Senators News & Notes

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Ross A goes through hockey stats 101 for those confused or intimidated by them.  It’s worth reading, although I don’t think the audience he’s attempting to reach are particularly receptive to olive branches.  Like most new things, younger fans will largely embrace it and as time goes on that will become the norm.

journalism

Speaking of Ross A, he tackled an excellent topic regarding media influence in sports, but unfortunately only pilloried Steve Simmons at the Toronto Star–as much as Simmons deserves it for inventing a story about Phil Kessel, I was hoping Ross would dive into the moribund journalism practiced in this city.

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Binghamton signed undersized Oshawa General defenseman Chris Carlisle (68-7-37-44); he’s almost certainly bound for Evansville.

Somewhat related, I’d speculated a couple of weeks ago that the Sens had cut ties with prospect Tim Boyle; that suspicion was confirmed today as he signed with Wichita in the ECHL.  This make’s Boyle‘s journey in becoming a pro quite bizarre, as he was drafted out of US high school, spent one year in the NCAA, returned to the junior system in the US, went to tier-2 college, and is now going to the ECHL  Ultimately he’s a wasted pick, a player that no scouting source liked prior to the draft who crashed and burned very quickly.  We can only hope the scouting staff learned something from it.

Wrong

I was surprised to discover the legendary Nichols reads this blog.  I can’t recall interacting with him before, but the truism that people gravitate towards perceived negative comments rings true as Nichols hit me up on the Twitter machine:

your comments in regards to my own analysis are ridiculously reductive

He continued his comments in his latest post (I think he liked the alliteration), apparently still blissfully unaware of why I wrote what I wrote (despite a not very subtle hint that he was taking the comments far too seriously–it’s funny how some people respond to these things–good old Bobby Kelly always took things with good humour).  One positive was Nichols spelling out his approach to prospects for anyone who wasn’t aware and the key point is this:

The thing about lower draft selections is that they’re selected lower because they have some perceived deficiency which in turn creates tempered expectations for their future because of the associated risks or lower projected ceilings. That does not mean that low draft picks aren’t valuable either. There will always be value in finding NHL-calibre talent that can play games at the highest level.

It’s admittedly a bit obvious, but clarity is a good thing.  Incidentally, he’s started up a Patreon to support The 6th Sens podcast, so if you have even a few bucks lying around I highly recommend doing so.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

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)

Senators News & Notes

As I put the finishing touches on my review of the draft there’s plenty to catch up on in Sens Land.  For those desperate for draft thoughts, Nichols has finally stolen my idea of typing up scouting reports so you can see those here, here, and here–he also spends time drooling over Corey Pronman’s draft review, so for those who share his fetish, enjoy!

What can I say about the Robin Lehner trade?  The only way the Sens win the trade is if Lehner fails to live up to his potential–otherwise, the value they got back is never going to measure up.  Fans have to hope Matt O’Connor is the real deal because Andrew Hammond and an aging Craig Anderson are not going to get it done.  As for Eric Gryba being moved, I’m fine with it, although any of Chris Phillips, Mark Borowiecki, or Jared Cowen might have been better.  I expect nothing from Travis Ewanyk, but at least he only has one season left on his ELC.

The Sens have started to finish their bookkeeping when it comes to pending free agents, inking Chris Wideman to a generous two-way deal (his 400k AHL salary is both a reward for his achievements and also a bit of a poison pill for any team sniffing around him should he be sent through waivers).

I’m a bit lost on the B-Sens retaining Patrick Mullen; the deal makes me wonder if the Sens intend on keeping Wideman (or Wikstrand) with the parent club come fall–but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

There was finally full clarification on the Mikael Wikstrand situation (I heard it via Randy Lee on TSN 1200)–apparently he never signed a new deal, instead his club team traded his contract (which had a year remaining).  Wikstrand has no issue at all in playing in the AHL.

I’d forgotten that Clarkson grad Kevin Tansey, a player the Sens are apparently interested in, attended their development camp before (last year).  Ryan Kennedy, incidentally, believes the defenseman is one of the top-ten undrafted players at an NHL development camp.  It’s clear the Sens aren’t afraid to take defenseman with poor puck-handling skills (comments made by Randy Lee show that they feel it’s an area that can be improved upon enough to make the investment worthwhile).  Personally, I don’t think turning a poor puck-mover into a middling one is enough at the NHL level.

