One-Thousand Posts

What oh what to do for post #1,000?  A short retrospective seems most appropriate, although the usual updates will follow below.

A lot has changed in the blogging world since my first effort nearly ten years ago.  Back then there were relatively few blogs dedicated to the Sens and for a while it was essentially Jeremy Milks at Black Aces and The Silver Seven.  Most of the coverage of the Sens for fans was from the traditional media which then (as now) does a middling to poor job (between The Ottawa Sun, The Ottawa Citizen, and TSN 1200 I think the Citizen does the best job at the moment).  I started this blog back in 2011 and at the time there was still space for daily news coverage of the team.  My driving motivation at the time was to have a single source that included all the vital news about the team and organisation.  These days (and this is why I don’t do the daily posts anymore) I think Nichols at The Sixth Sens and Travis Yost over at HockeyBuzz cover that material better than anyone.  I still think B-Sens coverage is lacking in general (hats off to Jeff Ulmer’s efforts), with prospect coverage an embarrassment (over the past ten years Hockey’s Future still hasn’t found a good writer for the Sens), and the draft coverage is bad to awful.  It’s these latter categories that primarily keep me posting here–offering content where I can contribute to Sens coverage in a meaningful way.

So what have you, the readers, come here for?  Going by the numbers I can take an educated guess (although given how WordPress originally computed views, there’s some ambiguity about the 2011 numbers):
1. My 2011 wrap-up of the Sens Development Camp – this was in the early days of the blog when I was still able to post links on HFboards
2. My look at Redline Report’s 2013 NHL Draft Guide – this guide is expensive and not widely available, so the opinions are something draft junkies are keen to read
3. My review of Ottawa’s 2011 Draft – the best Bryan Murray draft and also when I was able to link on HFBoards
4. My initial (2012) look at free agent college signings in the NHL – I still haven’t seen anyone else look at this and I think it (along with my update) are a valuable resource for those wanting to see how such players pan out
5. My initial (2012) look at undrafted success stories in the NHL – as above

I’m happiest with my work on the draft (both predictive as well as tracking how accurate scouts are), and the impact of undrafted free agents.  I have the most fun with my draft work and I feel like in the next couple of years I’ll have enough data to make some conclusions draft itself.  On the whole I’m someone interested in facts, data, and statistics, albeit I’m not great on Corsi/Fenwick–either due to age, stupidity, or having traditional stats drilled so deeply into my brain I go into a Don Brennanesque-stupor when I try to work with them.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is what referral-sites bring people to a small blog like this: links on a well-established hockey forum are a big boost, Twitter is terrible (but necessary), and Reddit is good.  The quality of your material isn’t particularly important, nor really is the substance, although long-term both of those do matter.  There are a lot of voices in the hockey blogging world, which makes it harder to be heard (as a comparable, I also blog about Dragon Age (the video game), and get over ten-times the views).

As for my favourite people covering the Sens, the two referenced above go without saying; I am also a big fan of Amelia’s pieces on The Silver Seven.  I have no direct connection to any of these fine people and simply appreciate the quality of their work.

Enough reminiscing, back to news & notes.

The NHL has implemented rule changes which, as per usual, are a mixed bag of pointless, middling, and interesting.  The push against diving is only going to piss people off and there’s little chance officials will call it consistently; the spin-o-rama change is pointless; otherwise the changes seem solid, albeit we’re stuck with the NHL’s awful officiating.

Ottawa’s training camp roster is out and there are some interesting forward PTOs on the docket (not that I expected any FA signings for the Sens): 31-year old Brad Mills (34 NHL games) and 25-year old Nick Palmieri (former Devil has 87 NHL games under his belt).

The Sens rookies went 2-1 during the rookie tournament with no particularly surprising performances.

The Sens announced a two-year agreement with Evansville, which replaces Elmira as their ECHL-affiliate and will alleviate the roster crunch in Binghamton.  The former IHL franchise was formerly affiliated with Columbus and did not make the playoffs in either of those two seasons.  The most interesting player currently on the Evansville roster is former Pittsburgh draft pick (4-120/08) Nathan Moon.

Bryan Murray admitted the obvious that the Sens defense corps wasn’t any good…and yet he’s brought back the exact same group.  I’m not sure that the hope those players will improve this year is genius or stupidity, but time will tell.  Whether or not the difficult trade talks with Marc Methot means he could be moved remains to be seen.

