Senators Prospect Profile: Mikael Wikstrand

wikstrand

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

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

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

Future Considerations offered these thoughts on him:

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

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

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

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

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

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators Prospect Profile: Tobias Lindberg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (February 23rd)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (February 14th)

Sens fans love prospects, so what better day for an update?  Before I get there we have some Sens news along with a reminder that the B-Sens are in town tomorrow, so you should all go check them out.

Travis Yost writes about draft odds, but I’m a bit dubious about the relevance of the numbers from 2000-04 (given that teams put so much more emphasis on scouting subsequently).  A day after Travis’ article dropped, B_T looked at the draft lottery odds now that the NHL has changed them.

Nichols continues to tease fans with the idea that Chris Neil could be traded–it’s not his fault, given that Neil‘s name is being floated, but I don’t see it happening.

Speaking of trades, Sheer Craziness has a Corsi hard-on for Erik Condra and hopes the Sens keep him (he’s a UFA at the end of the year).  I like Condra well enough, but fourth-line forwards are not something Ottawa needs to hang onto at this stage.  A Cup caliber team can contemplate the right chemistry needed on the fourth line, but a rebuilding team needs slots open for developing players.

As for spare parts, Ary M (aka Arium…or not) looks at the plethora of depth blueliners and believes both Eric Gryba and Jared Cowen should go (Mark Borowiecki would also be included, but Ary believes the organisation wouldn’t part with him and I agree).

Evansville was only able to dress 13 skaters last night (losing 6-1).  I’m not sure how it happened–a mix of call-ups and injuries presumably, but it’s a strange thing to see.

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

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 40-5-11-16
Two points in his last three games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 40-1-3-4
No points in his last two games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 8-10-1 2.55 .908
Is 0-1-0 since last time, with no meaningful changes in his underlying numbers

CHL
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 52-26-38-64
Seven points in his last four games, moving up to 16th in overall scoring
Francis Perron
(DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 50-23-43-63
Two points in his last four games, dropping to 19th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 43-27-22-49
Six points in his last five games
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 43-5-22-27
Two points in his last five games
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 37-15-10-25
No points in his last game
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 49-5-12-17
One point in his last five games

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 26-9-10-19
One point in his last two games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 18-1-11-12
Five points in his last three games
Shane Eiserman
(DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 25-3-8-11
One point in his last three games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 20-5-4-9
No points in his last three games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 26-5-4-9
Four points in his last three games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 18-3-8-11
No points in his last two games

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (February 3rd)

Nichols reminds us yet again why Patrick Wiercioch should play more; alas, facts seem to have a limited impact on coaching, so it seems like we’ll continue to see what we’ve been seeing all year.

Nichols also looks at the possibility of Ray Shero replacing Bryan Murray when he steps down as the Sens GM.  I’m not thrilled with the idea, as in Ottawa Shero has to draft well and his track record in Pittsburgh isn’t inspiring.

For whatever reason the B-Sens decided to sign Brad Mills (he of the PED suspension) to a two-way contract mid-way through the season.  Why they need the 31-year old down the stretch is beyond me, but there you go.

Speaking of the B-Sens, with Andrew Hammond called up to Ottawa, Scott Greenham was brought back to Binghamton.

Ary M takes a look at right-handed defencemen in the system, which is worth reading.  For more scouting reports on Kelly Summers go here (they are from ISS and Future Considerations).

The Sens and Jakub Culek mutually agreed to terminate his ELC.  It’s a good move by both parties, but begs the question why the organisation signed him in the first place.  On the whole I’ve been happy with the Sens decisions with prospects (their pro scouting is another matter), but there was nothing in Culek‘s numbers or trajectory that suggested he was a worthwhile investment.  The Czech player has signed a deal with HC Plzen.

One thing I didn’t note last week, when referencing Guilliaume Lepine playing in Binghamton, is that his recall was done instead of theoretical prospect Troy Rutkowski.  The FA signee from last year has seen his good start in Evansville slip over the last two months.  Rutkowski is another player the organisation should look to move along at their first opportunity.

