Reviewing Ottawa’s 2014 NHL Draft

With the draft in the books it’s time to take a look at how the Ottawa Senators did.  While they were unable to get a first round pick, the Sens picked in the second round for the first time since 2011.  The normal Murray draft trends continued, as they selected a local kid (Summers), a player from the QMJHL (Perron), picked from Sweden (Englund) and US leagues (Eiserman), but did not take anyone from the WHL (a staple) or go completely off the board.  While the team failed to trade Jason Spezza, they did make a minor deal with Winnipeg in order to acquire the pick they took Summers with (giving up their 6th in 2015).   I’ve compiled all the scouting reports I have.  Here’s who was picked (acronyms: Red Line Report (RLR), International Scouting Service (ISS), Hockey Prospect‘s (HP), and Future Considerations (FC)):

2-40 Andreas Englund (DL 6’3 SuperElit Djurgarden 33-5-5-10) Ranked: HP 42 RLR 44 FC 63 ISS 67
Physical defenseman with good feet was picked ahead of projections; scouts question his puck-skills, but they did the same for Mikael Wikstrand so I’ll take a wait-and-see attitude on that.  He’ll play for Djurgarden in the fall (either their junior or men’s team, or more likely, both).
RLR: Huge rearguard is very powerful and still a bit raw.  Workhorse with a massive frame and wingspan.  Consistently mean and aggres- sive.  Plays with an edge and really drives right through his man on big hits.  Nasty with his stick around the crease.  Controls gaps well and steps up at the blue line to deliver big hits.  Loves the physical aspect of game and looks to initiate contact.  Wins all battles down low.  Eats up ice with long strides and is fast straight-ahead even if he isn’t overly quick or agile.  Has a keen sense for when to join the rush.  Not a natural puck rusher or PP quarterback – even if he does pick his spots well – but is adept at sneaking in the back door on PP.  Showed improved composure on outlets and clearings.  As his best when he plays the body, wins the puck, finds the tape, and joins the rush. Projection:  Pounding, physical presence on the blue line. Style compares to:  Alexei Emelin
ISS: Englund is a big, physical defenseman who shows strong toughness below the goal and when battling for pucks. Strong awareness and anticipation to step up and lay the body. Above average mobility for his size and good feet to quickly react and takeaway offensive room. Doesn’t possess many offensive weapons as he thrives in the defensive leadership role utilizing every inch of his 6.03 frame. Thrives playing in a similar role with Djurgardens Junior and Allsvenskan this year where he could focus on his shutdown game and defending his own zone. Elevated his game to a higher level with Sweden at the U18 World Championships, took on a leadership role on the backend and showed tremendous character in doing the little things needed to win.   Size/Strength  Very Good Skating   Good Puck Skills  Average Shot   Average Offensive Play  Average Defensive Play  Excellent Physical Play  Very Good Competitiveness Very Good Hockey Sense  Very Good
HP: Englund is really big kid who competes hard. He didn’t show us a huge amount of hockey sense but he can really skate. He was in a group of the ‘big three’ we needed to see more of coming into the season. He’s the best skater by far over Lagesson and Olas-Mattsson. The size, skating ability and compete level make it easy to rank him as a draftable player. He plays with heart and wants to make a difference every game. He could have a wide range of rankings amongst the NHL teams.
FC: A two-way defenseman who is more physical than technical, Englund is solid in his own zone and pretty dangerous on the opposing blueline. Englund demonstrates impressive mobility and speed. He is a powerful skater and gets going quickly. He is balanced and controlled on his skates, and can move well for his size. He demonstrates strength on the puck and the ability to escape pressure in his own zone. Englund makes a good first pass and sends his team quickly up ice with quick outlets. He is a little too aggressive at times in his own zone, but he was mostly smart with his decision making. He takes space away quickly and isn’t afraid to use his body to take a man off the puck. He contains his man well and is strong against some bigger forwards. He shuts players down well with his size and is impressive down low in his own end, with the ability to win pucks and earn his team possession. Englund edges out opposing forwards well into the corners. Very strong and harsh on opponents in front of the net. Can be very tenacious, especially in those little one-on-one battles. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Six Two-Way Defenseman

3-70 Miles Gendron (DL 6’2 USHS Rivers 22-6-13-19) Ranked: HP 73 RLR 77 ISS 121 FC 179
Mixed opinions from scouts on the former forward; there are questions about how well he’s adapted to being a defenseman, but these are early days in his development.  He’s slated to play in the BCHL in September and then go to the NCAA with University of Connecticut subsequently.
RLR: Wild young colt plays like a rover, which is understandable since he was a forward until a year ago.  Likes to wander and move up into the play – pushes the attack.  Is one of the best pure skaters in this draft with a long, fluid stride and terrific mobility.  Great first step burst and accelerates to full speed in two strides.  Crisp edging and balance with sharp stop/starts, directional change and recovery speed.  But backs in on his goalie constantly — as you would expect, he’s not yet confident in his gap control.  Also plays with only one hand on the stick too much and has very little understanding of defensive zone positioning and coverage down low.  Can either make crisp, pro style outlets or carry the puck up out of danger himself.  Has terrific puck skills and natural instincts.  A longterm project with an extremely high offensive ceiling. Projection:  Wildcard rover from the back end. Style compares to:  Nick Leddy
ISS: A gifted offensive player with natural play- making ability. An excellent skater with good speed who can change gears without hesitation and loves carrying the puck. Possesses a hard, accurate point shot that he can get off in no time and is adept at skating in from the blue-line and making cross-crease passes to his team-mates. Had played as a forward in the past and is a work in progress defensively who can sometimes create too many turnovers due to his high-risk approach. Tries to do too much on his own. Still needs to get stronger physically as he has a lanky frame. Was Green Bay’s 11th Round Pick, 177th Overall in 2014 USHL draft and has verbal with University of Connecticut, 2015-16.  Size/Strength  Good Skating   Excellent Puck Skills  Very Good Shot   Good Offensive Play  Very Good Defensive Play  Average Physical Play  Average Competitiveness Good Hockey Sense  Good
HP: Miles is an outstanding skater, especially for his size and he utilizes his size and speed to take the puck end to end. He has strong puck handling ability but likes to utilize his skating to his advantage. Miles is a bit of a project as he needs to get stronger and needs to improve defensively but he has the skating to recover when he goes out of position. He has signed on to join the Penticton Vees of the BCHL for one year before heading to the University of Connecticut in September 2015. He will be a long term project but could really pay off in the end to a team that remains patient.
FC: A very raw, but talented puck-moving defender. Made the switch to defense for his senior year and there have been many struggles. With his size, his exceptional skating ability and his ability to skate with the puck, he can be a dangerous puck rusher. Looks lost during some of his shifts as he struggles to find proper position. However, when he gets the puck on his stick, he has the ability to create offense quite quickly by making a strong, long-range breakout pass or carrying it out of his zone himself. Very creative, has impressive vision and is able to control the puck well with his skilled hands and reach. Might have the best skating ability on the East Coast. Has a decent wrist shot, but needs to improve his velocity and release of his slap shot. Playing as a defenseman might have been the wrong choice. After watching him closely since last summer, he has yet to develop any type of feel for the game from the backend. Has no idea how to keep a solid gap, and often has incredibly poor stick position. Could a move back to forward be in the cards? NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Six Offensive Blueliner

4-100 Shane Eiserman (LW 6’2 USHL Dubuque 53-16-24-40) Ranked: ISS 48 FC 57 RLR 95 HP 97
Mixed feelings about Eiserman who dropped beyond anyone’s expectations (if not by much); some question his work-ethic, his skating, and whether he’s plateau’d, but projects as a rugged power forward and pest.  He’s committed to the University of New Hampshire (NCAA) in the fall.
RLR: One of the year’s biggest disappointments.  Could have challenged for the first round, but word is he developed quite an attitude.  His game has hit a plateau.  At his best, he’s an honest, hard-working, two-way winger who plays a pro style, north-south game.  Rugged and likes to initiate contact.  Does his best work down low in the offensive zone and is at his best when powering down the slot causing trouble and looking for rebounds.  But just like the movie “Groundhog Day,” his season became the same scenario game in and game out:  drive down the wing, lose the puck, lazily backcheck.  Rinse, repeat.  There was no variety or development, and we hear he doesn’t retain coaching well – a major red flag.  He’s a powerful skater with strength and balance, but needs to improve his first step quickness and lacks a top-end gear.  Uses his size/strength effectively along the walls and will sell out his body to clear the defensive zone consistently. Projection:  Rugged, physical 4th line grinder. Style compares to:  Travis Moen
ISS: Eiserman has come a long way in the past few years. His development with the US NTPD was strong and developed him into an extremely competitive player. He is a relentless and intimidating forechecker who can be like a bull in a china shop at times. He likes to battle and play the body as much as he possibly and that includes driving lanes right down the middle of the ice or the most direct route to the net, regardless of how many opponents occupy those lanes. It is not uncommon to see him mixing it up around the net and making life hard for opposing goaltenders. He has a strong powerful stride and shows great balance on his skates and can also show off a strong shot from time to time.  He can lose sight of other options other than the net at times and that can cost him here and there.  Size/Strength  Very Good Skating   Very Good Puck Skills  Good Shot   Very Good Offensive Play  Good Defensive Play  Good Physical Play  Very Good Competitiveness Very Good Hockey Sense  Very Good
HP: The QMJHL draftee opted for the USNTDP for a season before leaving the national program for Dubuque after the 2012-2013 season. While with the national program he also represented Team USA at the 2013 U18’s, where he recorded one assist in six games during the tournament. Eiserman is a big, strong, physical power forward with the skill and skating ability to match. He is a heavy hitter, and is always looking to put a body on someone whenever given the chance. Some of the biggest hits viewed all season long came courtesy of Shane. High compete level at both ends of the ice, responsible defensively. He backchecks hard, always covers his assignment in the defensive zone, has good support, and is responsible with the puck in his own end. He always plays it safe and smart outleting the puck, and is very largely mistake-free in his own end. He’s a big body, and that combined with his high effort level leads to him winning most board battles. There are times where the effort level was in question, however, and was less consistent than you would like. Offensively, Shane has the skating ability, strength, and hands to bull his way through traffic. When he’s not bulldozing, he’s drawing defenders to him and dishing the puck off to teammates. He uses his line mates well and creates a lot of space for them and himself to operate. He often just simply overpowers defenders, plain and simple.  He has decent foot speed and mobility, but it could be improved. Once at full speed, though, he’s tough to stop. His offensive play did tail off a bit toward the end of the season, and he had a disappointing Clark Cup Playoff, registering only two assists in seven games. The dip was a bit concerning, as were the periods where it seemed like he could work harder, so it will be interesting to see how he responds at the University of New Hampshire next season. If he works hard and the effort is there, he could be a real good power forward at the NHL level, but the effort has to become much more consistent.
FC: A prototypical power forward, Eiserman has effective size and impressive skill with the puck. Eiserman is a very good skater with a powerful stride and highly effective acceleration coming down the wing. He is effective playing a north-south game, and likes to use his power and speed to take the puck down the wing and then find a lane to crash the net. Eiserman has a quick, powerful shot that he’ll use off the rush, and he is also very successful when driving the net from an outside lane. He does a good job finding his teammates off the rush, but there are times where his decision making with the puck fluctuates. He has a tendency to attempt to force the issue with the puck and will give it away or make a poor feed. Eiserman does a good job using his size both with and without the puck. He protects it well, and also does an exceptional job at getting in hard on the forecheck and banging players off the puck. Eiserman will return defensively, but at times, seems lost in his own zone and can improve his defensive game as well as his overall consistency. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Nine Power Forward

7-189 Kelly Summers (DR 6’2 CCHL Carleton Place 56-17-43-60) Ranked: ISS 61 FC 66 HP 134 RLR 235
Taken well ahead of his rankings (excluding RLR), the blueliner, who may have skating issues to work on (ISS and FC have opposite opinions about it), but otherwise is thought well of.  He’ll play for Clarkson (NCAA) this upcoming season.
RLR: offers no scouting report on him
ISS: Possesses an excellent head for the game and makes smart decisions with the puck. A good skater with plus mobility and above-average play-making skills. Is an effective general with the man advantage and likes the puck on his stick. A reliable defensive zone player that can either carry the puck out thanks to his mobility and skating ability, or who can get the puck up quickly to his forwards. Plays with poise and confidence in all situations and can log a ton of minutes when required. Has a very high panic threshold when being pressured by opposing fore-checkers. Can be physical and has game in this regard, picked his spots to be physical especially on the offensive blue line when pinching. Front net presence was very good with a very active stick.  Size/Strength  Very Good Skating   Very Good Puck Skills  Very Good Shot   Very Good Offensive Play  Very Good Defensive Play  Good Physical Play  Average Competitiveness Good Hockey Sense  Very Good
HP: offers no scouting report on him (despite the ranking)
FC: Summers is a good skater with excellent pivots and lateral movement. Uses his skating ability to get out of trouble and has no problem handling the puck. Always seemed to have his head up. Summers moves the puck extremely well. Good tape-to-tape passes and doesn’t take unnecessary chances coming out of his zone. His point shots always seem to find their way to the net. Strong sense of when to pinch and when to back off. He uses his big frame effectively in the corners, tying up his competition and winning puck battles. Summers is not a player who will get into many fights, but he will not shy away from contact either. Makes smart plays in his own end and has good vision quarterbacking the power play. Challenges rushing players one on one and wins the battles. He also uses his frame to battle at the front of the net and does not get out of position looking for big hits. It’s impressive how much he has worked on his skating since the beginning of the year. He has clearly been working on his foot work and improving his overall speed. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Six Two-Way Defenseman

7-190 Francis Perron (C/LW 6’0 QMJHL Rouyn-Noranda 68-16-39-55) Ranked: RLR 78 ISS 110 FC 145 HP n/r
Taken well after his usual rankings, the playmaker is knocked below mostly for his size (a dubious quality the further we get into advanced statistical analysis).  He’ll spend a couple of seasons in the Q before the team has to make a decision on him.
RLR: Smooth skater with soft hands and a quick release, especially from the off wing.  Slightly built, but willing to battle for loose pucks and heads into traffic.  More a playmaker than a scorer, and looks to pass first before finding his own shot.  Soft passing touch off both sides of the blade, and can feather saucers through traffic even in short areas.  Makes good reads in transition and sets up numerous odd-man rushes.  Just starting to come into his own and rapidly gained confidence over the season’s second half.  Impressed us with his agility and instinctive offensive mind – thinks outside the box.  Slender frame and will need to add loads of upper body strength to be able to battle more effectively in tight quarters and push through checks at the next level. Projection:  Versatile 3rd line winger. Style compares to:  Reilly Smith
ISS: The first thing that stands out about Perron is his smooth fluid stride, good quickness and edge use.  He is a player with good offensive upside; good 1 on 1 skill set and shot, good read/anticipation on the offensive side of the puck, plus sees the ice well and has above average playmaking ability. The biggest weakness in his game is the lack of a physical game and a willingness to play in traffic.  He plays mainly in open areas, seemed unwilling to compete and battle for pucks, and unwilling to compete and battle for space.  He did play in all situations for Rouyn-Noranda and does utilize his speed, quick feet and stick well on the penalty kill.   Size/Strength  Average Skating   Very Good Puck Skills  Good Shot   Good Offensive Play  Good Defensive Play  Average Physical Play  Average Competitiveness Average Hockey Sense  Good
HP: does not include him
FC: Perron is a small-framed, but skilled player. He is a really good skater, agile and shifty, not really powerful though and doesn’t have very good balance. Because of his frame, he is not a physical player. He will finish a check, but it doesn’t impact the game at all. He’s not the kind of guy to engage and he tries to avoid being hit as well. He plays at the point on the power play, where he displays really good, quick hands and nice vision. He can make good, accurate saucer passes and touch passes. Puts the puck into open space for teammates ahead of them being open, and can do so with pressure in his face. He has yet to find that shift-to-shift consistency, but has some flashes each and every game. He can finish plays as well as set them up. He is not a goal scorer per se as his shot is accurate, but not very hard. Perron is the kind of skilled guy who can become a late bloomer if he adds more weight and strength to his frame. He has a good skill set, but the transition to the next level is a question mark due to his size. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Nine Playmaking Winger

Was it a good draft?  With three college-bound players it will be a long time before we know for certain–none of these players will be suiting up for the Sens or B-Sens in the near future.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa 2014 Draft Thoughts

Just a brief thought on who the Sens may draft today and tomorrow.  Ottawa is a difficult team to predict, regularly taking players who are off the radar (Emil Sandin in 2008, Brad Peltz in 2009, Marcus Sorensen in 2010, Jordan Fransoo in 2011, Tim Boyle in 2012, and so on).  The best fans can do is look at player rankings and pay attention to what the organisation is saying and doing beforehand.  The mantra of best-player-available has been consistent.  The only firm trend the Sens have had under Bryan Murray has not picked from Europe unless it’s from Sweden.  I don’t think this is an actual “rule”, but clearly their scouting is strong in Sweden and circumstances have worked against Finnish or Czech or any other European league.  We can be assured there will be players from the CHL, US leagues, and Sweden taken, but not preclude other possibilities.

