Binghamton Senators Update

It’s been well over a month since my last update.  Back in January, the B-Sens were 6-10-2, including a particularly ugly losing streak.  The team has gone 9-9-3 since my last update; their 197 GF has them 1st in the Conference, while their 209 GA has them last.  As for individual numbers, here’s a quick look:

Name Pos GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG Pt/G PIMPG SOG
18 Shane Prince LW 58 20 30 50 +10 29 7 0 0.86 0.50 147
6 Chris Wideman D 61 16 33 49 +9 96 7 0 0.80 1.57 188
11 Carter Camper C 62 13 31 44 +3 16 1 0 0.71 0.26 98
15 Cole Schneider RW 55 22 21 43 +3 12 7 1 0.78 0.22 130
Not active on this team 9 Matt Puempel LW 51 12 20 32 -13 31 5 0 0.63 0.61 146
57 Derek Grant C 59 18 13 31 -7 39 8 1 0.53 0.66 143
14 Patrick Mullen D 52 5 24 29 0 30 3 0 0.56 0.58 65
20 Alex Grant D 46 5 23 28 -10 49 4 0 0.61 1.07 86
10 Buddy Robinson RW 61 9 18 27 +12 60 0 2 0.44 0.98 139
* 43 Ryan Dzingel C 53 15 11 26 -5 48 2 0 0.49 0.91 89
72 Aaron Johnson D 59 5 21 26 +5 68 1 0 0.44 1.15 94
Not active on this team 44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau C 27 11 10 21 +9 27 1 3 0.78 1.00 103
* 17 Max McCormick LW 48 7 9 16 0 120 0 1 0.33 2.50 82
3 Fredrik Claesson D 62 3 13 16 -7 40 0 0 0.26 0.65 69
37 Darren Kramer LW 60 4 11 15 -3 225 0 0 0.25 3.75 71
22 David Dziurzynski LW 39 4 10 14 +1 79 0 0 0.36 2.03 49
* 27 Alex Guptill LW 48 7 6 13 +1 50 0 0 0.27 1.04 66
* 16 Garrett Thompson C 53 6 7 13 -11 27 0 0 0.25 0.51 65
19 Brad Mills C 25 3 7 10 -1 73 0 0 0.40 2.92 52
8 Daniel New D 31 2 7 9 -5 19 0 0 0.29 0.61 34
Not active on this team 24 Colin Greening LW 12 5 2 7 -2 13 0 1 0.58 1.08 25
* 12 Danny Hobbs LW 13 2 1 3 -5 2 0 0 0.23 0.15 20
7 Guillaume Lepine D 26 1 2 3 -1 57 0 0 0.12 2.19 21
4 Michael Sdao D 26 1 2 3 -5 78 0 0 0.12 3.00 16
21 Matt Tassone (total) click to view the entire list for Matt Tassone C 6 1 1 2 -2 11 0 0 0.33 1.83 7
     Rochester Americans LW 3 1 0 1 -1 7 0 0 0.33 2.33 3
     Binghamton Senators C 3 0 1 1 -1 4 0 0 0.33 1.33 4
Not active on this team 24 David Marshall RW 4 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0.25 0.50 1
Not active on this team 5 Nick Tuzzolino D 10 0 1 1 +2 23 0 0 0.10 2.30 8
Not active on this team 30 Andrew Hammond G 25 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.04 0.00 0
Not active on this team 5 Marc Methot D 1 0 0 0 -2 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 1
Not active on this team 84 Todd Bertuzzi RW 2 0 0 0 -3 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 2
Not active on this team 41 Jakub Culek C 2 0 0 0 -1 2 0 0 0.00 1.00 4
Not active on this team 33 Chris Driedger G 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
Not active on this team 21 Shawn Szydlowski RW 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.00 0.67 2
* 2 Troy Rutkowski D 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.00 0.50 1
31 Peter Mannino (total) click to view the entire list for Peter Mannino G 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
     Portland Pirates G 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
     Binghamton Senators G 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
35 Scott Greenham G 23 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
1 Scott Greenham 23 1318:39 57 1 2.59 12 8 2 719 662 0.921
2 * Chris Driedger 2 119:57 6 0 3.00 2 0 0 55 49 0.891
3 Andrew Hammond 25 1368:43 80 2 3.51 7 13 2 782 702 0.898
4 Peter Mannino (total) click to view the entire list for  19 1085:08 67 0 3.70 5 8 4 656 589 0.898