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

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 37-4-10-14
One point in his last five games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 38-1-3-4
No points in his last five games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 8-9-1 2.52 .907
Is 0-1-1 since last time, with no meaningful changes in his underlying numbers

CHL
Francis Perron (DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 46-22-39-61
Eight points in his last five games; remains 17th in overall scoring
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 48-22-35-57
Seven points in his last six games; remains 17th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 38-23-20-43
Six points in his last six games
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 36-15-10-25
No points in his last game
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 38-5-20-25
Three points in his last six games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 44-4-12-16
One point in his last four games

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 24-8-10-18
Three points in his last four games
Shane Eiserman (DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 22-3-7-10
Three points in his last four games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 17-5-4-9
Three points in his last five games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 15-1-6-7
Three points in his last three games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 23-3-2-5
One point in his last three games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 16-3-8-11
No points in his last game

theianalex takes a look at Binghamton’s last couple of games–it’s definitely worth checking out.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Binghamton Senators Update

It has been awhile since my last Binghamton update.  You can get game-by-game reflections from theianalex over at The Silver Seven or from Jeff Ulmer at SenShot.  Back in December (my last update), the B-Sens were on a hot streak and seemed to be getting over some of their issues, but 18 games later and the reality is this roster has significant weaknesses.  Binghamton is 6-10-2 over the stretch, including a particularly ugly losing streak earlier this month.  Their 129 GF keeps them 3rd in the Conference, so scoring isn’t an issue, but their 137 GA puts them 14th and that’s where the trouble is.  Team defense and goaltending just isn’t up to snuff.  As for individual numbers, here’s a quick look:

.

6 Chris Wideman D 40 13 21 34 +5 53 7 0 0.85 1.32 140
18 Shane Prince LW 39 14 18 32 +3 20 5 0 0.82 0.51 103
9 Matt Puempel LW 41 11 15 26 -8 21 5 0 0.63 0.51 121
15 Cole Schneider RW 34 12 13 25 -1 6 3 0 0.74 0.18 80
11 Carter Camper C 41 5 17 22 -2 12 0 0 0.54 0.29 65
57 Derek Grant C 40 13 7 20 -3 27 4 0 0.50 0.68 101
20 Alex Grant D 34 5 15 20 -6 36 4 0 0.59 1.06 55
14 Patrick Mullen D 41 4 16 20 -4 30 3 0 0.49 0.73 52
44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau C 25 8 10 18 +6 25 1 1 0.72 1.00 94
10 Buddy Robinson RW 40 7 10 17 +7 23 0 1 0.42 0.57 82
72 Aaron Johnson D 41 1 16 17 +6 42 0 0 0.41 1.02 67
* 43 Ryan Dzingel C 33 9 6 15 -9 29 1 0 0.45 0.88 55
3 Fredrik Claesson D 41 3 10 13 -2 19 0 0 0.32 0.46 44
* 17 Max McCormick LW 32 6 6 12 +3 97 0 1 0.38 3.03 59
22 David Dziurzynski LW 34 4 7 11 +1 75 0 0 0.32 2.21 43
8 Daniel New D 22 2 7 9 +4 17 0 0 0.41 0.77 25
37 Darren Kramer LW 39 2 7 9 +1 161 0 0 0.23 4.13 53
* 27 Alex Guptill LW 29 4 4 8 +2 30 0 0 0.28 1.03 37
* 16 Garrett Thompson C 35 2 5 7 -4 27 0 0 0.20 0.77 41
19 Brad Mills C 9 1 3 4 -4 11 0 0 0.44 1.22 14
4 Michael Sdao D 22 1 2 3 -3 76 0 0 0.14 3.45 14
* 12 Danny Hobbs LW 7 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0.29 0.00 7
24 David Marshall RW 4 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0.25 0.50 1
30 Andrew Hammond G 25 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.04 0.00 0
5 Marc Methot D 1 0 0 0 -2 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 1
84 Todd Bertuzzi RW 2 0 0 0 -3 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 2
* 41 Jakub Culek C 2 0 0 0 -1 2 0 0 0.00 1.00 4
* 33 Chris Driedger G 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
21 Shawn Szydlowski RW 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.00 0.67 2
5 Nick Tuzzolino (total) click to view the entire list for Nick Tuzzolino D 3 0 0 0 -2 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 3
     Utica Comets D 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
     Binghamton Senators D 2 0 0 0 -2 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 3
7 Guillaume Lepine D 5 0 0 0 +1 14 0 0 0.00 2.80 4
31 Peter Mannino (total) click to view the entire list for Peter Mannino G 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
     Portland Pirates G 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
     Binghamton Senators G 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
35 Scott Greenham G 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
1 Scott Greenham 13 706:33 28 1 2.38 7 4 1 378 350 0.926
2 * Chris Driedger 2 119:57 6 0 3.00 2 0 0 55 49 0.891
3 Andrew Hammond 25 1368:43 80 2 3.51 7 13 2 782 702 0.898
4 Peter Mannino (total) click to view the entire list for  8 420:49 25 0 3.56 1 3 2 252 227 0.901