Speaking of development, I want to quote Nichols (link above) with a sentiment I echo:

If anything, Ottawa’s successful development makes me question why the organization has willingly boxed out a number of its prospects from bottom six or bottom pairing roles by re-signing or acquiring redundant vets.

Amen, although the answer is pretty simple–loyalty to veterans and an old school belief by Murray that bringing in older players helps the “mix” on the roster.  After all, think of how well David Legwand, Martin Lapointe, Mike Commodore, and so on have done here….

Other unsigned players attending the development camp: Neal Goff (unremarkable defenseman coming off his first year in the NCAA–put up a career high 11 points in the US high school four years ago), Scott Moldenhauer (another Western Michigan defenseman with just slightly better hands), Jordan Murray (CIS defenseman who once put up good stats in the QMJHL), and Ryan Penny (QMJHL forward who has finished his junior eligibility and needs a contract).

[An additional observation: Tim Boyle, the Sens 2012 draft pick, wasn’t even invited to camp, suggesting the org believes him to have already failed as a prospect.  Robbie Baillargeon isn’t there either, but I’m inclined to think there are health or other reasons behind that.]

Every once and awhile the NHL reminds me of why I find the league frustrating.  Allowing the Chris Pronger trade to occur is utterly ridiculous–he’s not “sitting out with an injury” like Nathan Horton, he’s working at NHL head office!  The whole idea is absurd.

[Just one another addition that’s particularly pertinent on the cusp of free agency: no one cares about the total value of a player’s contract–fans want to know the yearly average and I wish sports sites would give up on the former and embrace the latter.]

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

alex chaisson

Ary M has a great article looking at Alex Chaisson and what he brings to the Sens.  I also thought Chaisson was a bottom-dwelling failure, but the analytics presents a decent top-nine player.  It’s well worth reading in detail.

wikstrand

In a lengthy discussion with Ian Mendes, Pierre Dorion added some clarity on the Mikael Wikstrand situation:

He’s under contract with us next year. I heard that he signed somewhere else [Farjestad], but we want him to play for us. We think he’s very close to the NHL. If Erik Karlsson played a month in Binghamton, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for Mikael Wikstrand. If Cody Ceci played a few months in Binghamton, we don’t think it’s the worst thing for him to adjust to North American hockey and we think he’s really close to (playing in) the NHL

It sounds like Wikstrand is reluctant to join Binghamton, but as he’s under contract with the Sens and apparently signed with Farjestad without their impute, I don’t see that he has any choice.  I don’t think B-Sens fans should take offense at Wikstrand‘s possible attitude–a lot of people are reluctant to leave home and he likely knows next to nothing about the city.

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Dorion also talked about the newly signed Tobias Lindberg:

Yeah, obviously a lot of credit has to go to Randy (Lee) to get that deal done under a certain deadline that we had. As far as Tobias at the Memorial Cup, I think Tobias took great strides this year. I think coming over to play the North American game in Oshawa with a team that plays hard was so beneficial for him. Obviously, Tobias has NHL speed and NHL skill. We obviously see him more as a winger than a centerman with his up-and-down play. Obviously he’s still got to get more involved and keep on improving and always playing at a high pace. We definitely see someone that can play for us down the road. Now obviously when I say ‘down the road’, it’s not… I’m not saying that Tobias couldn’t play games for us this year, but when he’s ready to contribute, I think we’re going to see someone that can play in the NHL.

I think Pierre should be fined for how often he said “obviously”, but that aside, they understandably like his upset.  I’d remind fans that they should take his production in Oshawa with a grain of salt given the very talented linemates he had there.  He’ll definitely be a welcome addition to Binghamton’s lineup in the fall.

Ryan Wagman offers a look at drafting tendencies and there’s something he said that I think is worth emphasizing:

the wholesale turnover in the Buffalo and Boston organizations, looking at their historical draft records is not just useless, but counterproductive

The point here isn’t the specific teams mentioned, but the turnover.  So often people will talk about historical trends for a team with no reference to the brain trust in charge–it’s irrelevant what a team did five years ago if the same people are no longer in charge.  This might seem like an obvious point, but I see it ignored over and over again so it’s worth drilling home.  Going back to Wagman’s article, it’s an excellent breakdown of the Pacific division and their drafting trends based on those in charge (he also looks at the Atlantic division–Nichols and others will enjoy how hesitant he is to call Jared Cowen a draft “success”).