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Carter Camper has finally started to produce as expected, with 21 points in his last 19 games, but it’s far too late for that to matter to the team; otherwise players have stayed the course.  Shane Prince is 13th in overall scoring, while Chris Wideman is 16th (1st among defensemen).  Michael Sdao has returned to the lineup after missing almost two months of action, and Troy Rutkowski has been recalled from Evansville, but the B-Sens blueline remains a mess.  I think the team wound up signing too many vets who fill the same role (Alex Grant, Patrick Mullen, and Aaron Johnson).  Not only have those players not performed up to expectations, but they’ve meant limited room for prospects to grow behind their wall of ice time.  Other than Wideman I’d argue none of the B-Sens blueliners have improved.  The forward group is better, although there’s no need for someone like Brad Mills to be taking ice time away from players who could use it to develop.  I think Richardson shares Paul MacLean’s hangup of over being overly reliant on veterans (which makes no sense in the AHL).

As Andrew Hammond continues to excel in Ottawa, Scott Greenham (5-4-1) has been Binghamton’s best goaltender despite splitting time with Peter Mannino (4-5-2).  Exactly why the goalies are receiving equal time is beyond me.

Nichols (6th Sens) likes to shit all over the Sens depth in Binghamton and I think a lot of his reasoning comes from how highly he values the opinion of Corey Pronman (for example)–I’ve discussed my issues with Pronman before (he somehow included Ben Blood as a worthy prospect, for example).  There’s a disconnect between people like Nichols and Travis Yost (now at TSN) on the value of prospects–they seem to think that if the player isn’t guaranteed to be elite then the prospect doesn’t matter.  This an odd approach in that these are the same analytics fans who love Erik Condra (a late pick who wasn’t remotely exciting as a prospect).  The flipside of this can be found on the HFboards or SenShot where prospects are given far too much weight.  On average only 1 or 2 players from each draft class is ever going to become an NHL player.  The point of all this is that there are still players in Binghamton with NHL potential.  Prince certainly deserves a shot, as do several others.  Unfortunately for Binghamton fans the mix of players this season simply wasn’t good enough–the free agents brought in to solve the defensive and goaltending problems failed to do so.

There’s still a month’s worth of games before the season ends, but it’s time to start thinking about who is responsible for the failed season.  Tim Murray signed the free agents, so the blame for the roster is certainly his.  That being said, Luke Richardson has also made some peculiar coaching decisions, particularly in how he’s handled his goaltenders.  Richardson can’t be blamed completely for the Jekyll and Hyde act Hammond put on (if Greenham can put up a .920 save percentage with this defense, the Hamburglar should as well), but he did fail to adjust how he was handling him in the AHL (as I brought up at the time).  Richardson can also be questioned in how he’s utilized young players, but on the whole I think his influence pales in comparison to the hand he was dealt.  Tim Murray is gone, so the architect of the problem has already been removed.  With talented prospects on the horizon things should be better next season.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (March 17th)

Ottawa Senators Official NHL Headshots

As Andrew Hammond‘s improbable run continues, it reminds me of Jim Carey‘s with Washington eons ago: a middling NCAA goaltender takes the NHL by storm for a brief time before fading away.  Carey won a Vezina and was a first-team all-star in his first full season (95-96), but proceeded to bomb out afterwards, retiring from the AHL just three years later.  Hammond may be better than that, or he may not be, but when I hear speculation of moving Robin Lehner (who is younger than Hammond–he’s 23, the Hamburglar is 27), I have to shake my head.  Bryan Murray is very much a “what have you done for me lately” manager when it comes to players who aren’t over-the-hill veterans, so there’s a chance we might see a very foolish trade when the season ends.

mika-zibanejad-hockey-headshot-photo

The all-powerful and all-knowing Nichols reports the Sens and Leafs talked about swapping Zibanejad for Kadri in the summer, but the Sens balked at Toronto’s request for additional assets to be included.  I’m not sure how fans would have reacted at the time, but I’m happy Murray didn’t pull the trigger.