ESPN‘s assessment of the Sens as a franchise was predictably punishing, but doesn’t mean much other than Melnyk can’t use it as a prop to the franchise.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (September 7th)

It has been a long time since my last look at the Sens, but the summer has been largely uneventful (thanks to all of you who continue to check in).  The main developments were the three extensions signed in August (for Mark Borowiecki, Craig Anderson, and Clarke MacArthur).  Of the three I’m happiest with the latter, surprised and disappointed by the former (Nichols offers excellent thoughts on all three and the most persuasive thing for me in regards to Boro is that he could sit for an entire season and still be a “good teammate”), and think the Anderson retention makes some sense given the paucity within the organisation to find someone else to play with Robin Lehner (given their budget they certainly aren’t going to sign anyone of significance; Travis Yost is less kind about the move).  Fortunately, two of the contracts are reasonable and Anderson‘s isn’t that far off.  In terms of implications, I have no idea what the Sens are going to do with Patrick Wiercioch, who has no discernible place to be on the roster as it stands.

The Sens have announced their rookie camp roster (I’ve highlighted the invitees):

Goaltenders: Chris Driedger (Calgary – WHL, Elmira – ECHL, Binghamton – AHL), Andrew Hammond (Binghamton – AHL, Ottawa – NHL).

Defencemen: Travis Brown (Moose Jaw – WHL, Victoria – WHL), Fredrik Claesson (Binghamton – AHL), Mitch Jones (Plymouth – OHL), Ben Harpur (Guelph – OHL), Stefan Leblanc (Sudbury – OHL, Mississauga – OHL), Alex Lepkowski (Oshawa – OHL, Greenville – ECHL, Rochester – AHL), Matt Murphy (Halifax – QMJHL), Troy Rutkowski (Elmira – ECHL, Binghamton – AHL).

Forwards: Jakub Culek (Elmira – ECHL, Binghamton – AHL), Vincent Dunn (Gatineau – QMJHL, Binghamton – AHL), Ryan Dzingel (Ohio State – Big Ten, Binghamton – AHL), Alex Guptill (Michigan – Big Ten, Texas – AHL), Darren Kramer (Binghamton – AHL), Curtis Lazar (Edmonton – WHL), Tobias Lindberg (Djurgardens – Swe-Jr., Djurgardens – Allsvenskan), Max McCormick (Ohio State – Big Ten), Nick Paul (North Bay – OHL), Francis Perron (Rouyn-Noranda – QMJHL), Shane Prince (Binghamton – AHL), Matt Puempel (Binghamton – AHL), Buddy Robinson (Elmira – ECHL, Binghamton – AHL), Garrett Thompson (Ferris State – WCHA, Binghamton – AHL).

The depth at forward within the organisation is on display here, as is their thinness on the blueline (I’m most interested in the players I haven’t seen yet, as always).  As for the invites, Travis Brown was drafted by Chicago back in 2012, but went unsigned–the left-shooting defenseman had good numbers (74-14-39-53) with Moose Jaw and Victoria last season; Mitch Jones is a rugged, undrafted and undersized player who had unimpressive numbers with Plymouth last year (62-3-11-14); Stefan Leblanc went undrafted this year, but appeared on a number of lists–he enjoyed a solid season (54-5-23-28) split between Mississauga and Sudbury; Alex Lepkowski is a former Buffalo draft pick (2011) whose unremarkable numbers (25-0-4-4 OHL) left him unsigned and nothing he did last season (spent all over the place) makes him interesting; finally Matt Murphy passed through the draft but was considered, he had decent numbers with Halifax last season (64-10-26-36).  Both Murphy and Leblanc will return to the draft, but I don’t think there’s any chance these players will be signed (especially now that Ottawa has no ECHL affiliate).

Of the prospects this is a make-or-break season for Rutkowski, Culek, and Kramer.  All have marginal upside and need to excel at something or be let go or cut loose.  As always performances at the camp aren’t great indicators, but it’s a fun event regardless.

I’m not the biggest Corey Pronman fan in terms of his ability at assessing prospects, but he does publish a lot and has offered a list of the Sens top-ten (take it with a grain of salt folks, with Nichols pointing out a few potential issues, but it is fun):
Curtis Lazar
Mark Stone
Mikael Wikstrand
Matt Puempel
Miles Gendron
Andreas Englund
Nick Paul
Fredrik Claesson
Quentin Shore
Shane Prince

The Sens have endured a partial scouting overhaul with the departure of Tim Murray and others.  Within a piece is data from Travis Yost and Amelia that illustrates just how tiny the Sens staff is (a puzzle for a budget team).