The Sens currently have the following picks: 2nd (40), 3rd (70), 4th (100), and 7th (190).  Here’s who they would pick according to each guide I’ve seen (Future Considerations, Hockey Prospect’s, ISS, and Red Line Report) and my own list list:
2nd: Markus Pettersson (FC), Julius Honka (ISS), Aaron Irving (RLR), Sebastian Aho (HP), Alex Nedelijkovic (me) – I don’t believe Pettersson or Honka will be available at this point and it’s unlikely the Sens will take a goalie (Nedelijkovic), so from this list I’d go with Aho
3rd: Nick Magyar (FC, ISS), Edwin Minney (RLR), Miro Keskitalo (HP), Oskar Lindblom (me) – my list (Lindblom) works here
4th: Michael Bunting (FC), Ryan Donato (ISS), Jonathan MacLeod (RLR), Matt Iacopelli (HP), Logan Halladay (me) – I don’t believe Bunting, Donato, or MacLeod will be available, so I’ll stick with my pick here (Halladay)
7th:  Nicholas Jones (FC), Ryan Hitchcock (ISS), Waltteri Hopponen (RLR), Arkhip Nekolenko (HP), Nikita Lyamkin (me) – the Sens won’t touch Russians and I don’t think Hitchcock or Hopponen will be available, so this defaults to Jones

Take it all with a grain of salt, and remember it’s likely the Sens will get a pick from trading Jason Spezza, but it’s food for thought.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Analysis and Predictions for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft

The 2014 NHL draft is tomorrow and it’s time to put on my prediction hat and take a look at who will be selected.  Before we get to the list is a short preamble explaining my reasoning and methodology.

With the advent of the NHL salary cap after the 2004-05 lockout, it became paramount for all organisations to invest in their scouting operations and draft well. Teams could no longer simply buy their way out of trouble or plug holes with expensive free agent talent. That change has helped drive the cottage industry that is draft prediction, but the wide variety of sources are not created equal and few of those who provide their opinions will reflect on their subsequent accuracy. It is my purpose here to collate the best sources and provide insight into who will be selected in this year’s upcoming NHL entry draft.

This is my fifth year predicting the draft (beginning with the now defunct Hockey Herald back in 2010). That year I picked 72% of the entire class (well ahead of my sources), while in 2011 I picked 70% (again well ahead), 75% in 2012 (two points up on Red Line Report), and 69% in 2013 (tied with Hockey Prospect‘s).  What follows is a continuation of the same analysis.

My method is to take the sum of reliable sources and produce a number (player X is ranked 15, 24, and 32, by different sources, those numbers are then added and averaged). This gives me a number I can use to compare that player to others. I then engage in further comparative analysis—for instance, if player X has a higher aggregate score, but player Y has the higher median score, the latter is given the higher position (so 11, 30, 31, 38 vs 12, 13, 16, 69). Precise predictions (player X at pick #29) are much more difficult and rare outside the first round (25% is a very good ratio overall). It’s worth noting that there is a difference between assessing who the best player is versus who a team will draft. Some publications give weight to the latter, while other sources do not. My purpose here is to slot players where they will be picked rather than assessing who is the best.

Determining my Sources of Data

While a wide variety of media and bloggers produce draft predictions (especially for the first round), not all are created equal. My preference is the professional scouting community itself and those sources that they rely on. For that purpose, the International Scouting Service (ISS), Kyle Woodlief’s Red Line Report (RLR), and Central Scouting (CS) are included. Central Scouting is the NHL’s own scouting service, while ISS and RLR are independent scouting services used within the NHL.

Rounding out my sources this year are the only two magazines to predict the entire draft: Aaron Vickers’ Future Considerations (FC) and Mark Edwards’ Hockey Prospect‘s (HP). They provide extensive predictions and are put together by knowledgeable hockey people.  I have used other sources in the past (Corey Pronman, The Hockey Writers, The Hockey News, etc), but have found they generally just muddy the waters so I’m keeping things tight this year.

It must be noted that both ISS and CS have inherent comparative problems. Central Scouting does not create a master list—players are divided into North American and European regions, and further subdivided into skaters and goaltenders. ISS separates their goaltenders into a separate ranking. These drawbacks are part of the reason I load up with the additional data.

Notes

Acronyms: ISS (International Scouting Service), CS (Central Scouting), RLR (Red Line Report), HP (Hockey Prospect), and FC (Future Considerations). For convenience I’ve identified goaltenders and defenseman in the player comments.

Ranking depth: CS 394, RLR 320, ISS 220 (200 skaters and 20 goaltenders), HP 210+ (it’s not tallied beyond that), FC 210.

I compared the guides recently where I pointed out some of their difference (as well as what I thought made for the best buy).

This draft is considered a weak one without much depth, which makes rankings more tenuous than normal.  It also helps explain the larger than usual number of 25 and under Europeans signed as free agents beforehand (I’ve included a list of them at the end of the article).

A final comment: the most obvious struggle for accurate scouting assessment remains players in Europe, who are underrepresented in lists for the obvious reason that it’s more expensive to cover Europe.

First Round

My sources have 21 players in common for this round, with a total of 40 players selected for it; three different players are slotted at #1.

1. Sam Bennett (2.25) – despite not having the highest score, he’s the only player with multiple #1 selections (RLR and HP; also first with CS)
2. Aaron Ekblad (2.00) – defenseman has the identical score as Reinhart below, but CS’ score pushes him over the top
3. Sam Reinhart (2.00) – the last player who could go #1 (ISS)
4. Leon Draisaitl (5.25) – ties Dal Colle below, but gets the edge via CS
5. Michael Dal Colle (5.25) – the final player whom all sources list within the top-ten
6. William Nylander (7.00) – the first player out of Sweden; listed as high as #4 (FC)
7. Nikolaj Ehlers (7.25) – HP makes him their #4 pick in the draft
8. Nick Ritchie (7.5) – HP with the high of #5
9. Jake Virtanen (10.5) – two picks at #7, he drops largely because of HP’s #18
10. Hayden Fleury (11.0) – defenseman has a very narrow range (#9-#13)
11. Robby Fabbri (14.0) – score hurt by HP’s #24 (CS isn’t high on him either), he has two top-ten selections from ISS and RLR
12. Dylan Larkin (13.5)
13. Kevin Fiala (14.5) – ISS has him all the way down at #20
14. Brendan Perlini (15.0) – very split opinions; he’s the last player with a top-ten selection (#9 ISS)
15. Sonny Milano (15.5) – HP with the high (#12)
16. Alex Tuch (15.75) – gets the edge over Barbashev due to the Russian factor and CS love
17. Ivan Barbashev (15.75)
18. David Pastrnak (20.5) – score thrown off by ISS’ second round placement (#33), which is a heavy outlier compared to all other sources
19. Josh Ho-sang (30.25) – score tilted by HP’s third round placement (#61)
20. Jared McCann (18.75) – widely different placements (#12-#25)
21. Kasperi Kapanen (21.75) – widely divergent rankings for the first player playing in Finland (#13-#29)
22. Nikita Scherbak (21.75) – the second player carrying a second-round selection (FC)
23. Nikolay Goldobin (24.5) – RLR has him at #18
24. Conner Bleackley (25.25) – a second-rounder for RLR
25. Jakub Vrana (26.0) – the final player that all sources slot in the first round
26. Adrian Kempe (27.0) – second-rounder for RLR
27. Roland McKeown (40.25) – defenseman’s score thrown by HP’s third-round ranking (#83; against three first round selections)
28. Travis Sanheim (31.0) – HP loves the blueliner (#16)
29. Jack Dougherty (31.5) – defenseman’s number drops due to ISS (#42)
30. Nick Schmaltz (35.25) – edges out Kamenev (one of the other remaining player with two first-round selections) due to the Russian factor, while beating Lemieux head-to-head

Here are the other 10 players who received first-round selections: Lemieux (2), Kamenev (2), Honka, DeAngelo, Demko, Pettersson, Glover, MacInnis, Quenneville, and Cornel.  The list above has 28 players in common with Bob McKenzie‘s list (with Honka and Demko not making mine; Dougherty and Goldobin not making his).

Second Round

Of the players not listed above, there are only 3 players who only received 2nd round picks (McDonald, Point, and Nedelijkovic).

31. Brendan Lemieux (31.75)
32. Valdislav Kamenev (32.75) – the final player with two first-round selections (ISS, RLR), the Russian factor could push him further down
33. Julius Honka (31.50) – HP slots the defender in the first round (#23)
34. Thatcher Demko (32.0) – the top goalie for ISS and CS, FC has him in the first round (#22)
35. Anthony DeAngelo (32.25) – blueliner is a first-rounder for FC (#29)
36. Markus Pettersson (35.25) – defenseman is slightly behind McDonald in numbers, but his higher first-round placement (#25 from RLR) and the fact that goaltenders tend to slide slots him here
37. Mason McDonald (34.33) – the second goalie on the list (for both ISS and CS)
38. Ryan MacInnis (46.75) – suffers from RLR’s ranking (#87); ISS has him in the first round (#25)
39. Brayden Point (42.5) – while he has no first-round selections, he’s one of the only players consistently slotted in the second
40. Alex Nedelijkovic (46.33) – the next goaltender on the list
41. Jack Glover (46.5) – boosted by RLR (#23), he’s a third-rounder for HP (#66)
42. John Quenneville (47.5) – another RLR favourite (#24) that HP doesn’t agree with (#81)
43. Eric Cornel (51.5) – much as above, except FC likes him (#30) while HP doesn’t (#89)
44. Anton Karlsson (47.0) – Swede suffers from HP’s ranking (#67)
45. Brett Pollock (48.25) – only FC puts him in the third round (#68)
46. Justin Kirkland (49.25) – once again HP slots him in the third (#68)
47. Dominik Masin (68.5) – suffers from FC’s fifth-round slot (#130) which is a clear outlier from his second-round placement elsewhere
48. Josh Jacobs (54.75) – blueliner suffers from HP’s ranking (#69)
49. Adam Mattsson (86.0) – Swedish defender is punished by his FC ranking (#195), which is an outlier compared to his otherwise second-round slots
50. Andreas Englund (54.0) – split opinions on the Swedish defenseman, with RLR and HP having him in the second and FC and ISS in the third
51. Gustav Forsling (56.33) – Swedish defender is strangely not ranked by RLR
52. Vaclav Karabacek (60.5) – suffers from HP’s ranking (#79)
53. Ryan Collins (61.75) – defender hurt by HP’s ranking (#84)
54. Hunter Smith (62.25) – marks the beginnings of divisive opinions; two second-round picks, with a third (RLR) and fourth (FC)
55. Ryan Donato (62.5) – as above, with RLR putting him in the third and ISS in the fourth
56. Emil Johansson (63.33) – Swedish defenseman is put well out of the draft by RLR, but he’s a second-rounder for HP and ISS
57. Chase De Leo (64.0) – slightly less radical rankings, with two seconds and two thirds
58. Nicolas Aube-Kubel (67.5) – suffers from a fourth-round hit from RLR (#106)
59. Jayce Hawryluk (64.75) – two second-round picks with a third (FC) and fourth (ISS)
60. Dylan Sadowy (69.75) – yet another split opinion with two seconds (ISS, HP) and two fourths (RLR, FC)

There are eight players remaining with two second-round selections: MacLeod, Tkachev, Lammikko, Bunting, Eiserman, Hickey, Watson, and Lindblom.  Bob McKenzie and I have the differences mentioned in the first round, along with Martin (3rd), Foegele (4th), Thomas (3rd), Peters (3rd), MacLeod (3rd), Kase (3rd), Iverson (4th), and Walman (3rd); he excludes Sadowy, De Leo, Johansson, Collins (gets an “honourable mention”), Forsling, Mattsson, Jacobs, and Kirkland.