Craig Smith presents a wide range of players that the Sens might draft.  I’ve normally posted a completely separate post with something similar, but given time constraints I’ll simply list who would go as per my NHL mock draft:
1-18 Jeremy Roy, although if the Sens may want to dip their toe into Sweden with Joel Eriksson Ek who is listed next
2-42 Zachary Senyshyn
2-48 Guillaume Brisebois
4-109 Jonne Tammela, although the Sens under Murray don’t draft Finns so perhaps Will Borgen (listed next)
5-139 Christian Jaros
7-199 Mikhail Vorobyov lands here, but the Sens don’t draft Russians so the next listed non-Russian would be Kevin Davis
I don’t take these predictions too seriously, but the above includes four defenseman and just two forwards (3 and 3 if they take Ek), so it’s more than a little impractical (with six picks I’d be surprised by more than two blueliners); it does contain Ottawa staples such as a QMJHL player and a Swede (two in fact).  Regardless, it’s fun to speculate.

There was another European FA signing as Pittsburgh inked Sergei Plotnikov (the 25-year old has put up consistent, solid numbers with Lokomotiv).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

I’ve been quite busy with various draft efforts (which has been met with some drama for the first time–more about that below), but enough news has accumulated for a post at last.

Nichols, while re-hashing the teams self-inflicted goaltending drama makes a point that’s worth re-iterating:

I guess I could understand the reasoning behind management putting its short-term interests ahead of an uncertain future that may be more fruitful. I mean, management has been operating this way since 2011, so it shouldn’t come as a shock if they decide to continue down this path.

Just let that sink in for a moment.  Has there been any sign since the 2011-12 season that this team is going to push for a Stanley Cup?  All those deals made to solve short-term goals (Ben Bishop comes to mind) resolved absolutely nothing and in the midst of that the organisation has been public in illustrating how poorly it understands its own talent (Patrick Wiercioch, Mike Hoffman, etc).  I’d like to think that constantly failing with short-term fixes would eventually sink in, but there’s no evidence that’s the case.  At this stage fans can only hope Murray does minimal damage with whatever deals he makes in the off-season.

Speaking of Nichols, he presents three different strategies he thinks the organisation might take in the off-season, all of which are taking a look at:
1) move Hoffman and Wiercioch or Cowen to Colorado in exchange for Ryan O’Reilly; move Lehner and one of Colin Greening/Zack Smith/David Legwand somewhere for a pick and a short-term bad contract; finally, move one of whichever dud forward is left for a pick
I can’t say I like this scenario and I’m not convinced brass has given up on Smith, but it is within the realm of possibilities that the Sens make deals like this.  I don’t mind the acquisition of O’Reilly, incidentally, but I wouldn’t see the moves as a net win.
2) Lehner and Cowen go to Edmonton for the 16th overall pick; Hoffman and the Sens first-rounder for San Jose’s pick (9th); Legwand moved for a pick
While the first element is possible (albeit not one I’d be thrilled with), I don’t see the Sharks giving up a top-ten pick
3) Anderson plus Smith to St. Louis for Oshie/Goc or Anderson plus Cowen to Buffalo for Ennis/Moulson and some confetti; then a trade to remove some of the dead weight for a pick
Nichols considers this his least likely scenario, but it would make the most sense going forward.
It’s hard for me to judge all this as I see Murray as a conservative GM with a lot of loyalty to players who don’t contribute; that fact combined with most of the assets being offered aren’t particularly exciting (apparently Lehner is only considered the third best goaltender on the market–perhaps adding a bit of fuel to the Anderson alternative) makes the potential return pretty muted.  Regardless, it’s interesting food for thought.

There was finally confirmation that Marcus Hogberg is going to spend another year in Sweden (something of an inevitability at this point, but I like clarity).  Speaking of prospects, Fredrik Claesson has been extended with a one-year, two-way deal, while Tobias Lindberg (the only tangible asset remaining from the Bishop trade) has been signed and will be in Bingo next season.  [A few hours after I posted the Sens re-signed Jean-Gabriel Pageau to a two-year, one-way deal.]

For those of us hoping the organisation had lost its addiction to big defenseman without puck skills, we can put those hopes to bed as the Sens are apparently pursing Kevin Tansey; the Clarkson grad has even less puck-skills than Mark Borowiecki and seemingly no discernable NHL upside.

It was a little surreal seeing former 2012 Development Camp invitee Trevor Van Riemsdyk win a Stanley Cup ring after being pressed into service with the Blackhawks.  The undrafted New Hampshire player signed with Chicago last year and he’s the first invitee I can think of who has wound up with a ring in his career.