Richard McCrae looks at the odds of Ottawa catching Washington (now that Boston seems out of reach) and concludes even that will be difficult.  A more interesting question is whether it would be good for the organisation to make the playoffs–what message would that send to management?  Does Murray realise a large part of the recent success is because useless players like Chris Neil and Chris Phillips aren’t on the ice?  I have my doubts, although it could be argued nothing will cure Murray of his obsession with aging vets, in which case results are actually meaningless–I prefer not to be so pessimistic.

I only occasionally dip my toe into SenShot for anything other than AHL information, which is why I rarely cite them here.  As for why, I’ll use editor Jack Leiper recent post to illustrate it: he writes about Mika Zibanejad‘s season and how it seems to have turned after a rough start…and his analysis doesn’t go much beyond that he’s been more consistent.  Here’s what Nichols (link above) offers as an aside on the same subject:

Fortunately for the Senators, Zibanejad has come into his own after a sluggish start that has mostly been attributed to a reduced role and shitty linemates to start the season

However flippant the remark is, there’s specific, quantifiable analysis (quality of linemates and use on ice).  I get enough vagueness from official Sens outlets, so when I come to the blogosphere I want analysis.

Ottawa Senators Official NHL Headshots

Before I get to my prospect update below, a quick look at those from the ECHL contingent.  Troy Rutkowski has been playing in Binghamton since March, but prior to his recall stood at 54-6-18-24, leading the awful Evansville defensecorps in scoring.  His points-per-game (0.44) are a marked increase over his rookie season in Elmira (0.21), and however middling those numbers are, it still shows some improvement.  His production had started to rebound after a long stretch of inconsistency (December into February, 31-2-7-9), perhaps worn down from the massive number of games played over such a short period.  Chris Driedger was (until his recall today due to Craig Anderson‘s health) the last man standing in Evansville.  His numbers have been awful (8-27-2 3.78 .885), albeit the roster in front of him is even worse (Evansville is 14-39-8, last in the ECHL).  Driedger hasn’t won a game since January and has been woefully inconsistent, but getting his head beat in game after game can’t help his confidence any and as a younger goaltender (20) it’s far too soon to say he’s done.  That being said, I’d rather have Marcus Hogberg in the Sens system.

wikstrand

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red):

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 46-5-15-20
Regular season is over; he finished 14th in scoring by a defenseman; no points in two playoff games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 49-2-3-5
Regular season is over; has not dressed in the playoffs
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 12-11-4 2.30 .917
Regular season is over; finishes 10th in GAA and 8th in save percentage; has not played in the playoffs

A48U8530.jpg

CHL
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 64-31-44-75
Five points in his last three games, moving him up to 18th in overall scoring
Francis Perron
(DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 62-27-47-74
Two points in his last three games, dropping him to 25th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 56-35-29-64
Two points in his last three games; dropping him to 36th in overall scoring
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 46-19-13-32
Has not played since last time
Ben Harpur
(DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 56-5-26-31
Two points in his last three games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 54-5-12-17
Has six points in seven games in the playoffs

Quentin+Shore+OaGRoS-3oopm

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 35-9-14-23
Two points in his last two games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 24-3-12-15
Two points in his last two games
Shane Eiserman
(DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 34-4-11-15
Two points in his last three games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 33-6-4-10
Has not played since last time
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 28-5-4-9
No points in his last game

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 18-3-8-11
His season is over

I have a full Binghamton update in the works as the team approaches the end of their season.  With the Sens still winning we’re unlikely to see other call-ups any time soon (barring injury).  It’s been a tough season in Bingo and I think most of the problem is on the blueline and in goal, but I’ll get into that with that post.

Ludwig Karlsson, moved in the Jason Spezza trade, has bombed out of the Dallas organisation.  He was traded from the ECHL affiliate in Idaho to Missouri (which is St. Louis’ affiliate).  I expect the Swede to sign in Europe at season’s end.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (March 9th)

Ottawa continues to tease fans with a playoff race.  I don’t see them succeeding and think the organisation would draw the wrong conclusion if they did, but it does add some fun to the end of the season.

The Sens have expressed interest in Boston University goaltender Matt O’Connor, who fans may remember attending the 2011 development camp (right after he finished his rookie season with Youngstown in the USHL).  The twenty-three year old O’Connor has posted career numbers in his third year in the NCAA and the pursuit of him is an indictment (at the time) of the goaltending depth the organisation thinks it has.