Third Round

61. Juho Lammikko (71.25) – hurt by FC’s ranking (#120)
62. Vladimir Tkachev (70.75) – a toss-up between he and MacLeod, but his scores are slightly better in comparison; oddly not ranked by CS
63. Jonathan MacLeod (70.5) – benefits from HP’s ranking (#50)
64. Jake Walman (64.0) – consistent third-round picks for the defenseman, but his number is boosted by HP (#55)
65. Sebastian Aho (62.0) – Finnish blueliner is oddly not ranked by RLR; he’s a second-rounder for HP (#40)
66. Michael Bunting (72.25) – a second-rounder for both ISS and HP
67. Spencer Watson (84.25) – ranking is thrown off by HP (#131)
68. Shane Eiserman (74.25) – either a second-round player (FC, ISS) or a fourth (RLR, HP)
69. Brandon Hickey (80.75) – defenseman is another two second, two fourth prospect (ISS, HP; RLR, FC)
70. Oskar Lindblom (108.0) – Swede’s number takes a pummelling from RLR (#203), but he’s a second-rounder for ISS and HP
71. Blake Siebenaler (70.25) – defender gets a second-round nod from FC (#49)
72. Brycen Martin (76.75) – blueliner is highly touted by FC (#39), he’s a fifth-round pick for HP (#132)
73. Alexis Vanier (82.5) – defenseman has a similar issue–#51 for FC, he’s #143 for ISS (gets an “honourable mention” from McKenzie)
74. Connor Chatham (83.25) – RLR puts him in the fourth round (#119), gets a second-round nod from ISS (#54)
75. Aaron Irving (87.0) – blueliner is a second round pick for RLR (#40), but a sixth-rounder for HP (#151)
76. Alex Peters (85.0) – defender is a second-round pick for ISS (#47), the fifth for FC (#131)
77. Maxim Letunov (87.25) – second-round for HP (#51), he’s in the fifth for FC (#139)
78. Dysin Mayo (90.75) – defender is in the second round for RLR (#46), he’s in the fifth for ISS (#149)
79. Noah Rod (92.5) – Swede gets a second round nod from HP (#39), but is a sixth-rounder for FC (#165)
80. Aaron Haydon (94.25) – blueliner gets a similar split; #48 for FC, #158 for HP
81. Igor Shestyorkin (90.66) – goaltender goes unranked by ISS and CS; a second-round pick for RLR (#41)
82. Luc Snuggerud (102.75) – defenders ranking is hurt by HP (#179); a second-rounder for ISS (#56)
83. Ben Thomas (82.75) – defenseman gets three third-round votes with a fourth from FC (#94)
84. Jacob Middleton (81.33) – blueliner is not ranked by HP or CS, but gets a pair of third-round nods (FC, RLR)
85. Nick Magyar (84.75) – punished by RLR (#134), he’s otherwise solidly a third-rounder
86. Daniel Audette (90.25) – split between third and fourth picks (FC, RLR; ISS, HP)
87. Nelson Nogier (102.0) – blueliner is hurt by RLR’s ranking (#168)
88. Summers (87.0) – outside the draft for RLR, but a pair of early thirds from FC and ISS
89. Miles Gendron (111.75) – defenseman’s ranking is hurt by FC (#176)
90. Ondrej Kase (103.25) – ISS makes him a fifth-rounder (#150)

Five other players receive two third-round selections: Franklin (RLR, HP), Duke (HP, FC), Bishop (FC, ISS), Kulda (HP, ISS), and Gardiner (RLR, FC).

Fourth Round

91. Reid Gardiner (98.75) – very narrow range between the third and fourth round (#84-#118)
92. Clark Bishop (104.5) – gets an “honourable mention” from McKenzie
93. Reid Duke (106.25)
94. C. J. Franklin (79.5) – another run through the draft; not listed by FC or ISS, he’s the last player with two-third round selections
95. Edgars Kulda (117.0) – overager not selected by FC, but two third-round picks slots him here
96. Matt Berkovitz (91.0) – defenseman not selected by ISS
97. Alex Schoenborn (98.0) – not picked by FC
98. Darby Llewellyn (100.0) – ISS with the high (#78) and no picks outside the fourth round
99. Ville Husso (108.0) – CS’ top goalie out of Europe, ISS ranks him highly but he’s a fourth or fifth-round pick otherwise; not picked last year
100. Logan Halladay (102.0) – goaltender’s rankings all over the place, with a second-round slot from HP (#59) down to the sixth-round for FC (#166)
101. Matthew Mistele (110.0) – a third and two fourth-round picks give him more consistency than those with a better score who follow
102. Austin Poganski (112.75) – three fourth-round picks (ISS is the outlier)
103. Alexandre Goulet (113.5) – his ranking is thrown off by RLR (#157)
104. Julien Nantel (108.5) – HP is a fan (#63)
105. Tyson Baillie (109.25) – RLR likes him (#71)
106. William Lagesson (112.66) – defenseman inexplicably not ranked by RLR; #71 for ISS
107. Rourke Chartier (111.75) – FC gives him the highest rank (#78)
108. Keagan Iverson (113.25) – ISS is a fan (#85)
109. Mike Amadio (111.5) – ISS puts him in the third round (#87)
110. Brett Lernout (116.25) – ISS has the blueliner in the third round (#83)
111. Nikita Tryamkin (100.5) – not ranked by either RLR or HP, ISS has the Russian defenseman in the third round (#66)
112. Dakota Joshua (98.0) – not ranked by FC or ISS
113. Edwin Minney (98.5) – RLR is a fan of the goaltender (#70)
114. Richard Nejezchleb (110.0) – ISS has him highest (#84); RLR does not list him
115. Francis Perron (110.0) – HP does not list him; RLR has him at #78
116. Max Willman (113.0) – FC and ISS do not list him
117. Warren Foegele (115.5) – ISS and HP do not list him
118. Hayden Lavigne (120.0) – ISS and RLR do not list the goaltender
119. Christian Jaros (134.33) – Swedish blueliner is not ranked by HP, but is listed high in the fourth round by RLR and ISS
120. Kaapo Kahkonen (130.66) – Finnish goaltender is hurt by HP’s ranking (#189); gets an “honourable mention” from McKenzie

Twelve players remaining have two fourth-round (or better) selections: Wolff, Mangiapane, Iacopelli, Starrett, Pelletier, Jenkins, Moran, Holmstrom, Dvorak, Valiev, Fazleev, and Sharov.

Fifth Round

121. Nick Wolff (128.0) – defenseman’s number takes a hit from HP (#181)
122. Julien Pelletier (128.0) – has a third round pick (FC) to go along with a pair of fourths
123. Beau Starrett (127.75) – HP is not a fan (#174)
124. Brent Moran (133.66) – goaltender suffers from RLR’s ranking (#193)
125. Axel Holmstrom (140.33) – put out of the draft by RLR and not listed by ISS, his fourth-round scores by FC and HP are excellent
126. Kyle Jenkins (131.0) – defenseman is not listed by FC, but gets fourth-round picks from ISS and HP
127. Andrew Mangiapane (120.33) – not listed by ISS
128. Matt Iacopelli (123.33) – not listed by ISS
129. Alexander Sharov (176.0) – Russian put well out of the draft by RLR and not listed by ISS
130. Shane Gersich (120.5) – gets a second-round nod from RLR (#52)
131. Brandon Montour (125.25) – overage defenseman is a second-round pick for HP (#57)
132. Christian Dvorak (128.0) – a second-rounder for RLR (#38); “honourable mention” from McKenzie
133. Rinat Valiev (131.66) – defenseman suffers from RLR’s rating (#209), which is ironic because they were very high on him last year
134. Radel Fazleev (134.75) – bolstered by RLR’s ranking (#75)
135. Olivier Leblanc (133.75) – defenseman is among the last ranked in the draft by all sources
136. J. J. Piccinich (137.25) – hurt by HP’s ranking (#207)
137. Karson Kuhlman (143.5) – a third-round pick for RLR (#74)
138. Blake Hillman (120.5) – defenseman is not listed by FC and ISS
139. Colby Cave (121.0) – not listed by FC and HP; he was passed over last year as well
140. Dylan Gambrell (124.0) – not picked by FC and ISS
141. Pavel Kraskovsky (128.0) – FC leaves the Russian off their list
142. Miro Keskitalo (126.0) – Finnish blueliner not selected by FC and RLR
143. Matthew Highmore (126.5) – not ranked by ISS and HP
144. Stefan Leblanc (131.5) – unlisted by ISS and HP
145. Duncan MacIntyre (132.0) – blueliner left out by FC and HP
146. Lucas Wallmark (137.0) – plodding Swede was the highest ranked player not taken in the last draft; left off the ISS list
147. Joni Tuulola (147.0) – Finnish defenseman gets a high of #93 from ISS
148. Pierre Engvall (139.66) – Swede not listed by RLR
149. Luke Philp (137.25) – picked by all sources to be selected in the draft
150. Vladislav Gavrikov (146.66) – blueliner a third-rounder for FC (#80), he’s not listed by FC and not in the draft by RLR

Fifteen players have two fifth-round (or better) selections: Belpedio, Bayreuther, Donaghey, Bird, Pyrochta, Rosdahl, Baltisberger, Descheneau, Hitchcock, Muzito-Bagenda, Phelps, Pepin, Bergman, Jenys, and Halverson.

Sixth Round

151. Ryan Mantha (143.66) – a second-rounder for ISS (#59); he’s not listed by HP
152. Louis Belpedio (143.25) – defenseman gets a high of #111 from FC
153. Julius Bergman (173.0) – Swedish defenseman takes a hit from RLR which puts him out of the draft; not ranked by HP
154. Pavel Jenys (175.66) – RLR puts him out of the draft; HP does not rank him
155. Tyler Bird (146.0) – not ranked by ISS
156. Alexis Pepin (145.75) – FC with the high (#117) and RLR the low (#202)
157. Ryan Hitchcock (155.25) – all sources place him in the draft
158. Jaedon Descheneau (154.5) – as above; undersized forward went undrafted last year
159. Phil Baltisberger (152.33) – defenseman is not picked by HP
160. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda (157.0) – Swede goes unlisted by HP
161. Chase Phelps (163.66) – ISS leaves him off their list
162. Cody Donaghey (139.5) – defenseman is a fifth-rounder for HP and FC while being left off the other lists
163. Gavin Bayreuther (139.0) – as above
164. Brandon Halverson (186.0) – goaltender is listed outside the draft by RLR, but otherwise is a solid fifth-round pick
165. Kim Rosdahl (148.5) – the last player with two selections in the fifth (or higher); he goes unlisted by FC and ISS
166. Yegor Korshkov (137.5) – unlisted by FC and RLR
167. Dominic Turgeon (142.33) – HP has him in the fourth (#113), FC leaves him off their list
168. Filip Pyrochta (140.0) – defender a third from FC (#87), ISS puts him in the seventh and HP and RLR don’t list him
169. Blake Clarke (139.0) – doesn’t make the cut for FC and HP
170. Austin Lotz (146.0) – goaltender was passed over in the draft last year and ISS leaves him out this year
171. Brandon Prophet (150.5) – defender gets a fourth-round slot from FC (#113)
172. Anders Bjork (152.75) – a fourth-round nod from ISS (#104)
173. Rihards Bukarts (155.5) – a third-rounder for RLR (#86)
174. Riley Stadel (150.0) – defenseman has solid scores across the board, although FC has him out of the draft
175. Waltteri Hopponen (150.33) – buoyed by FC’s ranking (#73), he’s unranked by HP
176. Ryan Verbeek (155.0) – among the last players ranked in the draft by all sources; he’s a fourth-round pick from HP (#116)
177. Yannick Rathgeb (155.33) – defenseman’s rankings all over the place, with a fourth from FC (#109) and out of the draft for HP
178. Henrik Tornqvist (158.33) – Swede gets solid fifth-sixth round ranks except from RLR who doesn’t include him
179. Vitek Vanecek (160.5) – goaltender is given a pass by HP, but gets consistent numbers otherwise
180. Chase Perry (173.33) – goaltender is put out of the draft by RLR, while HP has him in the third round (#86)

There are three players with three selections in the fifth or sixth rounds: Kalapudas, Spinner, and Evans; no player remains that all sources pick to be drafted.

Seventh Round

181. Ryan Foss (177.25) – takes a pummeling from RLR putting him out of the draft; three sixth-round picks otherwise
182. Jake Evans (188.0) – RLR puts him well out of the draft
183. Steven Spinner (183.5) – hurt by RLR putting him out of the draft
184. Antti Kalapudas (174.0) – Finn is not ranked by RLR
185. Dallas Valentine (159.33) – defenseman is a fourth-rounder for ISS (#104), but out of the draft for FC
186. Aleksander Mikulovich (183.25) – blueliner is the last player with three sources putting him in the draft; RLR has him on the outside looking in
187. Seamus Malone (162.0) – a third-rounder for FC (#62)
188. Arkhip Nekolenko (171.0) – Russian is a third-rounder for ISS (#76)
189. Michael Prapavessis (177.33) – defenseman is a third-rounder for HP (#82)
190. Nikita Lyamkin (159.33) – Russian blueliner is a third-rounder for HP (#86)
191. Daniel Walcott (168.0) – another defenseman who is a fourth-round pick for HP (#91)
192. Jaden Lindo (163.66) – ranking is hurt by RLR putting him out of the draft
193. Kevin Elgestal (153.0) – a fourth-rounder for ISS (#101)
194. Josh Wesley (173.33) – defenseman’s ranking is hurt by RLR putting him out of the draft
195. Mark Friedman (159.0) – blueliner is a fourth-rounder for HP (#109)
196. Chandler Yakimowicz (157.5) – yet another fourth-rounder for HP (#118); he’s the last player picked twice for the draft with a rank this high
197. Ryan Rehill (146.5) – defenseman is outside the draft for FC and ISS
198. Liam Pecararo (148.5) – outside the draft for ISS and HP
199. Dryden Hunt (150.5) – ranked by ISS and RLR
200. Maxim Lazarev (155.0) – ranked by RLR and HP
201. J. D. Dudek (173.0) – outside the draft for ISS and RLR
202. Zach Yon (156.0) – not ranked by FC and RLR
203. Hunter Garlent (156.5) – FC and ISS include him; pint-sized forward was passed over last year
204. Julio Billia (197.0) – goaltender’s rank is thrown by RLR putting him well out of the draft
205. Tanner MacMaster (162.5) – ranked by FC and ISS
206. Tomas Havlin (178.0) – defender picked by FC and ISS
207.  Mitch Slattery (183.0) – outside the draft for RLR and ISS
208. Ty Edmonds (168.0) – goaltender goes unranked from ISS and HP
209. Sam Ruopp (172.0) – blueliner is listed by RLR and HP
210. Dylan Malmqvist (211.66) – defenseman suffers from RLR; ISS has him in the fourth round (#109)

Just missing the cut: Joe Hicketts (the defenseman is picked by three sources, but all place him in the seventh round); there are 15 other players with at least two selections in the draft (none ranked higher than the fifth-round).  Of note, there are five players picked in the top-100 by just one source: Dexter Dancs (RLR #59), Tyler Sheehy (FC #76), Ilya Sorokin (RLR #90), Dmitri Sergeev (ISS #92), and Hayden Hodgson (HP #93); there are eleven more players uniquely selected to go in the fourth round.  As per usual there are a number of highly ranked Europeans from CS who did not make the list: Lawrence Pilut (#16), Nikita Cherepanov (#22), Leon Bristedt (#24), Andrei Kuzmenko (#26), Artur Boltanov (#29), Andreas Soderberg (#30), Eetu Sopanen (#31), Semyon Koshelev (#35), and David Kampf (#36); along with goaltenders Jonas Johansson (#2), Linus Soderstrom (#3), and Sorokin (#5; see RLR above). There’s no real comparable among their NA rankings among skaters (the highest not appearing is Daniel Moynihan at #77), but one goaltender is in the same boat (Kevin Reich #5).