There was a fairly odd signing out of the European free agent market, as Pittsburgh signed Swedish veteran (and former LA draft pick) Niclas Andersen.  I have to think this is some sort of tryout agreement, as the Swede is in the midst of a three-year contract with Brynas; the defender is coming off a career-year after six unremarkable ones previously.  New Jersey made a slightly more comprehensible signing with Vojtech Mozik.  

I’d initially written at some length about the Phoenix saga, but as that’s been beaten to death everywhere I’ll spare going into it in detail.  All I’ll say is that it’s hard to imagine how the NHL can stay in Phoenix if the city (and by that I mean the people and the council) don’t want them there.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (June 3rd)

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It has been a couple of weeks since my last post, enough time for the slow trickle of Sens news to accumulate.  Among the various organisational bits and pieces has come Bryan Murray’s announcement that this upcoming season will be his last.  It will be interesting to see how he wants it to go.  Does he push hard and go crazy aiming for an unexpected playoff run, or does he attempt to grow and build the organisation for it to be good in the long-term?  Time will tell.  He’s certainly in a position to make unpopular moves, although the fear has to be what kind of unpopular moves he could make.

lehner

Amongst a lot of bitterness Nichols notes that Murray has indicated he’ll try to package a bad contract with whatever goaltender he moves.  The notion makes it even more likely that Robin Lehner is the goalie to be moved, as it’s unlikely that the aging and more expensive Craig Anderson could have a Colin Greening attached to him.  I’m not sure it’s worth beating a dead horse over how badly trading Lehner could turn out, so I’ll just say I’m not a fan of the move if that’s what happens.

Ottawa Senators Official NHL Headshots

I was happy to hear Pierre Dorion acknowledge that Andrew Hammond could implode (comparing him to Steve Penny).  You’d think the organisation would be a bit more cautious with the term of his contract if that’s a possibility they acknowledge; if Hammond implodes next season he’s going to be impossible to trade with two more years on his contract.

2015_NHL_Draft

Speaking of Dorion, he seems confident that the team will get a top-six forward or top-four defenseman with the 18th overall pick.  It’s entirely possible, although that’s the stage of the first-round where prospects get dicey (in terms of recent draft numbers, the top-ten are 89.7% reliable, whereas the rest of the first round is at 35%).

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Binghamton signed a bunch of spare parts recently: failed Atlanta draft pick Daultan Leveille (who was dithering around in France), Guilaume Lepine (pressed into service from Evansville this past season–much like Daniel New the past three seasons), Matthew Zay (who played a few games this past season after leaving Mercyhurst in the NCAA), and Alex Wideman (Chris‘ brother).  All of these players signed AHL contracts, so barring injuries or a major turnover in Binghamton’s roster, they’re likely headed to Evansville.  Regardless, here’s a snapshot of each:

Daultan Leveille (1-29/08 Atlanta; C, 6’0, DOB 90)
2013-14 Evansville (ECHL) 66-22-25-47
2014-15 Rouen (France) 26-9-8-17
Drafting a player like this is one of the many reasons Atlanta GM Don Waddell was fired (his draft status is enough to get Jeff Ulmer excited about him); while it’s not unusual for first-round picks to fail to become NHL players, it’s almost unheard of for them to fail to become AHL players.  The fact that Leveille is coming off a bad season in France makes me think there’s some personal connection with the Sens organisation to give him a break to return to Evansville (the place he’s had the most success in his professional career).

Guillaume Lepine (undrafted; D, 6’4, DOB 87)
2013-14 Evansvile (ECHL) 48-2-11-13
2014-15 Evansville (ECHL) 35-0-12-12, Binghamton (AHL) 38-1-3-4
An unremarkable blueliner who came out of the QMJHL, he’s bounced between the ECHL, the EIHL (England), and now had his longest look in the AHL this past season.  He has no offensive tools at any level, so all he can provide is minimal minutes of safe, physical play–something useful for the ECHL, but I hope he’s not a regular in Binghamton again.

Matthew Zay (undrafted; F, 6’1, DOB 91)
2013-14 Mercyhurst (NCAA) 35-17-26-43
2014-15 Mercyhurst (NCAA) 39-12-20-32
Played for the Pembroke Lumber Kings (10-11) before going to the NCAA; he put up consistent numbers in college, although looking at how some of his teammates have performed in the minors he looks to be an ECHL talent.