Speaking of goaltending, as Andrew Hammond finished his career run I’ll be interested to see what the organisation does with him.  An RFA at the end of the season, there’s nothing in Hammond‘s history to suggest his current success is going to continue (as Ary M illustrates); if I were in Murray’s shoes I’d move him at season’s end while his value is at its height.

Nichols re-hashes the obvious in the aftermath of the trade deadline: the Sens were in a box Bryan Murray put them in, stuck with unmovable contracts.  Via the same link it’s clear that Murray has no idea what analytics is, which confirms one of the major reasons why the organisation hangs on to useless players who are perceived as “gritty”.

The always thoughtful Amelia correctly points out that the Sens weren’t the first team to give away Ben Bishop in a bad deal–St. Louis traded him to Ottawa after all (for a second round pick they used to select Tommy Vannelli; currently playing in the WHL).  That may come as little solace to fans, but it’s worth remembering.  For Ottawa, they have Tobias Lindberg left from dealing the big goaltender.

Amelia also mentions the prospective call-up of Buddy Robinson, who other than being 6’5 has no real reason to appear.  I’d much rather see Cole Schneider if a forward is being recalled, but that seems unlikely (in part due to the waiver situation).

Speaking of the deadline, the folks over at The Silver Seven offered their thoughts and there was one point in particular I wanted to echo:

The most surprising move of the day for me was Despres for Lovejoy. Lovejoy is worse, older, and more expensive (though Despres will become more expensive when he becomes an RFA in 2016). If the Penguins truly think they have too many good, young defencemen, why trade for an old defenceman? I can’t help but think that not trading at all would’ve been better than Lovejoy as a return.

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red).  It’s worth pointing out that Ben Harpur has had only 9 points in his last 30 games, so his numbers are inflated by a very hot start.  The Swedish league has just entered its playoffs, while the BCHL is already in the midst of the post-season.

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 46-5-15-20
No points in his last game; he finishes 14th in overall scoring by a defenseman (13th in PPG among players with more than 20 games played)
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 49-2-3-5
No points in his last two games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 12-11-4 2.30 .917
He’s 0-0-2 since last time; he finishes 10th in GAA and 8th in save percentage

CHL
Francis Perron (DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 59-25-47-72
Five points in his last three games, putting him to 23rd in overall scoring
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 61-28-42-70
One point in his last two games, dropping him to 22nd in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 53-34-28-62
Three points in his last three games; up to 34th in overall scoring
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 46-19-13-32
No points in his last game
Ben Harpur
(DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 53-5-24-29
One point in his last three games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 54-5-12-17
Has three points in four games in the playoffs

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 33-9-12-21
No points in his last two games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 22-2-11-13
Has not played since last time
Shane Eiserman
(DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 31-4-9-13
No points in his last two games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 33-6-4-10
No points in his last two games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 27-5-4-9
No points in his last two games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 18-3-8-11
His season is over

I’ll be posting my usual interesting-prospects-in-Europe article at some point, but as a teaser here are some interesting 24 and under players who might attract NHL interest (they are organised by league; for the issues of comparing stats in Europe to production elsewhere, I wrote about it here):

Toni Rajala RW/LW DOB 91 4-101/09 Edm 5’10 SHL 31-14-13-27
The former Oiler prospect has already established himself as a PPG player in the AHL; after a brief stint in the KHL he produced at about the same clip in the SHL; he’s undersized and has been dumped by one organisation already, but given how dysfunctional Edmonton is I’m not sure it’s a true black mark; I suspect he’d be given an opportunity elsewhere, but Rajala may not want to come back to North America to play in the minors so soon

Tim Heed D DOB 91 5-132/10 Ana 6’0 SHL 50-10-27-37
Another former draft pick, he enjoyed a breakout season right after Anaheim’s rights to him expired, finishing second in scoring by a blueliner behind former free agent wunderkind Cory Murphy (but ahead of him in PPG); he’s also tops among the 24 and under crowd (including forwards), so there’s a lot of reasons for teams to approach him