Given the weakness of this year’s draft there’s been a slew of free agent signings out of Europe: David Wolf (Cal), Roman Will (Col), Borna Rendulic (Col), Dennis Everberg (Col), Johan Alm (Nsh), Melker Karlsson (SJ), Simon Hjalmarsson (Clb), Michael Keranen (Min), Dennis Rasmussen (Chi), Petr Zamorsky (NYR), Tomas Nosek (Det), and Iiro Pakarinen (Edm) [subsequently Jiri Sekac (Mtl)]; this is in addition to older players like Joakim Lindstrom (Stl), Jori Lehtera (Stl), and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (Phi).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing Hockey Prospect’s 2014 NHL Draft Guide

Hockey Prospect‘s draft guide is out and here are my thoughts on it (for the last two year’s go here and here).  In terms of accuracy, this is how they’ve performed the last three years (compared to Red Line Report, ISS, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2013 69% (1st), 2012 72% (3rd), and 2011 47% (3rd).  [Note: A few readers are confused about the nature of "accuracy" when referring to any hockey guide's success in predicting the draft when their lists are (often) intended to simply list the best players in their opinion.  The “accuracy” I’m referring to is for fans in judging which list comes closest to how the draft plays out (so how accurately their list reflects what will actually happen at the draft)–it has nothing to do with the quality of any particular guide's scouting (which would be an entirely different question). If you’re interested in draft selection versus quality of player I suggest you check out my NHL Draft Success article from April to get a sense of it, but I don't data old enough from the guides to relate their predictions to draft success yet.] Here’s their top-30 list:

1          Bennett

2          Reinhart

3          Ekblad

4          Ehlers

5          Ritchie

6          Draisaitl

7          Dal Colle

8          Nylander

9          Larkin

10        Fleury

11        Tuch

12        Milano

13        Barbashev

14        Scherbak

15        Fiala

16        Sanheim

17        Pastrnak

18        Virtanen

19        Kapanen

20        Perlini

21        Kempe

22        Bleackley

23        Honka

24        Fabbri

25        McCann

26        Lemieux

27        Dougherty

28        Schmaltz

29        Goldobin

30        Vrana

The guide has 16 unique players listed (compared to the other big guides), all of whom are peppered throughout the sixth and seventh rounds; they have much more in common with the ISS and FC player lists than the more radical Red Line Report.  Despite the girth of the guide (nearly 700 pages) it does not include any specific organisational material or a mock draft.  The contents, beyond the list, consists of scouting profiles and lengthy game reports–the latter are the one unique element in the product, but I’m dubious of its value and would rather see that cut for other content.

In general I’m not fond of HP’s guide, as they offer less than FC at almost twice the price.  If they can repeat their accuracy from last season, however, it remains a useful resource.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing Red Line Report’s 2014 NHL Draft Guide

Red Line Report is an independent scouting service who unapologetically does not aim to predict when and where players will be picked, but offers their opinion of who the best players are.  This is my look at their top-30 rankings and thoughts about the publication (for the last two year’s go here and here).  In terms of accuracy here are their last three years (compared to Future Considerations, ISS, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2013 67% (3rd), 2012 73% (2nd), and 2011 44% (3rd).

1. Sam Bennett

2. Aaron Ekblad

3. Sam Reinhart

4. Leon Draisaitl

5. Michael Dal Colle

6. Nikolaj Ehlers

7. Jake Virtanen

8. Nick Ritchie

9. Robby Fabbri

10. Kevin Fiala

11. William Nylander

12. Nikita Scherbak

13. Haydn Fleury

14. David Pastrnak

15. Ivan Barbashev

16. Dylan Larkin

17. Sonny Milano

18. Nikolay Goldobin

19. Alex Tuch

20. Brendan Perlini

21. Jared McCann

22. Josh Ho-Sang

23. Jack Glover

24. John Quenneville

25. Markus Pettersson

26. Vladislav Kamenev

27. Roland McKeown

28. Jakub Vrana

29. Kasperi Kapanen

30. Brendan Lemieux

While the other comprehensive guides I’ve looked at offer full scouting reports on all listed players, RLR cuts it off at 115 (based, presumably, on the size of their print edition), although there are single lines through player 178.  This has always been a flaw in the guide, although it’s a handful more than last year; however it’s worth noting the guide lists more players than any other guide (only Central Scouting names more players).  There are significant differences in player lists compared to FC (126, so a 60% difference) and ISS (91, or 43%).

Since Ottawa has no first round pick, neither of the guide’s mock drafts offer insight.  They do offer this organisational analysis:

It seems as if the long-rumoured trade of center Jason Spezza might finally happen. Milan Michalek is expected to test free agency. The Senators should try to re-sign Ales Hemsky, particularly if Spezza is going to be dealt. The team’s defence looks set. It makes sense to move Spezza because the core of the team has grown a bit stale, but there is some risk because he generates a large chunk of offence and makes his wingers better. If Michalek does indeed go elsewhere, it becomes imperative to get scoring potential in any Spezza deal. The loss of Tim Murray will be felt at the draft table, and we’re not sure who will emerge with the most powerful voice in the war room now.

This isn’t very informative about the prospect pool or what the team would look to do at the draft, but it’s better than nothing.  On the plus side, the guide looks at a pair of older European players still eligible for the draft (Victor Arvidsson and Kasimir Kaskisuo), as well as European free agents who might be signed (they suggest ten players; it’s something I looked at a few weeks ago)–we both identified Michael Keranen who was just signed by Minnesota.

Overall I quite like Red Line Report, but it’s not inexpensive ($50) and does lack some of the scouting depth draft fans might want for prospects–it’s definitely not worth it for casual fans.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing the ISS 2014 NHL Draft Guide

Clocking in at a ridiculous $99 price (far more than any other guide, even for those who pre-ordered and received a 40% discount), what has ISS added to its previous guide to justify the huge increase?  A slight expansion of their scouting reports (instead of just a consensus description, they include a few lines from specific scouts), expanded their organisational analysis in a very cheap way–simply added a draft list to their meaningless grade and “best picks” in recent history; and that is that.  Are the additions enough for the price?  Not even close.  Other lists do the same (or more) for less.  There is no reason to pay for the guide.

Putting price aside, here’s a look at their top-30 rankings and my thoughts about the publication (for the last two year’s go here and here).  In terms of accuracy here are their last three years (compared to Future Considerations, Red Line Report, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2013 65% (last), 2012 70% (last), and 2011 60% (2nd).  Last year I considered their guide the second worst deal next to McKeen’s.

1 REINHART, Sam C 11/6/1995 R 6.00.75* 185 Kootenay WHL

2 EKBLAD, Aaron RD 2/7/1996 R 6.03.5* 216 Barrie OHL

3 DAL COLLE, Michael C 6/20/1996 L 6.01.5* 182 Oshawa OHL

4 BENNETT, Sam C 6/20/1996 L 6.00.25* 178 Kingston OHL

5 NYLANDER, William RW 5/1/1996 R 5.11 176 Modo SweE

6 DRAISAITL, Leon C 10/27/1995 L 6.01.5* 204 Prince Albert WHL

7 VIRTANEN, Jake RW 8/17/1996 R 6.00.75* 208 Calgary WHL

8 FABBRI, Robby C 1/22/1996 L 5.10.25* 170 Guelph OHL

9 PERLINI, Brendan LW 4/27/1996 L 6.02.75* 205 Niagara OHL

10 RITCHIE, Nicholas LW 12/5/1995 L 6.02.25* 226 Peterborough OHL

11 EHLERS, Nikolaj LW 2/14/1996 L 5.11* 162 Halifax QMJHL

12 FLEURY, Haydn LD 7/8/1996 L 6.02.5* 203 Red Deer WHL

13 KAPANEN, Kasperi RW 7/23/1996 R 6.00 181 Kuopio FinE

14 TUCH, Alex RW 5/10/1996 R 6.03.5* 213 USA Under-18 NTDP

15 LARKIN, Dylan C 7/30/1996 L 6.00.75* 190 USA Under-18 NTDP

16 MILANO, Sonny LW 5/12/1996 L 5.11.5* 183 USA Under-18 NTDP

17 MCCANN, Jared C 5/31/1996 L 6.00.25* 179 S.S. Marie OHL

18 HO-SANG, Joshua RW 1/22/1996 R 5.11* 175 Windsor OHL

19 BARBASHEV, Ivan C 12/14/1995 L 6.00* 180 Moncton QMJHL

20 FIALA, Kevin LW 7/22/1996 L 5.10 180 HV71 SweJE

21 VRANA, Jakub RW 2/28/1996 L 6.00 187 Linkoping SweE

22 KEMPE, Adrian LW 9/13/1996 L 6.01.5 187 Modo SweE

23 MCKEOWN, Roland RD 1/20/1996 R 6.00.75* 195 Kingston OHL

24 SCHMALTZ, Nick RW 2/23/1996 R 5.11.5* 172 Green Bay USHL

25 MACINNIS, Ryan C 2/14/1996 L 6.03.25* 183 Kitchener OHL

26 BLEACKLEY, Conner C 2/7/1996 R 6.00.25* 192 Red Deer WHL

27 SCHERBAK, Nikita RW 12/30/1995 L 6.01* 175 Saskatoon WHL

28 GOLDOBIN, Nikolay RW 10/7/1995 L 5.11.75* 178 Sarnia OHL

29 KAMENEV, Vladislav C 8/12/1996 L 6.02 185 Magnitogorsk Rus Jr

30 SANHEIM, Travis LD 3/29/1996 L 6.03* 181 Calgary WHL

ISS’ mock draft doesn’t extend beyond the first round, so they have nothing to say about Ottawa (although, without any reasons given, they rate the Sens organisation as a B+).  Unlike Future Considerations (which I discussed last week), there’s no effort to address the draft class as a whole (although many comments have been made about how weak it is, particularly after the top-ten).  Speaking of FC, there are 58 players in ISS’ list of 220 (10 more than the former) that they list which don’t appear in FC–these difference begin late in the third round.

The guide includes profiles of 220 players, although they continue their irritating separation of goaltenders from skaters (something no other guide does, although it echoes Central Scouting’s practice).  These profiles are expanded from previous seasons, but that small difference is simply not worth the cost.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Future Considerations 2014 NHL Draft Guide

Future Considerations 2014 NHL draft guide is out and here’s a look at their top-30 rankings and my thoughts about the publication (for the last two year’s go here and here).  In terms of accuracy here are their last three years (compared to ISS, Red Line Report, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2013 68% (2nd out of 4), 2012 71% (3rd), and 2011 44% (4th).  Last year I considered their guide the best deal available for fans and we’ll see how this one holds up.

1). D Aaron Ekblad, Barrie (OHL), 6 ‘4, 215

2). C Sam Reinhart, Kootenay (WHL), 6 ‘1, 185

3). C Sam Bennett, Kingston (OHL), 6 ‘0, 180

4). RW William Nylander, MODO (SHL), 5 ‘11, 170

5). C Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert (WHL), 6 ‘2, 210

6). C Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa (OHL), 6 ‘2, 180

7). LW Nick Ritchie, Peterborough (OHL), 6 ‘2, 230

8). LW Nikolaj Ehlers, Halifax (QMJHL), 5 ‘11, 165

9). D Haydn Fleury, Red Deer (WHL), 6 ‘3, 200

10). C Jake Virtanen, Calgary (WHL), 6 ‘1, 210

11). LW Brendan Perlini, Niagara (OHL), 6 ‘2, 205

12). C Jared McCann, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), 6 ‘0, 180

13). LW Kevin Fiala, HV 71 (SHL), 5 ‘10, 180

14). C Dylan Larkin, USNTDP U18 (USHL), 6 ‘1, 190

15). C Robby Fabbri, Guelph (OHL), 5 ‘10, 165

16). LW Ivan Barbashev, Moncton (QMJHL), 6 ‘1, 185

17). LW Sonny Milano, USNTDP U18 (USHL), 5 ‘11, 185

18). RW David Pastrnak, Sodertalje (Allsvenskan), 5 ‘11, 170

19). RW Alex Tuch, USNTDP U18 (USHL), 6 ‘3, 215

20). RW Josh Ho ‘Sang, Windsor (OHL), 5 ‘11, 165

21). RW Conner Bleackley, Red Deer (WHL), 6 ‘1, 195

22). G Thatcher Demko, Boston College (NCAA), 6 ‘4, 180

23). RW Nikolay Goldobin, Sarnia (OHL), 6 ‘0, 175

24). D Jack Dougherty, USNTDP U18 (USHL), 6 ‘1, 185

25). C Jakub Vrana, Linkoping J20 (SuperElit), 5 ‘11, 185

26). RW Kasperi Kapanen, KalPa (SM JLiiga), 5 ‘11, 170

27). C Adrian Kempe, Modo J20 (SuperElit), 6 ‘2, 190

28). D Roland McKeown, Kingston (OHL), 6 ‘1, 200

29). D Anthony DeAngelo, Sarnia (OHL), 5 ‘11, 175

30). C Eric Cornel, Peterborough (OHL), 6 ‘2, 175

In FC‘s mock draft they have Ottawa selecting Marcus Pettersson in the second round, saying:

They need skilled defenders and a couple [of] high-end talents at the forward positions.

Last year they expected Ottawa to take Samuel Morin, but he was not available when Ottawa made their selection (Philadelphia picked him at 11th overall).

There’s no assessment of the various NHL organisations (or their scouting staffs), but they do offer a comment about the quality of this year’s draft:

The truth of the matter is, while there are no sure-fire ‘Next Great NHL Superstar’ types of talents available, there are a few kids who project to have very strong NHL futures ahead of them. Sure [many of] these prospects all have the potential to bust, but that potential is realized more than a handful of times in every draft class. The forward prospects are the real strength of this draft class with big power forwards, smaller skilled pivots and goal-scoring wingers deep into the third or fourth rounds. Also, add the odd agitating winger or two-way specialist into the mix and the forward position should be well represented in Philly. Plenty of strong goaltending prospects are also available this year. The list includes a couple calm and poised technical tenders, the bigger bodies with raw but potentially impressive upsides, as well as the more acrobatic types who are less blocker and more old school reflex stoppers. Defense is a weak area of this draft as there are very few guys who look like they can be developed into impact NHLers, but instead there appears to be a few blue-chippers and a bunch of guys who could be bottom-pairing contributors or career minor leaguers.

The guide contains profiles of varying extent for all 210 prospects listed and once again it’s very reasonably priced ($20.99).  I haven’t seen the other guides yet, but they are all more expensive than FC so it’s likely it will be the best bet for fans again this year.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

2010 NHL Draft (Hockey Herald Article)

[I'm re-posting my old Hockey Herald article here as I believe the site is defunct--it hasn't produced new content since November of 2011].

As the NHL draft approaches it’s time to take a look at where players are ranked.  All the major scouting publications and websites (except TSN) have produced their rankings, and by using that as a data set I think we can determine the best talent in the draft and a sense of when they will be selected.

I’ve used the following sources: the International Scouting Service (ISS), Red Line Reports (RLR), The Hockey News (THN), ESPN, Future Considerations (FC), McKeens, The Hockey Writers (THW), and for reference Central Scouting (CS).