Alex Wideman (undrafted; LW, 5’8, DOB 91)
2013-14 Miami (NCAA) 36-7-9-16
2014-15 Miami (NCAA) 39-7-11-18
Signed perhaps as a favour to his more talented older brother, Alex‘s college numbers are not impressive and I expect he’ll need to make his mark in Evansville if he’s going to see ice time in Binghamton.

These players are literally the flotsam and jetsam of the minor leagues, but perhaps they can raise some excitement in Evansville if (as hoped) that’s where they will be plying their trade.

memorial cup

Tobias Lindberg, the last Sens prospect who was still in action, won the Memorial Cup.  The unsigned Swede finished tied for third in team scoring during Oshawa’s OHL run (behind Cole Cassels and Michael Dal Colle), but was tied for first with the latter during the Memorial Cup itself.  His performance this year was enough to wake up the moribund (and star to the blogosphere) Corey Pronman to the fact that he’s a decent prospect.  I’d give Corey a Taeja-clap, but none of you would get the reference, so moving on.

antti neimi cup

A final note: as regular readers know, I like to keep my eye on undrafted players who sign NHL contracts, so here’s those thus far who were not from my list from April.  From Europe: Dean Kukan (Columbus), Sergei Kalinin (NJ), Matthias Plachta (Arizona), Joonas Kemppainen (Boston), Yvgeni Medvedev (Philadelphia), Jakub Nakladal (Calgary), Christian Marti (Philadelphia); from the NCAA: Noel Acciari (Boston), Evan Rodrigues (Buffalo).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (May 20th)

It’s desperate times for news in hockey land so things like a potential new assistant coach and predictions are all the blogosphere has to talk about.  It’s been awhile since I posted however, so there are a few things to cover from earlier in the month.

matt o'connor

The Sens signed Matt O’Connor to an ELC, having already promised him they will move a goaltender to make room for him.  It’s an odd way to set up a trade, as now other GMs know Murray is under the gun to move someone.  While I’ve advocated moving Andrew Hammond (something echoed by Nichols at the 6th Sens), it seems like the organisation is more likely to move Robin Lehner (I mean, why sign a guy his age O’Connor as the goaltender of the future unless you are going to move the other guy who was anointed as that already?).  By himself, I don’t think there’s a lot of value to be had for Lehner as he’s not already established as a #1 goaltender (think of the Ben Bishop trade, albeit Lehner is under contract and the former was not).  How many assets do they want to move for O’Connor?  There are red flags all over this move (which seems unnecessary in the first place as goaltending has not been Ottawa’s problem), but Murray has an itchy trigger finger with younger players (he was going to move Patrick Wiercioch because he wasn’t tough in the corners), so my only hope is that it’s not a complete disaster.  Elliotte Friedman, insider that he is, has no clue what the Sens are planning (other than not speculating about Hammond–perhaps the desire to keep him is due to cost–he was just re-signed).  Trevor Shackles worries about Murray’s NCAA free agent track record (making a few errors as he goes), but it’s worth keeping in mind how hit and miss such players are.  I still don’t understand why the organisation doesn’t sign prospect Marcus Hogberg, incidentally.

wikstrand

Speaking of Sens prospects, Mikael Wikstrand signed a deal with Frolunda not long ago, but his agent recently implied he may be coming to North America anyway.  If that’s the case he must have an opt-out with the team, but I have to wonder if it’s the same as last year where he either makes the NHL roster or he goes back to Sweden.

corey pronman

Speaking of draft picks, one of these days I’m going to have to find out why Sens bloggers have all drank the Corey Pronman Koolaid–based on what, exactly?  No one ever says, so perhaps its mere accessibility (if ESPN pays him to do it, he must do it well, and certainly almost no one checks his results–although I have, and let’s not forget he liked Ben Blood).  Granted, nkb from The Silver Seven (linked above) doesn’t seem that familiar with prospects, so that’s worth keeping in mind.

lindberg

Tobias Lindberg (still unsigned) and the Oshawa Generals won the OHL title; Vincent Dunn‘s Rimouski team won in the QMJHL, but the prospect was let go by the team prior to the playoffs after repeated suspensions, so I have to wonder what the Sens have saddled themselves with.

Close-up of a fortune teller looking into a crystal ball --- Image by © SuperStock/Corbis

More players from my list have been signed, as the Oilers picked up Finnish goaltender Eetu Laurikainen and San Jose signed Joonas Donskoi (the former Panther draft pick).  Another player, Andreas Martinsen, was on my list back in 2012 and has been signed by Colorado (out of the DEL, which is quite unusual).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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