It’s worth noting that Scott Greenham, with by far the better numbers of Binghamton’s goalies, is currently babysitting the awful Evansville affiliate in the ECHL.  Picking Mannino off the scrap-heap hasn’t helped and Luke Richardson still hasn’t figured out Hammond can’t handle back-to-back starts.  The results are certainly the reason Bryan Murray threw Bingo’s goaltenders under the bus last week.

As for the rest of the roster, Wideman continues his fantastic season, even if he hasn’t been able to keep up his point-per-game pace.  Prince leads all scorers over the 18 games with 14 points (followed by Camper with 13, Wideman with 11, and both Puempel and Mullen with 9; Schneider and Alex Grant, if healthy, would certainly be among the leaders).  On the negative side, it’s clear FA signee Thompson is a complete dud (two points in his last fifteen), while Guptill (three points in his last fifteen) looks like dead weight Dallas was ejecting when they traded for Jason Spezza.  I think if Dzingel cleaned up his play without the puck he has a bright future.  I’m on the fence about Puempel; I expect more production from a first-round pick whose forte was scoring, but on the other hand he needs the opportunities to make it happen and whatever his stats are he’s still near the top of Bingo’s charts.

Back to my favourite topic, Binghamton’s goaltending.  I’m not sure why management wanted to send Greenham down and sign a veteran goaltender mid-season, but doing that, why choose Mannino?  The decision has been a disaster and the blame can’t fully fall on the team in front of him since Greenham won with the same players.  Mannino has won just a single game and only had a GAA under 3.00 in his most recent (OT) loss.  Incredibly, Hammond has also only won a single game since his signing and his numbers are worse with his new partner.  Admittedly, Binghamton has no hope of making the playoffs, so the team might as well play younger players, but that means Mannino‘s addition makes even less sense.  The move smells of Bryan Murray–acquiring an older player when it’s too late who has no positive impact whatsoever.  It’s still early, admittedly.

With Jakub Culek no longer part of the organisation, only Troy Rutkowski and Chris Dreidger are the only prospects remaining in Evansville.  Neither player is excelling, but given how awful the team around them is, I’m not sure how much can be drawn from that.  Driedger is a young goalie, so there’s time for him to improve, but I think the clock has run out on Rutkowski‘s.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (January 21st)

The Sens have announced they are parting ways with Colin Greening, burying him in the AHL barring a trade, but it’s an incredible admission of failure by Bryan Murray given that he just signed Cyborg to his absurd deal less than a year ago.  I don’t think dumping him improves the team much–making room for Chris Neil is not an upgrade–but it’s good for Greening to get a fresh start elsewhere.

Along with the Greening news and the lamentable return to the lineup of both Chris Phillips and Neil, Murray continued to talk about adding a top forward.  I can’t figure out how serious Murray is about this–who would trade such a player, and what could he offer them that he’s willing to give up?  Most of the Sens disposable prize assets were dispatched to land Bobby Ryan and there are few teams willing to give up a player of his caliber.  I wonder how much the talk is simply press material to encourage fans to show up and have hope.  Nichols (via the link) points out that even if such a trade occurred the Sens would still be a couple of pieces away from being an elite team.