Jeff Ulmer offers a brief look at the Binghamton Senators under Bryan Murray (as opposed to the John Muckler regime).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: July 10th

It’s been awhile since I did a general news update on the Sens, but there’s enough accumulated news and thoughts to warrant it.

The overhaul of the Binghamton Senators is well under way and let’s take a quick overview of where things stand.  Additions: Aaron Johnson (FA), Carter Camper (FA), and Alex Guptill (trade); Deletions: Nathan Lawson, Ben Blood, Tyler Eckford, Corey Cowick, Stephane Da Costa, Wacey Hamilton, Ludwig Karlsson (trade), and Jim O’Brien; I’ve excluded players on AHL contracts who spent most of the season in the ECHL (like Scott Greenham).  Among the RFA’s, Mike Hoffman, David Dziurzynski, Cole Schneider, Chris Wideman, Patrick Mullen, and Michael Sdao have re-signed; Derek Grant filed for arbitration, but settled today.

So the roster would look like this (I have Stone and Borowiecki in the NHL):
Forwards (15) – Hoffman, Robinson, Thompson, Prince, Pumpel, Guptill, Grant, Dziurzynski, Schneider, Dzingel, McCormick, Pageau, Camper, Kramer, Culek
Defense (9) – Borowiecki, A. Grant, Wikstrand, Johnson, Mullen, Wideman, Claesson, Sdao, Rutkowski
Goalies (2) – Hammond, Driedger
[Quick edit: everyone was telling me Wikstrand was returning to Sweden and at last, via Scooter Lazar I got the link to the Ottawa Sun article that confirmed it]

As for the NHL roster, here are the Additions: David Legwand (FA), Alex Chiasson (trade); Deletions: Jason Spezza (trade), Ales Hemsky, Matt Kassian; the only unresolved contract is Robin Lehner’s, but there’s no reason to expect that not to get done.  Given that, here’s the current roster (I’m excluding Lazar):
Forwards (12) – Ryan, Turris, Michalek, MacArthur, Zibanejad, Condra, Chiasson, Smith, Neil, Legwand, Greening, Stone
Defense (7) – Karlsson, Methot, Cowen, Gryba, Wiercioch, Phillips, Ceci, Borowiecki
Goalies (2) – Anderson, Lehner

The roster above is just a guess on my part and all sorts of parts could be moved around.  I think the Binghamton forward roster remains bloated, but the odds are good that Culek, Rutkowski, and maybe Kramer will get loaned to the ECHL to alleviate the pressure.  If the Sens weren’t on a tight budget you could throw in an extra forward, but it seems unlikely unless they need the body to hit the cap floor.

As for the additions themselves, Nichols offers a tepid endorsement of Legwand:

Looking at his underlying numbers, Legwand’s past seven seasons have been a bit of a mixed bag – good seasons interspersed with some bad and his last good season from a puck possession standpoint was two seasons ago. It’s worth keeping in mind however that Legwand’s usage has been that of a defensive center – playing tough minutes against the opposition’s best forwards and with a low percentage of his shifts starting in the offensive zone. At 33 years of age, the risk of a decline in play will be there, but there’s been enough consistency in his game and numbers to suggest that he can be an effective player for the Senators.

I felt no excitement at all for the addition, but Bryan Murray has long been fond of adding fading veterans to his roster (Jason Smith, Luke Richardson, Martin Lapointe, Shean Donovan, etc, etc) and since there’s no expectation that Ottawa will challenge for the Cup it probably doesn’t matter very much (Travis Yost is much more optimistic about the signing, incidentally).  As Nichols point out, the addition might mean less of the horrific Greening-Smith-Neil combination that Paul MacLean loves so much.  As for Chiasson, his underlying numbers are unimpressive, although as a younger player there may be room to improve (Yost called the entire Spezza deal a disaster, so his thoughts on Chiasson aren’t any more positive).  I have no idea why Michalek and his bad knees were brought back; I don’t dislike Milan, but when he’s not healthy he’s not effective and those times are more common than the former.