Most of these reports create their lists via the best talent rather than when they will be drafted.  They also vary in how deep they go into the draft.  ESPN and THW have only posted a top-30 list, while FC is a top-60.  McKeens and THN cover the top-100 picks, while ISS hits 200 and RLR goes all the way to 300 (90 players beyond the 210 to be picked this year).

Round One

There is unanimity about the first two picks—I think CS embarrassed themselves suggesting Seguin was the best possible first round selection.  That’s not to say I definitively know Hall is the better player, but there’s no question what the sentiment is around the league and the rest of the scouting community.  I get the feeling CS just wanted to make a splash by pulling a different way.

That being said, things get messier the further you move away from the top picks.  There are only 14 players who made every other list in the first round, so nearly half the players chosen are up for debate.  Of the remaining 14 spots, 7 players appear on 6 of those lists (a total of 46 different players appear in the top-30).

In creating my rankings I’ve taken the predictions and produced their aggregate numbers (these are indicated in brackets next to the player’s name).  This is a broad look at overall standings.  I then looked at where each player was slotted—if, for instance, a player was in one range for most of the predictions I ignored the free radical and selected accordingly.  These rankings are not based on team needs or expectations, just the talent level of the players as seen in the hockey community as represented by my sources.

  1. Taylor Hall (1.0) – the consensus #1
  2. Tyler Seguin (2.0) – the consensus #2
  3. Cam Fowler (4.29) – and the only player picked multiple times (3) for this position
  4. Erik Gudbranson (6.14) – although he’s not fourth on aggregate, his number is thrown off by RLR (who have him at #14), and he’s picked more often at the lower position than Gormley
  5. Brandon Gormley (5.57) – given the tightness of predictions surrounding him he’s clearly seen as a safe choice
  6. Nino Niederreiter (7.86) – narrowly beats out Connolly because he has more top-ten selections (6)
  7. Brett Connolly (7.57) – a better aggregate score than Niederreiter, but Connolly is seen as a riskier pick, appearing in the top-ten slightly less (5 times)
  8. Ryan Johansen (9.43) – a consistently narrow range (8-12), Johansen represents another safe pick
  9. Vladimir Tarasenko (9.71) – suffers a bit from the Russian flu, as he has just as many top-ten selections as Johansen (5), but the other predictions are well below that and push him down
  10. Mikael Granlund (10.71) – the comparison with Skinner below is quite close, but he just edges him out
  11. Jeffrey Skinner (12.29) – suffers in part from a dreadful rating from THN (#25), but even with that thrown out he’s slightly lower than Granlund
  12. Jack Campbell (9.17) – with goalies not included in ISS rankings it’s hard to decide on Campbell, but he’s the only goalie to appear in all other sources so this seems like the logical position for him (his score is high because McKeens has him at #3)
  13. Derek Forbort (13.00) – another safe pick given the uniformity of his placement
  14. Alexander Burmistrov (13.57) – as expected the Russian’s range is broad (6-21), but he’s clearly considered high end talent
  15. Emerson Etem (15.00) – taking THW out of the equation (at #10) his range is as narrow as Johansen’s (14-18); so he represents another safe pick
  16. Austin Watson (16.14) – consistent range (12-19) makes him a safe pick
  17. Nick Bjugstad (19.14) – extremes on either end, with THN seeing him as a top pick (#9) and McKeens out of the first round (#33); with those cut out he nestles in at 14-21
  18. Mark Pysyk (20.71) – little liked by RLR (#41), but his range is narrow otherwise (16-22) and puts him ahead of McIlrath even though he’s behind him on aggregate
  19. Dylan McIlrath (20.43) – his stock has been rising for awhile, but he isn’t picked as consistently high as Pysyk
  20. Jonathan Merrill (21.71) – a very similar range to McIlrath, but just a touch behind
  21. Evgeny Kuznetsov (22.14) – there seems to be a divide between the professional scouts and the journalists on him, likely a product of the Russian factor
  22. Riley Sheahan (22.83) – the first player not to be listed by all my sources (ESPN did not rank him in their top-30), he’s well liked otherwise (15-28)
  23. Jaden Schwartz (24.00) – consistently a mid to late first rounder (18-30)
  24. Quinton Howden (24.14) – listed out of the first round by two sources (RLR and McKeens), he still handily beats Tinordi on aggregate based on his upside
  25. Jarred Tinordi (25.67) – considered yet another safe pick for the blueline
  26. John McFarland (28.29) – low-balled by ISS and RLR, he’s well regarded otherwise (20-29)
  27. Brock Nelson (33.17) – a high aggregate number born of McKeens (#62), which when taken out leaves him with four first round rankings; THW did not list him in their top-30
  28. Tyler Pitlick (28.83) – not listed by THW, he settles in as a borderline first rounder
  29. Alexander Petrovic (31.50) – not listed by THW, he earns three top-30 rankings
  30. Calvin Pickard (25.50) – winds up at the end of the round largely because of a shortage of comparative analysis (not incorporated into ISS rankings nor listed by THW or ESPN)

Honourable mention (other players (16) to get first round selections):

Tyler Toffoli (4, THW, McKeens, FC, and ESPN, aggr 35.00)
Stanislav Galiev (3, ISS, FC, and THW, aggr 34.67)
Beau Bennett (2, RLR and McKeens, aggr 28.60)
Charlie Coyle (2, ISS and McKeens, aggr 33.60)
Teemu Pulkkinen (2, McKeens and THW, aggr 40.33)
Ludvig Rensfeldt (2, ESPN and ISS, aggr 41.67)
Kirill Kabanov (1, THW, aggr 37.33)
Brad Ross (1, RLR, aggr 38.20)
Calle Jarnkrok (1, THN, aggr 40.80)
Johan Larsson (1, ISS, aggr 41.67)
Ryan Spooner (1, RLR, aggr 41.80)
Justin Faulk (1, RLR, aggr 44.20)
Jason Zucker (1, ISS, aggr 49.60)
Maxim Kitsyn (1, THW, aggr 52.83)
Greg McKegg (1, RLR, aggr 57.60)
Troy Rutkowski (1, FC, aggr 62.60)

This article completes my update of draft rankings incorporating TSN and SI’s lists.

My sources: the International Scouting Service (ISS), Red Line Reports (RLR), TSN, The Hockey News (THN), ESPN, Future Considerations (FC), McKeens, The Hockey Writers (THW), Sports Illustrated (SI), and for reference Central Scouting (CS).

In creating my rankings I’ve taken the predictions and produced their aggregate numbers (these are indicated in brackets next to the player’s name when there are at least three sources).  This is a broad look at overall standings.  These rankings are not based on team needs or expectations, just the talent level of the players as seen in the hockey community as represented by my sources.

Round Two

31. Tyler Toffoli (34.00) – loses to Petrovic and Coyle on aggregate, but has the most first round selections (5) of the players remaining
32. Alexander Petrovic (32.14)
33. Charlie Coyle (33.33)
34. Stanislav Galiev(35.42)
35. Brad Ross (37.66) – rising
36. Calle Jarnkrok (39.5) – rising
37. Kirill Kabanov (38.14) – sinking
38. Ludvig Rensfeldt (41.00)
39. Joey Hishon (41.00) – sinking
40. Ryan Spooner (41.33) – slightly behind Pulkkinen on aggregate, but beats him head-to-head
41. Teemu Pulkkinen (41.14)
42. Justin Faulk (41.83) – slightly behind Straka on aggregate, but beats him head-to-head
43. Petr Straka (41.80)
44. Johan Larsson (42.50) – could slide into the first round
45. Jordan Weal (42.50) – not as much room to slide up as Larsson
46. Kevin Hayes (47.50)
47. Jason Zucker (48.66)
48. Stephen Johns (50.00)
49. Matt MacKenzie (50.60)
50. Ivan Telegin (51.17)
51. Martni Marincin (51.60) – sinking
52. Patrik Nemeth (52.80)
53. Maxim Kitsyn (53.71) – sinking
54. Tom Kuhnhackl (57.00)
55. Gregg McKegg (58.66)
56. Devante Smith-Pelley (60.00)
57. Ryan Martindale (61.60) – strong feelings about him either way
58. Jakub Culek (62.17) – although not next on aggregate, he has the better overall selections
59. Brock Beukeboom (62.17) – rising
60. Jared Knight (61.40)

Round Three

61. Troy Rutkowski (62.60)
62. Brandon Archibald(63.75)
63. Justin Shugg (63.80)
64. Michael Bournival (65.83)
65. Oscar Lindberg (81.75) – suffers from a horrible RLR ranking (#169)
66. Phillipe Grubauer (66.75) – slightly behind Visentin on aggregate, he appears in far more sources so gets the nod
67. Mark Visentin (66.67) – rising
68. Ryan Gardiner (67.20)
69. Julian Melchiori (68.00) – loses to Bulmer on aggregate, but is ranked more frequently
70. Dalton Smith (68.40) – loses to Bulmer on aggregate, but is ranked more frequently
71. Brett Bulmer (67.25)
72. Mark Alt (68.60)
73. Justin Holl (68.60) – rising
74. Kevin Sundher (69.00) – falling
75. Danny Biega (69.00) – falling
76. Kent Simpson (71.25)
77. Pat McNally (73.25)
78. Jerome Leduc (76.00) – rising
79. Curtis Hamilton (77.40) – rising
80. Connor Brickley (78.40)
81. Stephen Silas (79.20)
82. Andrew Yogan (79.75)
83. Steven Shipley (80.17)
84. Joe Basaraba (80.60)
85. Bill Arnold (85.50)
86. Morgan Ellis (87.67)
87. Joonas Donskoi (89.60)
88. Christian Thomas (89.69)
89. Mathieu Corbeil (57.00) – only ranked in two sources
90. Maxime Clermont (75.00) – only ranked in two sources

Round Four

91. Johan Gustafsson (90.30) – beats B-D head-to-head
92. Louis Boileau-Dominque (90.33)
93. Kevin Gravel (94.00) – hurt by his ISS (#116) rating
94. Marek Hrivik (95.67) – beats Aronson head-to-head
95. Taylor Aronson (94.00)
96. Bohumil Jank (94.33) – wild card (#56-#132)
97. Michael Chaput (94.67) – hurt by RLR (#122)
98. Alex Marchenko (94.67) – wild card (#51-#138)
99. Alex Theriau (99.00)
100. Adam Pettersson (125.25) – hurt by RLR (#243)
101. Austin Madaisky (101.75) – beats Stone head-to-head
102. Mark Stone (101.00)
103. Brendan Ranford (105.67)
104. John Ramage (106.00)
105. Antonin Honejsek (109.33)
106. Max Reinhart (111.67)
107. Louis-Marc Aubry (116.50)
108. Nick Mattson (118.33) – hurt by RLR (#173)
109. Tyler Bunz (128.00)
110. Geoffrey Schemitsch (128.67)
111. Bryan Rust (128.67)
112. Johan Alm (129.67)
113. Sami Aittokalio (162.00)
114. Pathrik Vesterholm (166.33) – the last player to appear in 3 sources
115. Vladislav Kartaev (242.00) – makes McKeen’s list (#94)
116. Sam Brittain – highly regarded by RLR (#52)
117. Jonathan Johansson – hurt by ISS (#145)
118. Martin Ouellette
119. Sondre Olden – rising
120. Fredrik Wentzel

Rounds five through seven are unchanged (other than the few players who have entered the top four; Bryce O’Hagan and Adam Polasek fall off the charts); listing them:

121. Konrad Abeltshauser
122. Jason Clark
123. Ryan Harrison
124. Brian Billett
125. Joey Leach
126. Freddie Hamilton
127. Marcel Noebels
128. Victor Ohman
129. Mike Perriera
130. Kevin Clare
131. Adam  Janosik
132. Radko Gudas
133. Sergei Barbashev
134. Mikael Salmivirta
135. Nate Schmidt
136. Petr Mrazak
137. Matthew Bissonnette
138. Brendan Woods
139. Nikita Zaytsev
140. Brandon Davidson
141. Josh Shalla
142. Kenneth Agostino
143. Petter Granberg
144. Sam Carrick
145. Lukas Cingel
146. Casey Thrush
147. Brooks Macek
148. Luke Moffatt
149. Phillip Lane
150. Alex Emond
151. Jonathan Ilahti
152. Patrick Cehlin
153. Michael Parks
154. Jesper Fasth
155. Mirko Hoflin
156. Jonathan Brunelle
157. Benjamin Conz
158. Samuel Carrier
159. Lars Volden
160. Eamonn McDermott
161. Michael Sgarbossa
162. Alex Guptill
163. Kevin Lind
164. Austin Levi
165. Aaron Harstad
166. Raman Hrabarenka
167. Caleb Herbert
168. Stephen MacAuley
169. Daniel Gunnarsson
170. T. J. Tynan
171. Adam Krause
172. Zach Hyman
173. Ben Marshall
174. Nikita Gusev
175. Jacob Fallon
176. Craig Cunningham
177. Kendall McFaull
178. Tyler Stahl
179. Josh Nicholls
180. Joel Vermin
181. Yasin Cisse
182. Gregg Sutch
183. Garnet Hathaway
184. Alain Berger
185. Michael Reardon
186. Brandon. McNally
187. Jeremie Blain
188. Mathieu Brisson
189. Charles Inglis
190. Tomas Filippi
191. Colin Campbell
192. Etienne Boutet
193. Adam Sedlak
194. Brian Ward
195. Vitaly Zotov
196. Brody Sutter
197. Christian Isackson
198. Sawyer Hannay
199. Daniel Brodin
200. Ondrej Havlicek
201. Joe Faust
202. Craig Bokenfohr
203. Petteri Halinen
204. Jacob Berglund
205. Blake Gal
206. Sebastian Wannstrom
207. James Mullin
208. Joakim Nordstrom
209. Patrik Naslund
210. Brandon Hynes

The 2010 NHL Entry Draft has come and gone so that we can now take a look and see how successful scouts and reporters were in predicting its outcome.  In fairness to the scouts, the lists I used to compile rankings were based on their assessments of the best players, not where they would go in the draft.  Nevertheless, it’s worthwhile to take a look at how publications placed prospects and where they wound up in the actual draft.

The first round is the both the most predictable and the most predicted.  Here’s how each source I used did at the end of the day:

Round One
Aggregate Scores posted here – 26/30 (5 exact placements)
TSN – 25/30 (6 exact placements) – Bob Mckenzie once again has impressive accuracy (83%)
SI – 25/30 (4) – an excellent job by SI
ISS – 22/30 (3) – given how often their rankings are dismissed elsewhere, this is an excellent job by ISS
The Hockey News – 22/30 (3)
McKeens – 22/30 (3)
ESPN – 21/30 (4)
Red Line Report – 20/30 (4) – a lot of strong opinions pushed down their accuracy
Future Considerations – 20/30 (4)
The Hockey Writers – 19/30 (3) – an interesting result given how much THW talks about their accuracy

Rather than break the rest of the draft down as above, I’ve compared the aggregate rankings (posted in earlier articles) to the results.  I choose to follow this path because fewer and fewer of the above sources go deep into the draft.