Kristian Nakyva D DOB 90 6’0 SHL 55-10-19-29
Brought over from the Liiga after three strong seasons, he posted similar numbers in the SHL (a better league) and finished fifth in scoring by a defenseman; I’m not sure if his numbers are remarkable enough to be signed, particularly given that he doesn’t have typical NHL size, but it remains a possibility; he’s someone I identified back in 2013

Joel Lassinantti G DOB 93 5’9 SHL 1.88 .928
The diminutive goaltender might still be draft eligible (I get a bit fuzzy about the European rules as they vary from league to league), assuming he’s not eligible he’s 2nd in GAA and save percentage, so the only thing holding him back is his size

Lino Martschini RW DOB 93 5’6 NLA 50-23-24-47
At just 5’6 I’m not sure what it will take to get the opportunity to cross the pond; he’s 1st among 24 and under players and 4th in overall scoring; it took Mats Zuccarello (who is about the same size) leading the SHL in scoring and a successful Olympic experience to get his shot with the Rangers, but even then he left the team for the KHL for part of a season before becoming fully established

Inti Pestoni RW DOB 91 5’8 NLA 30-9-15-24
Passed over in the draft largely due to his size (a common theme), he’s put up good numbers in an injury-shortened season–currently 2nd in PPGs among 24 and under; I suspect his size will keep him off the radar again this year and that he’ll need a bigger season to overcome that

Joonas Donskoi RW/LW DOB 92 4-99/10 Flo 6’0 Liiga 54-17-28-45
The Panthers never signed the Finn who enjoyed a breakout season with Karpat (fifth in overall scoring); the Finnish league is a good league, but not on the level of the Swedish (Eric Perrin leads the Liiga in scoring); the numbers are still significant enough to get noticed and as a former draft pick teams can much more easily assess the risk of signing him

Markus Hannikainen LW DOB 93 6’2 Liiga 55-18-25-43
I think he may still be eligible for the draft (see above), but assuming he’s not eligible, he’s 9th in overall scoring and 2nd in the 24 and under group (behind Donskoi above); his numbers might be getting inflated by teammates Perrin and Jani Tuppurainen, so that’s something for GMs to consider

Charles Bertrand LW/RW DOB 91 6’1 Liiga 55-12-28-40
The Frenchmen is in the midst of a true breakout season with Sport, sitting at 13th in overall scoring and 3rd amongst the 24 and under crowd; not only are these career numbers for him, but he’s also doing it on a talent-deprived team, so he should earn some looks from scouts if nothing else

Eetu Laurikainen G DOB 93 6’0 Liiga1.98 .936
The former Swift Current Bronco sailed through the draft as a WHL backstop, but has had a remarkable season back in Finland where he’s 6th in GAA and 2nd in save percentage; a bit undersized, Finnish goaltenders have a well-deserved reputation for technique that might overcome that objection, so I could see him signed

Yasin Ehliz RW DOB 92 5’10 DEL 48-11-34-45
The German league is not generally a place where free agents are signed, but it does happen occasionally; Ehliz has his size against him, but he’s made good progress in the DEL; he’s 13th in league scoring and 1st among players 24 and under

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (March 2nd)

The Sens only received one call (link) on deadline day and turned down the offer for Erik Condra.  If there’s a clearer sign of how poorly valued their aging vets are, I don’t know what it is, but I suppose no deals is better than bad deals.  There were plenty of bad deals in the league and it was amusing to see the moribund Cory Conacher moved (presumably for Utica’s playoff run).

Another thing the deadline has illustrated is that Bryan Murray was not swayed in his understanding of the team by Andrew Hammond & Co.’s current hot streak.  He made no attempt to augment the group, so clearly he knows that the team needs changes.  Unfortunately, Murray is responsible for many of the problems on the roster, so I’m not sure he’s the man to fix them.

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red).  Last week I posted profiles of Tobias Lindberg and Mikael Wikstrand, so check them out if you missed them.