As for the AHL additions, Guptill had just signed his ELC with Dallas after three years  in the NCAA (you can hear what scouts thought when he was drafted back in 2010); a big winger who put up decent numbers in college, he should be a useful player for Binghamton, even if his NHL-potential is doubtful.  Carter Camper is a different acquisition altogether, as the diminutive forward spent the better part of three years playing in Boston’s organisation before a deadline deal with Columbus (in exchange for another minor leaguer).  His AHL stats are good and I’d guess he’s intended to replace Da Costa‘s production–I see virtually no chance of him playing in Ottawa.  Aaron Johnson has been around a long time, but his days as a NHL player are gone (he played a few games with Boston two years ago, but spent all of the past season in the AHL while signed with the Rangers); he should be a dominant AHL defenseman and helps solidify Binghamton’s blueline which, unlike last year, has a strong veteran core (Johnson, Grant, and Mullen).

With the rosters essentially complete, how do they stack up to last year’s squad?  Ottawa has lost its #1 center (I’m not considering Hemsky a loss given that he was a rental) and replaced him with a project prospect and an aging veteran.  It’s not better on paper, so the team has to rely on internal improvement which is a difficult thing to judge.  Whether management wants to admit it or not, the upcoming season is a rebuilding one.  Binghamton, conversely retains a strong core of forwards and has improved its blueline, so the questionmark is in net.  I’m not sure if the Hammond-Driedger combination can carry the mail, but semi-competent goaltending is available later in the year if the team needs to go that way so I fully expect Binghamton to make the playoffs again.

Finally, Development Camp has come and gone.  Unfortunately I couldn’t attend this year, although the Sens posted the entire five-on-five scrimmage online which was a great decision.  I’ve learned over the years not to take performances at the camp that seriously (generally those who are very good and those who are very bad might mean something, but not much), but Curtis Lazar was awarded the Hardest Worker trophy (also considered were Garrett Thompson and Max McCormick).  A number of free agents attended the camp, but this rarely means anything (the only surprising attendee for me was goaltender Tomas Kral–it’s not often someone playing Czech tier-2 travels across the Atlantic to attend a camp).  Overall, the impressions I’ve had (and read) confirm that it was a good camp.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Scouting Reports on the Players Acquired in the Spezza Deal

Alex Chiasson was drafted in 2009 (2-38), which is before I started doing my draft analysis so I don’t have scouting reports on him.  Alex Guptill was not highly touted so information is sparse, but included below.  There’s more on Paul although he’s not a high-ender either.  All three players are big wingers, so there’s a clear desire on the part of the organisation to have size on the boards (insert your favourite Colin Greening joke).  Chaisson is already in the NHL (79-13-22-35) and better analysis on him will soon be available.  Here are the two prospects:

Alex Guptill 3-77/10 LW 6’3 (NCAA Michigan 31-12-13-25) Ranking: CSNA 99 RLR 159 ISS 164
Turned pro after his third year in the NCAA; this past season he was tied for third in scoring on a team lead by J. T. Compher; lead Michigan in points when playing with Jacob Trouba on the roster the previous year.
RLR: Jr. A goal scoring machine is rather one dimensional
ISS: Good offensive upside Nice mix of speed and skill Very good skater Good shot, can score Good size/solid frame Verbal – University of Michigan Protects the puck well  Needs to improve defensive game

Nicholas Paul 4-101/13 LW 6’3 (OHL North Bay 67-26-20-46) Ranking: ISS 82 HP 106 CSNA 124 FC 137 RLR 142
Finished third in team scoring, making significant strides over his rookie season in the OHL (66-12-16-28).
ISS: Paul made a name for himself this year as a quality shutdown forward who shows tremendous smarts in the defensive zone. He possesses an incredibly active stick and with his tall, lanky frame he utilizes his big wingspan to get his stick on pucks. Nicholas has shown positive strides in his offensive development although his upside is primarily his defensive game, his offensive tools including shot and hands have come a long way. Will need to focus on his foot speed and stride.  Size/Strength Very Good Skating Average Puck Skills  Good Shot Good Hockey Sense Very Good
HP: Nicholas was selected in the 5th round of the 2011 OHL Priority Selection Draft by the Brampton Battalion out of the Mississauga Senators Minor Midget program. Nicholas continued to develop his game playing for the Mississauga Reps AAA Major Midget and got a brief and successful stint with the Mississauga Chargers of the OJHL. Nicholas went into the Battalion training camp and earned a spot on the roster. In early and especially mid-season viewings, you could always find Paul playing physical, and showing a nice pair of hands in front of the net. He was not a good skater but was always able to remain involved in the play. However, towards the end of the season, he seemed to hit a wall likely due to playing his first full season at this level of play. He became a little more perimeter oriented and he essentially got away from his strengths. He is a strong player, who has a good chance to hear his name called at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. When he sticks to his strengths he’s an extremely effective player who plays a power game. However he needs to use the next season as an opportunity to elevate his play and show his true potential.
FC: Paul is a good-sized winger who gets around the ice efficiently. He has some solid puck skills and can be strong on the cycle. He uses his size well and has shown an ability to finish, albeit inconsistently.
RLR: Strong, skates well, & has untapped offensive potential

