (and using unfortunate terms like “compete level”), he did offer some insight:
On Ryan Dzingel
Dzingel was really able to show off his speed with a couple of breakaways too. He had a good year in Binghamton last season but it was a transition year where we put him at a different position so that was a bit of a challenge for him. I thought he got better as the season went on and it was great to see how well he did last night.
Changing position in your rookie season at the pro level is not easy and worth keeping in mind in regards to Dzingel‘s occasional struggles in Bingo this past season.
On Mikael Wikstrand
is a guy that you don’t appreciate until you see him in a game. He really thinks the game at a high-level, he moves the puck really well, good offensive instincts and he’s a guy that’s going to be a pretty good player for us.
In a way this is more of the same in terms of comments made about the Swedish defenseman; there’s no question he has an NHL threshold, the only unknown is whether his offensive game will translate at that level.
On Chris Driedger
he had a different season last year but as the season went on, he got better and he played with a lot of confidence last night.
“Different” is the most polite way I can think of to describe Driedger‘s season in Evansville, but he certainly did better in Binghamton and fans can hope he continues to improve.
On Marcus Hogberg
you can see he’s got great feet, really good down low
I’m quite high on the Swedish goaltender, although with Matt O’Connor now as the anointed one it’s a good thing he’s going to spend another year in the SHL.
As usual, Sens TV has little vignettes about the camp, but also footage of the entire scrimmage (about which Lee’s comments above were in response too). The 3-on-3 tournament today was won by Team Blue (Dzingel, Wikstrand, and free agents Penny and Goff). Not surprisingly, Max McCormick was named the hardest worker for the entire camp.
I haven’t given my specific thoughts on the Sens picks at the draft, so here are my pick-by-pick thoughts:
Thomas Chabot (1-18) – selected right in the wheelhouse of the scouting consensus so I’m happy with the pick–there’s no guarantee how good he’ll be, but he has the upside to be an excellent addition
Colin White (1-21) – the pick acquired in the Robin Lehner trade (notably not Buffalo’s own pick, but one they acquired from the Islanders); he’s not related to the former NHL-defenseman; there were only two players slotted higher than him when he was selected (Merkley and Jeremy Roy), so there’s no real objection to the selection
Gabriel Gagne (2-36) – acquired from New Jersey in return for a second-rounder (the Dallas pick from the Jason Spezza trade; the Devils picked goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood); this pick has the most questionmarks around it and it’s puzzling that the Sens felt the need to trade up to grab him–no source had him listed this high which suggests they could have waited and that he’s a hit or miss selection
Filip Chlapik (2-48) – the first Czech picked by the Sens since Jakub Culek in 2010 (let’s hope that’s not foreshadowing); like him he comes from the QMJHL; he was selected slightly after projections; the two notable players ranked more highly than him were Kylington and Bracco
Christian Wolanin (4-107) – acquired from Edmonton in the Eric Gryba trade (who got the pick from Toronto via Pittsburgh); another odd player to trade for, as the overage son of the unremarkable NHL defenseman wasn’t ranked by anyone to be taken in the draft; the Sens have done pretty well with overage selections out of the USHL, but I’d take him as another hit-or-miss selection
Filip Ahl (4-109) – the only Swede taken in the draft by Ottawa, he was picked after projections (slightly after for the most part) so he’s a solid pick-up
Christian Jaros (5-139) – the first Slovak ever picked by Murray since becoming Ottawa’s GM, he comes via the Swedish league; projections for him are all over the place so he’s clearly a hit-or-miss pick
Joey Daccord (7-199) – only listed by Central Scouting; as a seventh-rounder he’s by-definition a let’s-hope selection; there were a number of higher ranked players (picked and not picked) available, granting that since the goaltender is slatted for the NCAA they can wait longer on him than (say) a player from the CHL or Europe
The Sens third-round pick wound up with the Rangers (via Edmonton in the Gryba trade), who picked Russian defenseman Sergey Zaborovskiy; Ottawa’s sixth-round pick wound up with Carolina (via Winnipeg to get the pick they used to select Kelly Summers), and they took David Cotton.
Ross A looks at the Sens history with players who file for arbitration and the main takeaway from it is that (under Bryan Murray) Ottawa has always settled prior to the hearing date.
Nichols laments the departure of Erik Condra–I bring it up simply because he’s exactly the kind of late round pick Nichols derides consistently. Nichols’ general, dismissive attitude towards prospects is mostly sensible, but I think the shorthand of always being dismissively of later picks is a little ridiculous.
There were a number of veteran AHL signings for the BSens and here’s a look:
Matt Kostka (29, AHL 63-5-25-30) – the undrafted NCAA grad’s name may ring a bell as the Toronto media fell in love with him back in the 2012-13 season (when he played half the year with the Leafs); he was subsequently signed and waived by Chicago, picked up by Tampa, and spent last season in the Ranger organisation; a right-handed shot, I think he’s a good addition to the BSens
Eric O’Dell (25, AHL 37-14-15-29) – a former second-round pick by Anaheim (2-39/08; Brian Burke’s drafting record with the Ducks is awful); Anaheim never signed him and the Atlanta (now Winnipeg) franchise picked him up; he’s been a very productive forward for St. John’s (180-72-76-148). Assuming he doesn’t tank like Carter Camper this past season, he’s a solid addition to the top-six in Bingo.
Zack Stortini (29, AHL 76-13-12-25) – picked by the Oilers in the Dead Puck Era (3-94/03), when the one-dimensional goon was finally let go by Edmonton he’s bounced around the AHL (this will be his fifth team in five seasons); I’m not a fan of this kind of player, but the one good thing he does (or should do) is take some of the fighting pressure off of players like Max McCormick and Michael Sdao and give space for them to develop their game.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)