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 45-5-15-20
Two points in his last three games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 47-2-3-5
One point in his last three games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 12-11-2 2.31 .918
He’s 1-1-0 since last time, with no significant change in his underlying numbers

CHL
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 59-27-42-69
Four points in his last three games, pushing him to 20th in overall scoring
Francis Perron
(DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 56-24-43-67
One point in his last three games, dropping him to 26th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 50-33-26-59
Five points in his last three games; up to 36th in overall scoring
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 45-19-13-32
Four points in his last three games
Ben Harpur
(DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 50-5-23-28
No points in his last three games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 54-5-12-17
No points in his last two games

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 31-9-12-21
One point in his last two games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 22-2-11-13
One point in his last two games
Shane Eiserman
(DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 29-4-9-13
One point in his last two games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 31-6-4-10
No points in his last two games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 25-5-4-9
No points in his last two games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 18-3-8-11
I believe his season is over

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators Prospect Profile: Mikael Wikstrand

wikstrand

Mikael Wikstrand (DL, 6’2, 1993, 7-196/12)
2011-12 Allsvenskan Mora 47-1-2-3 +8 14pim (0.06 ppg) 9th-D pts
2012-13 Allsvenskan Mora 45-11-11-25 +9 35pim (0.55 ppg) 2nd-D pts
2013-14 Allsvenskan Mora 27-4-16-20 +5 14pim (0.74 ppg) 3rd-D pts
SHL Frolunda 19-4-7-11 +1 4pim (0.57 ppg)
2014-15 SHL Frolunda 42-5-13-18 -1 10pim (0.42 ppg) 3rd-D pts (6 games left in the season)

The Sens picked Wikstrand after he was projected to go in the 2012 draft (among the top-30 Europeans according to Central Scouting, while other sources had him as early as the third round).  Because of where scouting agencies slotted him, we have good scouting reports on him along with comments from the organisation at the time.  Tim Murray called him well-rounded, as he does everything well.  Vaclav Burda, the scout most responsible for his selection, emphasized his skating.  Burda and fellow scout Mikko Ruutu also liked that he was able to handle himself in the men’s league, but wanted to see him work on his physicality (virtually a cliché for any European pick).  The International Scouting Service (ISS) assessed most of his skills as good, with his puck skills and hockey sense average:

A good mobile, two-way defender that moves the puck effectively. Vikstrand [Wikstrand] accelerates well in all directions and exudes maturity, already having played over 75 pro level games in Sweden. He stands out most in situations when he has a little bit of extra time and space to make a play, such as the PP- but proves to be capable in 5 on 5 situations as well. He has good upper body strength & battles hard along the boards & can throw the odd big hit here and there.

Future Considerations offered these thoughts on him:

A smart and safe two-way defenseman. Skates well with good speed and quick feet but is not overly dynamic. Has nice vision and makes strong breakout passes. Can get his point shot off quickly and on target. Defends well with an active stick and strong body positioning, closing gaps quickly and blocking off passing lanes. He does many things very well, and is a smart defensive player coupled with decent puck moving skills. However, he’s not extremely physical, and he does not possess much in the way of a high offensive upside. His cool and calm all-around game and the confidence he brings to his blueline are like what you see in a ten year veteran. Might be more ready for pro hockey than many others in this draft out of Sweden, but the upside is certainly not as high as some. He will need to add some more strength over the summer to have a shot at cracking an NHL lineup. NHL POTENTIAL: Bottom pairing two-way defenseman.

The year after he was drafted, Wikstrand was on Sweden’s WJC team and accounted well for himself (6-0-4-4).  This was the same season he got to spend time with Anze Kopitar due to the NHL lockout, and there was some thought that his inflated numbers were because of it.  However, he put up even better numbers the following year, so the offensive ability at that level was clearly his own doing.  At the time, Corey Pronman saw his potential as a top-four defenseman who needed to bulk up and work on his puck skills.

Wikstrand is signed by the Sens, but with a year left on his deal with Frolunda remained in Sweden (his opt-out clause only applied to making the NHL club).  He plays behind Edmonton draft pick Erik Gustafsson and Swedish veteran Elias Falth, but his numbers are respectable (he’s 14th in the league in scoring by a defenseman).  When he was signed, Randy Lee said:

We’re pretty happy about this signing, Mikael Wikstrand is a really solid player. I had a chance to go over and see him this year with Rick Wamsley when he was playing in Mora, he’s a very strong, two-way defenceman, he has a lot of offensive upside and he’s a guy that we challenged to play at a higher level. He changed and went to Frölunda in a higher division which was good for us. He got to play against better players and really showcased himself.