So there you have it–a quick peek into the assets added through trading Jason Spezza (and the disappointing Ludwig Karlsson).  Paul will play in the OHL this upcoming season, while Chiasson will be on the main roster and Guptill joins the B-Sens.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Judging Player Production in Europe

In my last post I made fun of efforts at translating production from other leagues to the NHL–it’s not that I don’t laud the effort, but I have yet to see a formula that can be applied to basic stats that makes sense.  To illustrate the point, I decided to highlight top North American performers in European leagues using this season to provide some insight (I’ve given their stats from this past season and then their best NA results and career totals; their current age is also in brackets).

KHL
Brandon Bochenski (32) 54-28-30-58 (NHL 41-13-11-24 06-07; NHL 156-28-10-68)
Nigel Dawes (29) 54-26-23-49 (NHL 66-14-18-32 09-10; NHL 212-39-45-84)
Kyle Wilson (29) 49-17-27-44 (NHL 32-4-7-11 10-11; AHL 427-149-170-319)
Dustin Boyd (27) 49-18-20-38 (NHL 71-11-11-22 08-09; NHL 220-32-31-63)

None of the players here truly established themselves as NHL regulars (although Dawes and Boyd did get to 200 games); that marginal existence (or in Wilson’s case, strong AHL career) has carried over to being excellent KHL players.  Does Bochenski’s domination of the KHL mean other players who dominate the league are Bochenski’s?  He out produced Ilya Kovalchuk, who was nearly a point-per-game in his last NHL season (12-13), but clearly isn’t anywhere near as talented as the Russian, so how much do their numbers matter?

NLA
Brett McLean (35) 50-18-26-44 (NHL 82-9-31-40 05-06; NHL 385-56-106-162)
Robbie Earl (28) 46-20-18-38 (NHL 32-6-0-6 09-10; AHL 313-66-103-169)
Alexandre Giroux (32) 46-20-18-38 (AHL 69-50-53-103 09-10; AHL 771-368-336-704)
Ahren Spylo (30) 47-16-22-38 (AHL 50-25-11-36 04-05; AHL 137-43-25-68)

These players have a less distinctive background in North America, being primarily AHL stars.  Joe Thornton was slightly better than a point-per-game player in the NLA (04-05), but this doesn’t mean Brett McLean is just a notch below him.  Not to beat my point to death, but clearly raw numbers from the league aren’t particularly useful in translating their production at the highest level

SHL
Chad Kolarik (28) 53-30-18-48 (AHL 76-31-37-68 12-13; AHL 277-98-111-209)
Ryan Gunderson (28) 54-8-33-41 (AHL 74-5-20-25 09-10; ECHL 156-9-98-107)
Rhett Rakshani (26) 55-13-25-38 (AHL 66-24-38-62 10-11; AHL 120-44-69-113)
Ryan Lasch (27) 54-20-16-36 (AHL 30-6-4-10 12-13; NCAA 161-79-104-183)

These players are quite similar to those above and I won’t bother making the point I’ve already made twice above.

Liiga
Ben Maxwell (26) 49-16-26-42 (AHL 73-22-36-58 08-09; AHL 296-68-140-208)
Corey Elkins (29) 54-15-25-40 (AHL 76-18-26-44 10-11; AHL 173-43-48-91)
Dan Sexton (27) 39-16-21-37 (NHL 41-9-10-19 09-10; AHL 144-36-64-100)
Aaron Gagnon (28) 48-17-19-36 (AHL 78-27-31-58; AHL 328-74-98-172)

The caliber here is quite Similar to the SHL.