Round Two

In total the sum of the predictions yielded a 20/30 result.  The following players were listed later in the draft: Dalton Smith, Christian Thomas, Sebastien Wannstrom, Connor Brickley, Philip Lane, Mark Alt, Justin Holl, Oscar Lindberg, and Kent Simpson.

Round Three

The results decline the deeper we go, but it’s still 50-50 (15/30).  Only two players (Scott Wedgewood and Max Gaede) did not make the aggregate list (both were listed by Central Scouting, while Wedgewood appeared in RLR at #217 and Gaede in ISS at #166).

Round Four

The precentages were a little better in this round (19/30).  Two overage players were selected (Tye McGinn and Rob Flick), one who didn’t make the top-210 list (Ben Gallacher, #197 for ISS), and two Europeans who were not ranked at all (Marcus Sorensen, who I hadn’t seen anything written about, and Jani Hakanpaa, who RLR had put on a “watch” list but not ranked).

Round Five

The list became largely irrelevant this round (9/30), with a number of overage players selected (Tony DeHart, Jason Wilson, Justin Florek, and Luke Walker), players who didn’t make the top-210 (Christopher Wagner (#177 RLR), Cody Ferriero (#186 ISS), Tim Heed (#288 RLR), Mike Ferland (#187 ISS), Cody Beach (#181 CSNA), Isaac Macleod (#133 CSNA), Petr Mrazek (#82 RLR), Adam Polasek (#161 RLR/#193 ISS), and Brendan Gallagher (#160 ISS)), and one unranked European (John Klingberg, who I believe was on the RLR “watch” list).

Round Six

Things improve a bit here (16/30).  A few overage players were taken (Dalton Prout, Anthony Bitetto, and Alex Friesen), along with some who didn’t make the list (Joe Rogalski (#200 RLR), Corey Durocher (#199 RLR), Brendan O’Donnell (#195 CSNA), Andreas Dahlstrom (#24 CSE), Zane Gothberg (#154 RLR), Sebastien Owuya (#189 ISS), Reid McNeill (#183 RLR), Cedrick Henley (#279 RLR), Nicholas Luukko (#150 CSNA)) and two unranked players  (Tanner  Lane and Drew Czerwonka).

Round Seven

The final round was, as expected, the least reliable (7/30).  A large number of overage players were selected (Cody Rosen, Teigan Zahn, Randy McNaught, Brett Perlini, Maksim Chudinov, Bryce Aneloski, Joonas Rask, and Kellen Jones), along with those who didn’t make the list (Kristians Pelss (#218 RLR), Ronald Boyd (#230 RLR), Frederik Andersen (#165 RLR), Lee Moffie (de-listed #255 RLR), Dylen McKinlay (#156 CSNA), Macmillan Carruth (NR), Patrick Holland (#162 ISS), David Elsner (#56 CSE),  Peter Stoykewych (#88 CSNA), Chris Crane (#203 RLR), Mauro Jorg (#63 CSE), Ricard Blidstrand (#58 CSE), Riley Boychuk (#296 RLR), and Zach Trotman (#191 ISS)), with only one unranked European (John Westin).

So through 210 selections in the draft only six players who were selected were not ranked, making it clear just how thorough scouting services are (especially in North America).  A total of 17 overage players were taken (beginning in the fourth round).  The tiny amount of truly “off the board” picks is interesting, as it illustrates that no matter how much scouts may disagree on which player is better than another, their opinions on who warrants selection are very close.

To fully illustrate the point, let’s review the numbers (NL=Not Listed, Ov=Overage, NR=Not Ranked):

Round One: 26/30 (86%)
Round Two: 20/30 (66%)
Round Three: 15/30 (50%) (2 NL)
Round Four: 19/30 (63%) (1 NL, 2 Ov, 2 NR)
Round Five: 9/30 (30%) (9 NL, 4 Ov, 1 NR)
Round Six: 16/30 (53%) (9 NL, 3 Ov, 2 NR)
Round Seven: 7/30 (23%) (14 NL, 8 Ov, 1 NR)
Top-210 List: 152/210 (72% accuracy)
Listed Players: 187/210  (87%)

Kuddos to the scouting services and the rankings they provide.  Clearly, whatever various NHL teams do in their own scouting, ultimately their opinions on what makes a player an NHL prospect are the same.

Reviewing Ottawa’s 2010 Draft (Hockey Herald)

[I'm re-posting my old Hockey Herald article here as I believe the site is defunct--it hasn't produced new content since November of 2011].

The 2010 draft has wrapped up and the Ottawa Senators have come away with five new prospects.  The Sens followed their pattern of selecting an over-age player (Aneloski) and an unranked player (Sorensen).  In total they acquired or selected two defensemen (both right-hand shots) and three forwards (all wingers, one left and two right).  Here’s a look at what happened:

First Round

Traded their 16th overall pick to St. Louis (who selected Vladimir Tarasenko) in exchange for defenseman David Rundblad (the Blues 1st round pick, 17th overall, from last year).

Second Round

Had previously traded away both their picks (#46 to Carolina (subsequently moved to Edmonton, Martin Marincin) for Matt Cullen; #58 (from San Jose) to NYI (subsequently moved to Chicago, Kent Simpson) for Andy Sutton

The Sens tried to acquire a pick in this round, but were unable to do so

Third Round

Selected (76th overall) left-winger Jakub Culek from the QMJHL

Fourth Round

Selected (106th overall) right-winger Marcus Sorensen from the Super Elite league in Sweden

Fifth Round

Had previously traded away their pick (136th overall) to San Jose (Isaac Macleod) in the Dany Heatley deal

Sixth Round

Had previously traded away their pick (166th overall) to Edmonton (Drew Czerwonka) to select Michael Sdao in the 2009 draft

Selected (178th overall, San Jose’s pick) right-winger Mark Stone from the WHL

Seventh Round

Selected (196th overall) defenseman Bryce Aneloski from the USHL

The Players

David Rundblad (D-R, 6’2, YOB 1990, 47-1-12-13 SEL)

Signed by the Blues to his entry-level contract just weeks ago, he’d committed to one more year in Sweden (playing for Skelleftea).  Presumably he became expendable due to the glut of young defensemen in the Blues system.  The Sens believe he’s only a year away from being NHL-ready, having put up two solid seasons in the SEL (along with strong performances in the last two World Junior Championships).

Jakub Culek (LW, 6’3, YOB 1992, 63-13-34-47 QMJHL)

Ranked as high as #57 (McKeens) and no lower than #70 (Red Line Report), Culek slipped down to the Sens at #76.  He’s a big, rangy winger whom they envision as a third line player; probably 3-4 years away.
The ISS scouting report: “Culek was one of Rimouski’s better player’s night in and night out. He centered one of Rimouski’s top two lines plus played both PP and PK minutes. He finished the regular season with decent numbers. He possesses above average puck skills, puck protection and hockey sense. His skating has shown improvement from the start of the year, with added strength. He is a big project with third line upside.”  They list his size/strength, skating, and hockey sense as Very Good; his shot and puck skills as Good.
RLR says: “Big power winger has a good stride, but lacks balance.  Long wingspan that he uses to shield off defenders.  Has improved his puck skills dramatically since last season, when he was essentially a big body who played a rugged game along the walls.  Is a more confident puckhandlers – willing to carry through the neutral zone and make moves off the rush.  Nice release on wristers from the slot area, but is not a natural finisher around the net.  Creates his offence through hard work and aggression, banging and crashing down low and driving to the net with and without the puck.  Occasionally ridden off the puck too easily by smaller d-men he should be overpowering. Shows defensive awareness to cut off passing lanes and drop back to cover for rushing d-men.  Fine prospect if he continues to round off the rough edges and add pieces to his game.”  They project him as a rugged 3rd line winger optimistically compared to Ryan Malone.

Marcus Sorensen (RW, 5’11, YOB 1992, 27-7-10-17 SuperElit)

The Sens have a long history of making off-the-wall selections and this qualifies as one.  No scouting source had Sorensen listed.  On the surface the pick reminded me of Emil Sandin’s selection (199th in 2008)—a small, skilled player who had success in the Swedish junior system.  However, for the Sens to pick him this early means he’s more than just a flyer.  According to the Sens scouting staff, he’s a speedy player with good hands who needs to get stronger.  Like Culek he’s probably 3-4 years away.  Sorensen is slated to play for the Djurgarden junior team next year, but the Sens indicated that he may play in the CHL instead (assuming he’s picked in the Import Draft, June 29th).

Mark Stone (RW, 6’2, YOB 1992, 39-11-17-28 WHL)

Ranked as high as #88 (THN) and no lower than #118 (ISS), the Sens may have scored picking Stone at #178.  Stone is a power forward who missed significant time due to a thumb injury and a concussion.  The scouting staff believe his numbers were down because he played on a stacked Brandon team.  He’s a couple of years away from turning pro.
The ISS scouting report: “A native of Winnipeg, Stone has been one of the more successful players in Manitoba hockey in the past few seasons. The simple fact is that teams with Stone on their roster make it to big games and Stone generally is one of the major reasons for this. A big winger who isn’t going to stickhandle his way through many defences, Stone protects the puck well, is a pain to handle around the net and can be looked to provide reliable defensive support. Stone needs to improve his skating and deception skills. He can telegraph his intentions sometimes with the puck and is better suited away from the puck.
RLR says: “Big winger has nice hands, but skating issues drop him on our list.  Stride saw improvement this season, but is still a problem – heavy footed and has a short stride.  Has good hands in close and a decent passing touch, but tends to be a garbage goal scorer and we’ve only seen rare glimpses of an accurate shooting touch.  Makes accurate passes and is especially adept at finding linemates in transition. Very good at protecting the puck, but skating keeps him from being able to drive the net with authority.  Despite good size and decent strength, doesn’t use the body at all.  Tends to be a bit timid in board battles and doesn’t initiate much contact.  Progress stalled this season due to broken thumb and concussion.”  They project him as a fourth-liner with hands, optimistically compared to Steve Bernier.

Bryce Aneloski (D-R, 6’2, YOB 1990, 60-15-39-54 USHL)

Unranked as an overage player, he was passed over in the last two drafts (#157 North American with Central Scouting in 2008).  The Sens would have seen a lot of Aneloski, as he played the past two seasons with Jeff Costello (#146 in 2009).  According to Aneloksi, who lead the USHL in blueline scoring, the biggest difference this season was his conditioning (http://mckeenshockey.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1096508).  Ottawa (and the Islanders) talked to Aneloski before the draft, so he wasn’t completely off the radar.  He’s committed to the NCAA and is viewed as a long-term prospect (perhaps staying the full four years).

So what are we to make of this year’s draft?  The Sens followed their principal of picking the best player available (rather than drafting for need).  Not surprisingly, the picks are all long-term prospects (it’s not surprising due to the number of prospects who are turning pro this year and next).

Assessing Bryan Murray (updated through the 2012-13 season)

On April 8th, 2011, with one game remaining in a failed season, the Ottawa Senators re-signed GM Bryan Murray to a three-year deal.  The most obvious question at the time was why?  Clearly ownership saw Murray as the best man to rebuild the team that crumbled beneath him in 2010-11 and thus far it appears as though that belief was well-founded.  There’s no guarantee the Sens rebuild will continue in a positive direction, but it’s worth looking back at the work Murray has done as Ottawa’s general manager.

Bryan Murray took over from John Muckler on June 18th, 2007, just six days before the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.  I’ve read criticism of Murray regarding that draft, but there’s no question that the selections were made with Muckler’s scouting staff and guided by their philosophy.

2007 Draft

Considered a weak draft at the time (see McKeen’s, for a more optimistic view here’s Sports Illustrated; for a look at the overall success of the draft go here), Ottawa made four selections, trading away their final three picks to Tampa for a fourth round pick in the 2008 draft (Derek Grant).

1-29 Jim O’Brien (NCAA) Looked like a failed pick after his rookie season in Binghamton, but by the end of his ELC proved he could be a useful fourth-liner (although perhaps not with Ottawa)
2-60 Ruslan Bashkirov (QMJHL) A bust who was never signed and now plays tier-2 hockey in Russia
3-90 Louie Caporusso (OPJHL) The undersized forward spent his rookie year largely in the ECHL and as a four-year NCAA grad it doesn’t look like he has NHL-potential (perhaps not even AHL-potential); he was let go after his ELC expired
4-120 Ben Blood (USHS) Big blueliner also spent four years in the NCAA, but his rookie season as a pro was a disappointment as he was unable to be an AHL-regular

2007-08 Contracts

June 22 – Dean McAmmond – 2 years/1.4; a solid player, but his numbers dropped considerably before he was shipped out to the New York Islanders
July 3 – Matt Carkner – 2 years/0.5; made his way from the AHL to the NHL level
July 24 – Ray Emery – 3 years/3.166; re-signing the starting goalie in the Cup run seemed like a no-brainer, but was bought out the next year
July 31 – Chris Kelly – 1 year/1.263; based on his strong play when Spezza and Fisher were injured
August 7 – Luke Richardson – 1 year/0.5; a depth signing who never quite delivered
September 17 – Mike Fisher – 5 years/4.2; I thought at the time it was too much money and too much term; traded to Nashville in 2011
October 3 – Dany Heatley – 6 years/7.5; thought to be solid signing at the time (link), forced a trade to San Jose (2009) and is now in Minnesota (2011)
October 16 – Randy Robitaille – 1 year/0.625; a depth signing out of Russia, the Sens hoped he would provide some scoring depth (link), but he did not.  The following season saw him playing in Switzerland
November 2 – Jason Spezza – 7 years/7.0; I liked the contract at the time and I still do

2007-08 Coaches

Murray hired John Paddock, who had been his assistant the past two years and was a long time AHL coach (with a distant and lousy NHL coaching record from his days with Winnipeg, 281-106-138-37).  Paddock got the team off to a fantastic start (15-2), but wore out his best players and the team quickly slid down the standings. Paddock was fired February 27th, after two embarrassing back-to-back shutout losses, finishing with a 36-22-6 record (he’s since struggled to get head coaching positions in the AHL).  Murray took over and the team barely made the playoffs where they were promptly swept by the Penguins.

While the Paddock hiring may have seemed like a logical step to Murray—a solid minor league resume  and his assistant—he was hardly the best coach available, so Murray deserves criticism for the hire (as he has suggested himself since).

Buyouts

June 20 – Ottawa waived and then bought out Ray Emery; his play was only partially the issue.  Because of his age the cost of the buyout was reasonable.  Emery had to go to the KHL to salvage his NHL career, which now seems solidified as a quality backup.