Nichols also says some confusing things about the Sens prospects in his article:

With the exception of a Cody Ceci or a Curtis Lazar and possibly a Robin Lehner, I cannot say with any kind of confidence that this team’s youth is going to get significantly better than the level that they are performing at right now.  That, of course, isn’t to say that there isn’t young value here, there is. Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone in particular have demonstrated themselves to be efficient and reliable players who probably warrant more playing time than they’re currently receiving, but the bulk of Ottawa’s youth projects second or third line players. I know that it’s beating a drum at this point and it’s easy to say, but this team needs an injection of elite talent. Without it, I just don’t see how this organization can escape, especially with its budget, being anything more than a playoff bubble team that relies heavily upon its goaltenders to carry them through the season.

I’m not sure what he means here, which makes commenting on it difficult.  Youth (other than the three cited) is not getting better…and then he references Stone and Hoffman who are both young players who got better.  Nichols then disses second and third line players, which implies that the only prospects he thinks are significant are front line players, but I don’t think Lazar or Ceci qualify as either, so…?  I feel like either I’m either missing the point or Nichols is engaging in hyperbole.  Regardless, sure, Ottawa could use elite talent (all teams could), but realistically that comes from top draft picks and the Sens have had few and far between of those.

I do like Nichols providing some of the litany of useless veteran players Murray has added over the years–his addiction to players well past their prime is something that hasn’t been fully tackled and must relate to ideas of “leadership” Murray has absorbed.  My annual review of Murray has the full list–view at your peril.

Speaking of Phillips, the guys at TSN 1200 need to stop giving me hope that the franchise will ever move Big Rig.  Stop playing with my heart boys, we know it’s not going to happen.

Todd Bertuzzi‘s debut with Binghamton was underwhelming, but it will take a few more games to find out if the veterans has any gas left in the tank.  There are other (current) additions to the lineup in Bingo.  Shawn Szydlowski (who was at Ottawa’s 09-10 training camp) was called up from Fort Wayne; David Marshall from Reading; and defenseman Guillaume Lepine from Evansville.  Don’t expect any of these players to push their way onto the roster ala Daniel New.

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

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 32-4-9-13
Two points in his last two games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 33-1-3-4
No points in his last two games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 8-8-0 2.54 .907
Hasn’t started since last time

CHL
Francis Perron (DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 41-18-35-53
One point in his last two; 17th in overall scoring
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 42-19-31-50
Three points in his last three games; 17th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 32-20-17-37
One point in his last three games
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 35-15-10-25
One point in his last two games
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 32-4-18-22
One point in his last three games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 40-4-11-15
No points in his last game

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 20-6-9-15
Two points in his last two games
Shane Eiserman (DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 18-3-4-7
One point in his last three games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 12-3-3-6
One point in his last two games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 12-1-3-4
No points in his last two games
 Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 20-3-1-4
One point in his last two games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 15-3-8-11
His next game is on Friday

Joshua Weissbock thinks the NHL has a scouting problem, citing an old Scott Cullen column where he ranks picks from the pre-cap era (which seems pretty pointless, but at the time of the column, 2009, I don’t think he had much choice).  Interestingly, Weissbock says:

On average teams hope to select at least 1 future NHLer, but 2 or more is considered a success.

He doesn’t cite any sources for that conclusion, but it’s the same as mine from last year.  Unfortunately, Weissbock starts making his conclusions about scouting that includes data before the cap–prior to that change, scouting wasn’t accepted as important across the NHL and big budget teams really could spend their way out of trouble if managed right, so those results don’t reflect current practice.  That being said, he does hit on one issue that still exists: the addiction to the size of players.  It’s the only specific he mentions, but it’s true that most of the players missed by NHL scouts are smaller, as I’ve shown in the past.  That being said, I disagree with his conclusion that there’s a serious problem with scouting in general as scouts pick the overwhelming majority of NHL players.  For my part, other than the reluctance to pick smaller players, the only need I see for NHL teams is a willingness to scout Europe more thoroughly.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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