DEL
Adam Courchaine (30) 51-29-45-74 (ECHL 42-21-28-49 05-06; ECHL 45-21-30-51)
Kevin Clark (26) 60-32-40-72 (AHL 72-12-19-31 11-12; AHL 160-26-60-56)
Blaine Down (31) 48-26-25-51 (AHL 54-8-13-21 02-03; AHL 134-18-28-46)
Derek Hahn (36) 52-12-34-46 (CHL 64-35-79-114 05-06; CHL 238-124-201-325)

This is a significant fall-off compared to the leagues above, as middling AHL and top ECHL players can make a big impact in the league.

The point of this isn’t to suggest we should give up the effort of understanding how a player’s performance in Europe translates at the next level, but as it stands all we can say with certainty is that big numbers in the top leagues (KHL, NLA, SHL, and Liiga) do translate at the AHL level (as they do in reverse).  Whatever limitations various players from either side of the Atlantic have, it seems like success in those leagues (or the AHL) easily moves back and forth, but that production does not have an obvious ratio at the next level.  I’m not sure what the solution to the conundrum is, but the problem shouldn’t come as a big surprise: massive point totals from junior players rarely translate to the NHL, but sometimes they do–the only certainty is that an absence of production at a lower level guarantees it will continue at the next.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Behind the Numbers of Binghamton’s 2013-14 Season

I wrote about Binghamton’s season back in April and then graded the prospects a week ago, but I return to the topic because Manny has gifted us with analytics via Josh Weissbock for the AHL.  Weissbock’s methodology is not included in the blog (just a link to his Twitter), but by the power of Internet I went and found an article he wrote for nhlnumbers which gives us somewhere to start:

To create a proxy for possession in the AHL, I looked at all games that have been played so far this year, added up each teams Shots For and Shots Against and calculated their Shots For %. This means there are some obvious limitations. These numbers also include special teams (not just even strength) and don’t take account score effects. So this a very rough proxy for the possession numbers we usually use for the NHL.

There’s clearly more to it now, but it sheds some light on where Weissbock’s numbers come from (he did Tweet how he calculated TOI).  I’m not going to break down each player comparing my thoughts to Manny’s because the differences aren’t extreme enough for that.  Instead I’ll highlight differences and reinforcements that I consider significant.

Goaltenders

I thought Andrew Hammond was solid in net and the numbers agree, although Manny believes more is needed from him next season; conversely I thought Nathan Lawson was average that was far too kind to the UFA.

Blueliners

No surprises here at all; I didn’t think much of Mark Borowiecki‘s season, nor is it a surprise to know he faced the toughest opposition in the league–I still expected more from him.

Forwards

I didn’t think much of Darren Kramer, Wacey Hamilton, or Corey Cowick‘s seasons and their underlying numbers are awful.  The former two comes as no surprise to anyone, but I think the data here makes it clear that Cowick cannot effectively handle a checking role (he was also a drag for Derek Grant and David Dziurzynski).  Jean-Gabriel Pageau was a monster against the toughest opposition.  It’s worth listing Binghamton’s forwards by the level of competition they faced (the number in brackets is where they finished in points-per-game in scoring by forwards; I’ve bolded the top-scorers):
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (4)
David Dziurzynski (11)
Derek Grant (9)
Jim O’Brien (8)
Corey Cowick (12)
Mark Stone (2)
Cole Schneider (5)
Matt Puempel (7)
Darren Kramer (14)
Wacey Hamilton (13)
Stephane Da Costa (3)
Buddy Robinson (10)
Mike Hoffman (1)
Shane Prince (6)
It would have been nice to see where Andre Petersson fit here before he left, but while excluded from Manny’s list his name appears amongst the bubbles of QoT/QoC and he slots ahead of Schneider above.  It’s worth pointing out that I gave Puempel and Prince equal grades and it’s clear the former had a better season given his QoT; Grant warranted a bit more generosity as well.

The last thing I want to address is the NHL Equivalency number included in the final chart.  These numbers are derived from a now gone-from-the-web Gabe Desjardins article, but Manny got his formula via Justin Azevedo:

chart

I have no doubt Desjardins put a lot of work into this, but as a cautionary tale for taking this chart as gospel, it predicts that Brandon Bochenski (KHL) is a 72-point producer at the NHL level (hell, Nigel Dawes is a 61-point player); or, for an AHL-example, Martin St. Louis should have been a 42-point NHL player.  I don’t think there’s a useful way to take statistics from one league and apply them to another, although it’s still fun to try.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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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