Josh W, citing SHL contacts, mentioned that Wikstrand is tied for the best prospect offensively in the league (with Gustav Forsling), but is a better all around, mistake-free player.  It’s hard to find anything negative about the defender, although his ceiling is difficult to determine.  When drafted he seemed like a safe, punchless, bottom-pairing player; now the upside seems to be top-four with a little offensive talent.  Given the glut of middling defenseman in the organisation, it’s almost a certainty that Wikstrand will play for Binghamton to start next year and it’s in the AHL that we’ll truly see how well his game translates across the pond.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators Prospect Profile: Tobias Lindberg

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Tobias Lindberg (LW/RW, 6’3, 1995, 4-102/13)
2012-13 SuperElit Djurgarden 43-9-13-22 -2 30pim (0.51 ppg) 7th pts
2013-14 SuperElit Djurgarden 38-7-15-22 -3 93pin (0.57 ppg) 6th pts
2014-15 OHL Oshawa 56-26-39-65 +27 10pim (1.16 ppg) 3rd pts (11 games remain in the season)

Drafted by the Sens with the pick they got in the Ben Bishop trade, I’ve seen him listed on both wings, but since he’s playing on the left side with Oshawa I expect that’s how he’ll line up as a pro.  Here are his points by month so far this season: Sept-Oct 14-17, Nov 10-12, Dec 9-14, Jan 15-14, Feb 8-8.  When the Sens drafted the Swede Tim Murray called him a hit or miss pick, but the team’s European scouts liked his potential.  Pierre Dorion said he was a big winger who has speed and skill; a good project.  Vaclav Burda added:

He’s a kid who was not selected or ranked very high — he was pretty low — but we feel pretty good about his potential, like Colin Greening in our organization. He’s a big guy who can skate, he drives the net, he’s not high end intelligent with the puck but he drives the net with speed and strength and we see these tools that down the road he could play on the big team. He has already played a few games for the big Djurgarden team which is the second highest Swedish league — the Allsvenskan, but mostly he played in the junior league. Next year he’ll be playing either with the men’s team or a junior team. He’s not (physically) mature, he’s got lots of room to build up and we believe that big body might be hard to play against some day.

I’m sure some fans will wince at the Greening comparison, but I wouldn’t take it to heart as saying one is the clone of the other.  Burda referenced that Lindberg wasn’t ranked very highly and the only scouting organisation that put him in the draft was Central Scouting (listing him as the 99th best European).  Brendan Ross of McKeen’s adds the following (prior to the start of this season):

Skating at 6-foot-2, the Stockholm native is a powerful winger who shows good physicality. He won’t dangle through defenders but his speed and ability to drive wide and to the net are difficult to contain. Lindberg projects as a complementary forward for the Generals and will be looking to impress the Senators to earn an entry-level contract.

It was my impression that the new CBA gave the Sens three years to decide on Swedes, but putting that aside, after a middling season in Sweden the year after he was drafted the Sens were able to help convince Lindberg to come to the OHL, something Swedes have been reluctant to do.  He had the usual things to say about the transition to playing in North America:

Last year, I probably had five hits and here they want me to have five hits a game, so it’s way tougher with the forecheck and stuff like that. It’s fun. It’s physical and there are battles and you get into the game more here. Coaches in Sweden are a bit softer, so a little bit of a difference there. He’s [D. J. Smith] tough on guys, but also fair, so I really enjoy playing for him.

His success in Oshawa meant he was considered for Sweden’s WJC team, but ultimately he did not make the cut (unlike fellow Sens prospect Andreas Englund).  The Swede’s numbers in the OHL are not only a big improvement over his previous production, but also difficult to find a comparable for.  While he doesn’t spend every minute of his ice time with fifth overall pick (2014) Michael Dal Colle or with fellow 2013-draftee Cole Cassels, their presence on the team certainly helps inflate his numbers.  In terms of other 19-year old Swedes who have posted big numbers in the OHL, there are only three since the 04-05 lockout: Andre Burakovsky (57-41-46-87), Gabriel Landeskog (53-36-30-66), and Rickard Rakell (60-28-34-62).  There’s no question that Lindberg is not in the category of the first two players, but maybe, maybe Rakell is someone to look at (all three were first round picks, by the bye).