2007-08 Trades

June 23 – Ottawa’s 5th (Matt Marshall; was not signed by Tampa after four years in the NCAA), 7th (Torrie Jung; was not signed by Tampa and he’s spent his pro career in the CHL), and 7th (Justin Courtnall; turned pro and spent his rookie season in the ECHL) to Tampa for a 4th in 2008 (Derek Grant; completed his sophomore season with Binghamton where he saw limited NHL action). The thought here was that the following year’s draft was much stronger and deeper and it appears as though Murray was right.  This is a win for Murray.
July 17, 2007 – Traded Peter Schaefer to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Shean Donovan. Muckler overpaid Schaefer, whose cumbersome contract wound up being buried in the minors and then bought out by the Bruins.  Donovan was a solid soldier for Ottawa, although there wasn’t much gas left in the tank.  This is a win for Murray.
February 11, 2008 – Traded Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves to the Carolina Hurricanes for Mike Commodore and Cory Stillman.  Corvo demanded a trade, so Murray didn’t have many options; Eaves struggled with injuries.  Commodore turned out to be a complete bust for the Sens (and subsequently for Columbus, who bought him out), but Stillman was an adequate rental.  None of the four players are still with the teams they were traded too.  Given that the trade failed to help the Sens in the playoffs this is a loss for Murray.
February 26, 2008 – Traded a sixth-round draft pick in 2008 (6-169, Ben Smith, who has 20 NHL games under his belt and is a solid prospect) to the Chicago Blackhawks for Martin LapointeLapointe was supposed to provide grit for the Sens, but his best days were long behind him and he was a disappointment.  Lapointe subsequently retired.  This is a failure on Murray’s part.

2008 Draft

Considered a good draft year (link) and the selections can be said to truly reflect Murray’s philosophy.  All the players selected have been signed except for Emil Sandin (who is now a UFA).

1-15 Erik Karlsson (SuperElit) – coming off a Norris trophy season he spent much of this year injured
2-42 Patrick Wiercioch (USHL) – lanky blueliner got his chance in the NHL and performed well
3-79 Zack Smith (WHL) – gritty center is an NHL-regular
4-109 Andre Petersson (SuperElit) – skilled winger missed most of his sophomore season due to injury
4-119 Derek Grant (BCHL) – lanky center had a solid sophomore season with Binghamton
5-139 Mark Borowiecki (CJHL) – punishing blueliner had a solid sophomore season in the AHL
7-199 Emil Sandin (SuperElit) – smallish winger failed to be a regular player in the SEL and was allowed to become a FA

2008-09 Contracts

March 25 – Jesse Winchester – 2 years/0.55; signed as a free agent out of college, Winchester didn’t produce offensively as planned, but turned into a solid grinder; he spent this past season playing in Europe
June 21 – Chris Kelly – 4 years/2.125 million; signed prior to becoming a UFA, Kelly continued to put up his usual numbers before being traded to Boston (2011)
July 2 – Jarkko Ruutu – 3 years/1.3 million; signed after reaching the Cup final with Pittsburgh, he didn’t deliver what was expected while he was with the Sens and was eventually traded to Anaheim (2011) for a 6th round pick (Max McCormick); he’s played in Finland since
July 2 – Shean Donovan – 2 years/0.65; a cap friendly contract, but Donovan had nothing left in the tank and only played 90 games over those two seasons; he’s now retired
July 8 – Jason Smith – 2 years/2.6; a bad contract for a player who didn’t have gas left in the tank, he retired before the second year of his deal and now works for the organisation
July 31 – Antoine Vermette – 2 years/2.75 million; unable to produce enough as a top six player in Ottawa, he was traded to Columbus in the first year of his deal for Pascal Leclaire and a 2nd round pick (Robin Lehner); he’s now with Phoenix
September 27 – Luke Richardson – 1 year/0.5; unable to stay in the lineup, he retired November 27th and stayed with the organisation.  He’s now Binghamton’s head coach
October 30 – Daniel Alfredsson – 4 years/4.875 million; an excellent contract

2008-09 Coaches

Murray hired Craig Hartsburg, who was coming off back-to-back World Junior wins.  Hartsburg had a good track record in junior, but his NHL record was mediocre (albeit more extensive than Paddock’s, 443-184-184-69).  Hartsburg was not a strong systems coach and the team struggled under his regime.  Finally, on February 1st, Hartsburg was fired after accumulating a 17-24-7 record (he went back to junior for two season and is now an NHL assistant coach).  Cory Clouston, enjoying a strong season in Binghamton, was brought up as the interim coach.  The team responded well under Clouston’s more structured approach and he was signed to a two-year deal.

Murray deserves criticism for the Hartsburg signing, who again was not the strongest candidate available.  The team struggled all season long and the coach was allowed to linger longer than was needed.  The Clouston hiring was much like the Paddock hiring–done without competition.

2008-09 Trades

June 20, 2008 – Traded their 1st round pick (Chet Pickard; struggled as an ECHL goalie and spent this past season in Europe) and their 3rd round in 2009 (Taylor Beck; is coming off a solid sophomore campaign in the AHL) for the 15th pick (Erik Karlsson). The Sens desperately needed an upgrade on their blueline, particularly on the right side; making a splash when the draft was in Ottawa likely helped the decision.  This is a huge win for Murray.
June 25, 2008 – Traded Brian McGrattan to the Phoenix Coyotes for the Boston Bruins’ fifth-round draft pick in 2009 (Jeff Costello). McGrattan’s substance abuse problems and declining effectiveness made him an asset that needed moving.  This is a win for Murray.
August 29, 2008 – Traded Andrej Meszaros to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Filip Kuba, Alexandre Picard and San Jose’s 1st round draft pick (previously acquired) in 2009 (which was subsequently traded to the Islanders). Meszaros and the team could not come to terms on a contract, so Ottawa did well in bringing in a solid veteran and prospect.  Meszaros never did find success in Tampa, but when moved to Philadelphia responded in a supporting role.  The Sens got more out of the trade (Kuba), so I’ll give this one to Murray.
September 2, 2008 – Traded Lawrence Nycholat to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Ryan Shannon.  Nycholat demanded a trade, so Ottawa exchanged their problem for one the Canucks had (Shannon had a one-way contract the following season).  The Sens definitely won the trade, as Shannon was a solid soldier while he was with the organisation.
November 10, 2008 – Traded Alexander Nikulin to the Phoenix Coyotes for Drew FataNikulin demanded a trade and rather than simply losing the asset to the KHL Ottawa brought in an AHL veteran.  Nikulin struggled with San Antonio and returned to play in the KHL afterward.  Fata signed with Providence after his year in Binghamton, but Ottawa received more tangible value than Phoenix, so it’s a win for Murray.
February 20, 2009 – Traded Dean McAmmond and San Jose’s 1st round draft pick in 2009 (1-26, Kyle Palmieri; a regular NHLer) to the New York Islanders in exchange for Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli. The Sens had no room for McAmmond, so took on Comrie’s onerous and expiring contract to get Campoli on a very cap friendly deal.  Comrie subsequently signed with the Oilers, while Campoli had an up and down career with the Sens before being traded himself (the acquired pick was used as part of the trade to draft Matt Puempel).  The final assessment of the trade is yet to be made, as it has boiled down to Palmieri vs Puempel.
March 4, 2009 – Traded Antoine Vermette to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Pascal Leclaire and a 2nd round draft pick in 2009 (Robin Lehner). Vermette had flat-lined as a player in the organisation; the Sens had to choose between he and Mike Fisher, and while Vermette had more offensive prowess, Fisher was the tougher player to play against.  The trade (including the pick) was intended to solidify the Sens between the pipes.  Vermette had two good seasons with Columbus before being traded, while Leclaire completely failed as a Senator.  Lehner may make Murray a genius, but in the short term this is a loss.

2009 Draft

Considered a deep and talented draft, Ottawa had its first top-ten pick since the 2005; other than Peltz every player has signed an ELC.

1-9 Jared Cowen (WHL) – big blueliner was injured most of his sophomore campaign
2-39 Jakob Silfverberg (SuperElit) – was excellent with Binghamton and solid with Ottawa in his rookie season; traded to Anaheim as part of the Bobby Ryan deal
2-46 Robin Lehner (SuperElit) – the big goaltender played his way into an NHL roster spot
4-100 Chris Wideman (NCAA) – undersized blueliner finished his collegiate career and showed promise in his rookie AHL-season
5-130 Mike Hoffman (QMJHL) – didn’t make the offensive leap in his third pro season
5-146 Jeff Costello (USHL) – gritty winger had a strong junior season in the NCAA
6-160 Corey Cowick (OHL) – gritty winger finally found consistency in his third year in the AHL
7-190 Brad Peltz (EJHL) – sniper left college early to sign an AHL-deal with Binghamton where he only played a few ECHL games; a bust
7-191 Michael Sdao (USHL) – tough blueliner finished his NCAA career and was solid in his brief AHL-stint

2009-10 Contracts

March 4 – Filip Kuba – 3 years/3.7 million; signed after a career year with Ottawa, he’s suffered repeated injury setbacks and became a lightning rod for criticism in 2010-11; enjoyed a strong final year before signing with Florida as a UFA
July 1 – Chris Neil – 4 years/2.0 million; signed after an awful year, was up and down, but has returned to form
July 6 – Alexei Kovalev – 2 years/5.0 million; a surprise signing at the time that failed utterly (if my memory is correct, the reaction at TSN to this was hilarious, but I can’t find the video of it); he was traded to Pittsburgh (2011) for a 7th round pick (Ryan Dzingel)
August 3 – Brian Elliott – 2 years/0.85; a cap friendly deal for a likeable player; unfortunately he lost his confidence in 2010-11 and was traded to Colorado for Craig Anderson; he’s been very good in St. Louis
October 20 – Matt Carkner – 2 years/0.7; a solid rookie season in the NHL was followed by diminishing returns; he signed with the Islanders as a FA
March 29 – Bobby Butler – 2 years/0.9; the highly sought-after NCAA free agent signed a deal similar to Winchester‘s in 2008; he won a Calder Cup in his first full pro season which was not a sign of things to come

Waivers

October 2 – having no room for Christoph Schubert on the roster, Murray was unable to trade the big defensemen; he was picked up by Atlanta on waivers and had a decent season with the Thrashers, but his NHL career is now apparently over (he’s playing in Europe).

2009-10 Coaches

The first season for Murray where who was coaching was not a question; Clouston got the team into the playoffs and was generally given good grades for his performance (Puck Daddy).

2009-10 Trades

June 27 – Traded their 2010 6th round pick (6-166 Drew Czerwonka; was not signed by the Oilers and is playing in the CIS) to Edmonton for their 2009 7th round pick (7-191, Michael Sdao). The Sens considered the 2010 draft to be weak and were high on Sdao, so they made the move.  This is a win even though Sdao‘s pro prospects aren’t yet clear.
July 8, 2009 – Traded Alex Auld to Dallas for San Jose’s 6th round pick (6-178 Mark Stone).  With Elliott established as an NHL player, there was no need for Auld on the roster.  Stone has proven a very valuable prospect so this is a big win.
September 4, 2009 – Traded Shawn Weller to Anaheim for Jason Bailey. A minor-league exchange of disappointing prospects; Weller was in the final year of his rookie contract, while Bailey’s continued through 2010-11.  Neither asset remains with their new organisation.
September 12, 2009 – Traded Dany Heatley and a 5th round draft pick (5-136 Isaac Macleod; he finished his junior year at Boston College) in 2010 to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and San Jose’s 2nd round pick (subsequently moved to the Islanders and then Chicago, 2-58 Kent Simpson; he spent his rookie pro season in the ECHL) in 2010. Heatley had demanded a trade at the end of the season and this was the best deal Murray could get for him.  Cheechoo proved to be a complete bust and was bought out.  Murray was never going to “win” the trade, particularly with a public trade demand from Heatley, but Michalek is at least a tangible asset who is signed long term.  Heatley spent two seasons in San Jose before being moved to Minnesota.
February 12, 2010 – Traded Alexandre Picard and their 2nd round pick in 2011 (subsequently moved to Edmonton, 2-46, Martin Marincin; had an excellent rookie season in the AHL) to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Matt Cullen. Murray paid a steep price for Cullen, who played well in the playoffs, but the team didn’t win and he wasn’t retained.  While Picard wasn’t important, giving up a 2nd round pick makes this a loss for Murray.
March 2, 2010 – Traded San Jose’s 2nd round pick (Kent Simpson) to the New York Islanders in exchange for Andy SuttonSutton never fit in with the Sens (rather like Mike Commodore two years before) and he wasn’t retained, so this is a loss for Murray.
June 25, 2010 – Ottawa traded their 1st overall pick (1-16 Vladimir Tarasenko; he enjoyed an excellent rookie season in the NHL) to St. Louis for prospect David Rundblad (1-17/09; subsequently traded to Phoenix for Kyle Turris). Sens scout Anders Forsberg was very high on Rundblad, who wound up dominating the Swedish Elite League the following season.  Assessing this trade is still three or four years away, but is likely a net loss for Murray.

2010 Draft

Considered a weak draft (link), the Senators had already traded away many of their picks so only made four selections.  Sorensen and Aneloski are no longer in the system while Culek and Stone are signed.

3-76 Jakub Culek (QMJHL) – defensive forward barely played in his overage season in the Q due to injury
4-106 Marcus Sorensen (SuperElit) – undersized energy forward was unable to secure time in the SEL and was not signed
6-178 Mark Stone (WHL) – big skilled winger had a solid (albeit injury-plagued) rookie season in the AHL
7-196 Bryce Aneloski (USHL) – offensive blueliner finished his NCAA career but was not signed by the Sens; now in the ECHL

2010-11 Contracts

July 1 – Sergei Gonchar – 3 years/5.5; considered the best available UFA blueliner, Murray won him over with term; considered a great signing at the time (link), it was occasionally a rocky road
July 1 – Jesse Winchester – 2 years/0.75; there was still belief that he had untapped upside, but I thought a one-year deal would have made more sense; he’s now playing in Europe
July 14 – Bobby Butler – 2 years/1.05; had an awful first full season in the NHL and was subsequently bought-out, signed with New Jersey and then waived and picked up by Nashville
July 21 – Nick Foligno – 2 years/1.2; never did establish himself as a top-six forward, he was traded to Columbus for Marc Methot as an RFA
July 29 – Peter Regin – 2 years/1.0; after a solid rookie year and a great playoff, big things were expected; instead he struggled in his sophomore season and then was injured most of last year; was re-signed to a cap-friendly, one-year deal
February 28 – Chris Phillips – 3 years/3.083; coming in the midst of an awful season, I didn’t like the price or the term for the declining veteran
March 31 – Stephane Da Costa – 2 years/1.325; the highly sought-after NCAA free agent signed a deal similar to Butler‘s in 2010; he wasn’t ready for the NHL and was inconsistent in the AHL; he was re-signed as an RFA

Buyouts

June 29 - Jonathan Cheechoo was bought out.  I don’t think Murray deserves much criticism here, as no one anticipated Cheechoo as being as completely finished as he has proven to be.

2010-11 Coaches

Cory Clouston was seen as an up-and-coming coach who had worked some magic to get the team into the playoffs.  Not everyone was a believer (The Hockey News), but the team entered the season with a lot of optimism (link).  Everything went wrong for Clouston.  When his goalies played well the team couldn’t score.  When the goalies didn’t play well the team still couldn’t score.  Players were disagreeing with him publically (look at November 30th link).  For a time it looked like Ottawa would be the worst team in the NHL.  With the season clearly over and a rebuild beginning, the team’s play picked up, but Clouston’s fate was sealed.  There was a lot of criticism over Clouston’s inability to communicate with players as well as his varying standards for how play effected ice time.  I believe the former trait made the latter worse.  For Clouston to get another chance in the NHL he’s going to have to find a new approach to handling NHL players (he spent last year in the WHL).

After Clouston was dismissed the Senators looked for a new coach.  Calder Cup winning Kurt Kleinendorst was among the top contenders, but Murray ultimately went with a man he knew from his days in Anaheim–Detroit assistant coach Paul MacLean.  MacLean had spent eight years as Mike Babcock’s assistant, with previous head coaching experience in the IHL and UHL (winning the Colonial Cup in the latter in 2000-01).  Kleindorst had better winning pedigree (ECHL, BISL, and AHL championships to go along with his U-18 gold medal), but MacLean proved himself in his rookie campaign by leading the Sens into the playoffs and making them a tough opponent for the Rangers in the first round.

2010-11 Trades

February 10, 2011 – traded Mike Fisher to Nashville for a 1st round pick (1-21 Stefan Noesen) and a conditional 2nd round pick in 2012 (voided). The trade kicked off the rebuild.  At the time the Senators were 17-30-8 and going nowhere.  Fisher had a big contract with term left (two more years).  Noesen was subsequently packed for Bobby Ryan which makes this a clear win.
February 16, 2011 – traded Chris Kelly to Boston for a 2nd round pick (2-61 Shane Prince). The likeable Kelly was better served on a team that was in contention and went on to help Boston win the Stanley Cup.  His contract (too much for a third-line center) and age brought about the move.  He’s re-signed with the Bruins.  As with the previous trade, this one can’t be assessed yet.
February 17, 2011 – traded Jarkko Ruutu to Anaheim for a 6th round pick (6-171 Max McCormick). Ruutu never found a comfort zone in Ottawa and getting something for the impending UFA was better than nothing (Ruutu remains out of the NHL). This is a win for Murray.
February 18, 2011 – traded Brian Elliott to Colorado for Craig Anderson. The trade that gave the team hope also dashed their chances for a top-three pick.  Anderson was in the midst of a horrible funk in Colorado and needed a change in scenery, while Elliott had completely lost his confidence.  This is a win for Murray.
February 24, 2011 – traded Alexei Kovalev to Pittsburgh for a conditional 7th round pick (7-204 Ryan Dzingel). Getting something for Kovalev was an achievement for Murray and makes this a win.  Kovalev subsequently played in the KHL.
February 28, 2011 – traded Chris Campoli and a conditional pick (voided) to Chicago for Ryan Potulny and a 2nd round pick (2-48, later traded to Detroit to select Matt Puempel; Detroit selected Xavier Ouellet; was solid in his final year in the Q). Campoli was no longer in Ottawa’s plans and they picked up an AHL-asset in Potulny who would help Binghamton win the Calder Cup.  Chicago walked away from Campoli‘s arbitration award and he then signed with Montreal (he’s now a UFA).  This is a win for Murray in the short-term, but ultimately boils down to Puempel vs Ouellet.
June 24, 2011 – traded two 2nd round picks (their own, 2-35 Tomas Jurco (had a middling rookie season in the AHL), and the one acquired from Chicago, 2-48, Xavier Ouelette) for Detroit’s 1st round selection (1-24 Matt Puempel). The Sens were high on Puempel, who they considered for the 21st overall pick, so jumped at the opportunity to get him.  Time will tell on the trade.
June 25, 2011 – traded their 3rd round pick (3-67 T. J. Tynan) to Columbus for Nikita Filatov. Filatov wanted out of Columbus, but there wasn’t much interest in the NHL.  I liked the gamble, but Filatov was unable to stick in the NHL line-up and returned to Russia.  The Sens have retained his rights, but loss this deal in the short-term (truly assessing the deal will depend on Tynan‘s development (he had a rough junior year in the NCAA)).

Waivers

February 24, 2011 – picked up Marek Svatos from Nashville on the waiver wire.  Desperately in need of NHL bodies, Svatos didn’t achieve much before being concussed by Jay Rosehill.  There was never any intention of keeping him and he did not play last season.
February 28, 2011 – picked up Curtis McElhinney from Tampa on the waiver wire.  McElhinney allowed Robin Lehner to stay in the minors and he was decent as the season wound down.  There was never any serious consideration of keeping him and played for Portland in the AHL last year (he subsequently signed a two-way deal with Columbus).

2011 Draft

The draft lacked the high-end talent of previous years, but was considered to have good depth.  Because of Ottawa’s trades they had a plethora of picks to re-stock the organisation (for full scouting reports go here).

1-6 Mika Zibanejad (SEL) – looked better in Ottawa than Binghamton this past season, but still rough around the edges
1-21 Stefan Noesen (OHL) – power forward enjoyed a solid final year of junior hockey before being traded in the Bobby Ryan deal
1-24 Matt Puempel (OHL) – had a solid finish to his OHL career
2-61 Shane Prince (OHL) – undersized forward showed promise as an AHL rookie
4-96 Jean-Gabriel Pageau (QMJHL) – after a slow start as a pro enjoyed a great late run in the NHL
5-126 Fredrik Claesson (SEL) – solid AHL season from the Swedish rookie
6-156 Darren Kramer (WHL) – spent a lot of time in the ECHL during his rookie season
6-171 Max McCormick (USHL) – gritty forward had a solid sophomore season in the NCAA
7-186 Jordan Fransoo (WHL) – big blueliner didn’t develop as much as needed and was not signed
7-204 Ryan Dzingel (USHL) – skilled forward enjoyed an excellent sophomore season in the NCAA

2011-12 Contracts

March 21 – Craig Anderson – 4 years/3.1875; too much term for my liking, but Anderson was excellent this past season
May 19 – Zack Smith – 2 years/0.7; well-deserved contract, he’s coming off an up and down year this season
May 19 – Colin Greening – 3 years/0.816,667; provides solid if unspectacular play
July 1 – Alex Auld – 1 year/1.0; was even more terrible than expected; his NHL career is over (played in Austria this past season)
July 5 – Zenon Konopka – 1 year/0.7; the popular forward didn’t play much and signed with Minnesota the following season
July 6 – Erik Condra – 2 years/0.625; not much pop in his offensive game, but provided a ton of intangibles

2011-12 Coaches

Paul MacLean was excellent in his rookie season as the Sens head coach (41-31-10), unexpectedly leading the team to a playoff birth and making them a tough seven-game out for the New York Rangers.

2011-12 Trades

December 11 – Traded their 2013 7th round pick (John Gilmour) to Chicago (which then was moved to Calgary) for Rob Klinkhammer; the move was meant to help Binghamton, which he did before being called to duty in Ottawa to round out the season; he subsequently signed in Phoenix; unless Gilmour turns into an NHLer this was a good trade for Ottawa
December 17 – Traded David Rundblad and their 2nd round pick to Phoenix (subsequently moved to Philadelphia, who picked Anthony Stolarz; he struggled in the NCAA, but was solid in the OHL this season) for Kyle Turris.  The Sens were desperate for a second-line center and Turris was demanding out of Phoenix.  This trade has to be measured against both Rundblad and Tarasenko, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out, but it really does address an organisational need (assuming Turris develops as expected).
February 26 – Traded their 2013 2nd round pick (Tommy Vannelli) to St. Louis for Ben Bishop.  At the time Craig Anderson was hurt and the team was desperate to add goaltending depth as Robin Lehner was having an off-season.  Bishop was subsequently traded to Tampa for Cory Conacher and a 4th-round pick (Tobias Lindberg), so the latter plus the pick will be assessed against Bishop and Vannelli.
February 27 – Traded Brian Lee to Tampa Bay for Matt Gilroy.  Two players who were failing in their respective organisations, given that the Lightning have re-signed Lee (who did not play well this season) and Gilroy was allowed to walk, this is a loss for Murray.
July 1 – Traded Nick Foligno to Columbus for Marc MethotFoligno was an RFA and clearly the Sens were not sure that he would ever become a full time top-six forward, so they exchanged him for a defensive defenseman.  Methot was excellent in his first year in Ottawa, while Foligno (signed by the Blue Jackets to a big deal, 3 years/3.083) did not show signs of evolving into a better player, so this is a win for Murray.

2012 Draft

Thought to be a weak draft, the Sens made seven selections with no second round pick for the third year in a row; none of the prospects are expected to crack the lineup this upcoming season (for full scouting reports for each player go here).

1-15 Cody Ceci (OHL) – offensive defenseman helps fill an organisational need after the departure of Rundblad; enjoyed a strong end to his junior career
3-76 Chris Driedger (WHL) – his strong performance earned him consideration from team Canada’s WJC braintrust
3-82 Jarrod Maidens (OHL) – skilled forward still isn’t fully recovered from a serious concussion
4-106 Tim Boyle (USHS) – an off the radar selection who didn’t play much in his NCAA rookie season
5-136 Robbie Baillargeon (USHL) – the talented forward struggled until traded in his final USHL season
6-166 Francois Brassard (QMJHL) – a strong season as Quebec’s starting goaltender
7-196 Mikael Wikstrand (Allsvenskan) – defensive defenseman put up big numbers while playing with locked out NHLers, but lost his zip post-lockout; will spend another season in Sweden

2012-13 Contracts

May 4 – Peter Regin – 1 year/0.8; coming off an injury-plagued year the Sens rolled the dice on him staying healthy, but his play simply didn’t measure up
June 19 – Erik Karlsson – 7 years/6.5; the Norris Trophy winner signed a cap-friendly, long-term deal with the club which serves both well so long as he can stay healthy
July 1 – Mike Lundin – 1 year/1.15; the injury-prone, offensively limited blueliner was awful in limited duty; signed in the KHL
July 1 – Guillaume Latendresse – 1 year/2.0; the injury-prone winger suffered from injury and inconsistent play and was let go
July 11 – Chris Neil – 3 years/1.9; a good deal for both sides
July 18 – Jim O’Brien – 2 years/0.637; a solid deal to fill out the bottom of the lineup, he fell out of favour with the coaching staff this season leaving his future cloudy
July 23 – Kaspars Daugavins – 1 year/0.635; a similar deal to O’Brien‘s, but with less commitment, he was waived and picked up by Boston late in the season; currently a UFA

Buyouts

This summer saw the end of the road for highly touted college free agent Bobby Butler.  Despite ample opportunities he struggled badly enough that no other team would take a chance on him at his current salary.  It’s hard to criticise Murray for giving him the deal, but with all the prospects in the wings there was no room for Butler.  He joins a now lengthy list of free agents signed out of college post-lockout who have failed in the NHL (Gilroy, Hanson, Wellman, etc), making me wonder just how much talent is really hidden there.

2012-13 Coaches

MacLean’s magic continued as he willed the injury-bedevilled Sens into the playoffs (25-17-6) and through the first round before getting steamrolled by Pittsburgh.

2012-13 Trades

March 12 – Traded their 2014 6th-round pick to Minnesota for one-dimensional enforcer Matt Kassian; a kneejerk move that did nothing to help the team’s performance (they were 8-8 with him in the lineup during the regular season); if the Wild pick is a dud than the move isn’t quite as bad
April 3 – Traded Ben Bishop to Tampa for Cory Conacher and a 4th-round pick (Tobias Lindberg); Bishop had lost the duel against Robin Lehner to back-up Anderson and as a pending free agent was moved; it will be some time before the trade can be assessed, but the Sens did well to get what they did for an asset they had to move anyway
June 7 – Traded Sergei Gonchar to Dallas for a conditional 6th-round pick (the condition was met when Gonchar signed with the Stars, the Sens picked Chris Leblanc); Ottawa wasn’t going to meet the 39-year old’s contract demands, so getting something for him is a win for Murray
July 5 – Traded Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen, and their 2014 1st-round pick to acquire Bobby Ryan from Anaheim; the Sens clearly got the best player in the deal, but acquiring the power forward required a hefty price–judgement, as always, will take some time
July 9 – Traded Pat Cannone to St. Louis for future considerations; Cannone had a lousy sophomore season in Binghamton and was scheduled to make a fat AHL salary the following year; moving him is a win

Waivers

March 27 – Kaspars Daugavins was picked up by Boston; it was a rough season for the popular Latvian who spent much of his time in the pressbox; there was no room for him in Ottawa so getting him off the roster is a win for Murray

2013 Draft

Considered an average draft, the Sens made seven selections with no second round pick for the fourth year in a row; none of the prospects are expected to crack the lineup this upcoming season (for full scouting reports for each player go here).

1-17 Curtis Lazar (OHL) – character pick is expected to play for Canada at the WJC
3-78 Marcus Hogberg (Swe Jr) – big, raw talented goaltender is expected to start regularly in the Allsvenskan
4-102 Tobias Lindberg (Swe Jr) – off-the-wall rightwinger is a long term project who likely will play another season of junior in Sweden
4-108 Ben Harpur (OHL) – big defenseman is a project who will spend more time in junior this coming season
5-138 Vincent Dunn (QMJHL) – agitator is a couple of years away
6-161 Chris Leblanc (EJHL) – off-the-waller will play with Merrimack in the NCAA
6-168 Quentin Shore (NCAA) – blueliner will continue his collegiate career at Denver

Contracts 2013-14

July 5 – Clarke MacArthur – 2 years/3.25; did not fit into Toronto’s system, the top-six forward soaks up the spot presumably taken by Silfverberg prior to him being traded
July 8 – Joe Corvo - 1 year/0.9k; vet who forced his way out of Ottawa not long ago returns on a cheap, one year deal where he’s expected to round out the bottom of the blueline
July 12 – Erik Condra – 2 years/1.25; re-signed possession wiz got a well-deserved raise
July 22 – Patrick Wiercioch – 3 years/2.0; offensive-blueliner signed a good deal off a limited sample size

There are a couple of more RFA situations to sort out and as they are I’ll add them here.

Overall

As it stands, that is the complete record for Bryan Murray.  He has been the GM for five years during which he’s made the playoffs three times (losing in the first round each time), hired four coaches, and seen the core of the 2007 Stanley Cup final wither away.  So, by category, here’s how I assess him:

The Draft: A, excellent.  The cupboard was bare when Murray took over and now it is starting to overflow.  The 2008, 2009, and 2011 drafts were considered excellent, while 2010 is disappointing (it’s too early to judge 2012 and 2013).  The pump is primed and the Senators should have successive waves of quality players filtering into the organisation for years to come.
Contracts: C, mediocre.  I have his score at 22-19-4 (with the third column representing either results that are yet to be determined or that were neither good nor bad).  Murray’s free agent signings remain a weak point.
Trades: B+, good.  I have his score at 18-9-10 (very few are draws, most in the third column are yet to be determined).  Murray’s deadline deals to help playoff pushes have been his biggest failures.
Coaches: C, average.  Three failed coaches are only gradually being made up for by one excellent hire.
Overall: B+, good.  Murray has been a better builder than contender, but time may seem him overcome the latter challenge as well.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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