First, just a reminder about stats from junior: any good prospect needs to put up points, but gaudy totals do not necessarily mean even AHL success (Tyler Donati is one of my favourite examples of this).  Back to Rakell: a late first round draft pick by Anaheim (2011), he spent three seasons with the Plymouth Whalers where he posted roughly a point-per-game numbers each year.  As a higher pick the expectations are bigger, but four years later he’s become a regular for Anaheim posting up decent numbers.  As we know, the Sens see him as a Greening-type player, so imagine him as a top-9 forward who can chip in 20-30 points.  The latter seems more realistic as his talent ceiling.

I can’t imagine that the Sens won’t sign Lindberg after his performance this season, despite the logjam of forwards in the organisation–there are plenty of moveable parts, so the question is who he displaces or does he become part of a trade himself.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (February 23rd)

Two starts into Andrew Hammond‘s NHL career and he has two wins on the docket–the Mike Brodeur of 2015, holding back the predictions of doom when Robin Lehner was injured.  That aside, the Sens need to lose to make anything of this season, but if there’s one thing Bryan Murray teams do well it’s win when it’s of no benefit to the organisation.

As the team is a seller this year we keep hearing how they won’t move useless parts like Chris Neil and Chris Phillips (both of whom I’d trade for a bag of turnips), while useful players like Erik Condra are awaiting the chop.  There’s nothing smart GMs should want from Ottawa’s scrapheap, but the deadline is where people lose their senses so fans can eagerly await the next Cory Conacher or late round pick we’ll be receiving.

Along with selling off players, the Sens are calling up various prospects and while Chris Wideman and Buddy Robinson (“he’s got size”) are on the docket post-Matt Puempel, I’m sorry we won’t see Cole Schneider.

The lengthy response to Jeffrey Simpson’s article in the blogosphere is…well, I suppose bloggers would rather address someone with a brain than the usual Sens columnists (shoutout to Planet Brennan).  Both The Silver Seven and 6th Sens address it (along with, I assume, others), but I don’t see the point of the fuss.  Simpson doesn’t impact operations at all, except perhaps perception, and I’ve noticed little interest by the organisation in the opinions of their fans (other than, perhaps, Murray’s fondness for players well past their prime).

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red).  Two of the signed players below (Dunn and Harpur) are showing no ability to become NHL players, although you have to be careful about such judgements.  There’s also concern for unsigned players like Gendron in the BCHL or Boyle who is coasting along in tier-2 NCAA.  Fortunately, unsigned players like Lindberg, Perron, and Hogberg are showing promise.

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 42-5-13-18
Two points in his last two games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 44-1-3-4
No points in his last four games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 11-10-2 2.38 .917
Is 3-0-1 since last time, with both underlying numbers improving

CHL
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 56-26-39-65
One point in his last four games, dropping him to 23rd in overall scoring
Francis Perron
(DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 53-23-43-66
No points in his last three games, dropping him to 24th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 47-31-23-54
Five points in his last four games
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 47-5-23-28
One point in his last four games
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 42-17-11-28
Three points in his last five games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 52-5-12-17
No points in his last three games

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 29-9-11-20
One point in his last three games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 20-1-11-12
No points in his last two games
Shane Eiserman
(DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 27-4-8-12
One point in his last two games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 23-5-4-9
No points in his last three games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 29-6-4-9
One point in his last three games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 18-3-8-11
Has not played since last time

And as I do periodically, a look at former Sens:
Roman Wick (2004; 29) NLA 46-16-24-40 – leads his team in scoring and is top-ten in the league
Marcus Sorensen (2010; 22) SHL 45-15-14-29 – after a hot start he’s slowed down considerably, but still leads his team (Djurgarden) in scoring
Andre Petersson (2009; 24) KHL 50-19-18-37 – ranks second in HC Sochi’s scoring
Mat Robinson (FA 2009; 28) KHL 31-10-12-22 – remarkable numbers, tops among defensemen on his team

As a personal aside, how does a paid site like WordPress suck more than a free site like Blogspot?  It boggles the mind (at the moment the entire blog appears to me in Polish for no reason whatsoever).  I’ve also found it bemusing that Twitter followers don’t (apparently) read the site–the bulk of my Twitter folk are hockey fans, but virtually no one comes to the site from Twitter.  I embrace your empty enthusiasm!

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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