As I put the finishing touches on my review of the draft there’s plenty to catch up on in Sens Land. For those desperate for draft thoughts, Nichols has finally stolen my idea of typing up scouting reports so you can see those here, here, and here–he also spends time drooling over Corey Pronman’s draft review, so for those who share his fetish, enjoy!
What can I say about the Robin Lehner trade? The only way the Sens win the trade is if Lehner fails to live up to his potential–otherwise, the value they got back is never going to measure up. Fans have to hope Matt O’Connor is the real deal because Andrew Hammond and an aging Craig Anderson are not going to get it done. As for Eric Gryba being moved, I’m fine with it, although any of Chris Phillips, Mark Borowiecki, or Jared Cowen might have been better. I expect nothing from Travis Ewanyk, but at least he only has one season left on his ELC.
The Sens have started to finish their bookkeeping when it comes to pending free agents, inking Chris Wideman to a generous two-way deal (his 400k AHL salary is both a reward for his achievements and also a bit of a poison pill for any team sniffing around him should he be sent through waivers).
I’m a bit lost on the B-Sens retaining Patrick Mullen; the deal makes me wonder if the Sens intend on keeping Wideman (or Wikstrand) with the parent club come fall–but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
There was finally full clarification on the Mikael Wikstrand situation (I heard it via Randy Lee on TSN 1200)–apparently he never signed a new deal, instead his club team traded his contract (which had a year remaining). Wikstrand has no issue at all in playing in the AHL.
I’d forgotten that Clarkson grad Kevin Tansey, a player the Sens are apparently interested in, attended their development camp before (last year). Ryan Kennedy, incidentally, believes the defenseman is one of the top-ten undrafted players at an NHL development camp. It’s clear the Sens aren’t afraid to take defenseman with poor puck-handling skills (comments made by Randy Lee show that they feel it’s an area that can be improved upon enough to make the investment worthwhile). Personally, I don’t think turning a poor puck-mover into a middling one is enough at the NHL level.
Speaking of development, I want to quote Nichols (link above) with a sentiment I echo:
If anything, Ottawa’s successful development makes me question why the organization has willingly boxed out a number of its prospects from bottom six or bottom pairing roles by re-signing or acquiring redundant vets.
Amen, although the answer is pretty simple–loyalty to veterans and an old school belief by Murray that bringing in older players helps the “mix” on the roster. After all, think of how well David Legwand, Martin Lapointe, Mike Commodore, and so on have done here….
Other unsigned players attending the development camp: Neal Goff (unremarkable defenseman coming off his first year in the NCAA–put up a career high 11 points in the US high school four years ago), Scott Moldenhauer (another Western Michigan defenseman with just slightly better hands), Jordan Murray (CIS defenseman who once put up good stats in the QMJHL), and Ryan Penny (QMJHL forward who has finished his junior eligibility and needs a contract).
[An additional observation: Tim Boyle, the Sens 2012 draft pick, wasn’t even invited to camp, suggesting the org believes him to have already failed as a prospect.]
Every once and awhile the NHL reminds me of why I find the league frustrating. Allowing the Chris Pronger trade to occur is utterly ridiculous–he’s not “sitting out with an injury” like Nathan Horton, he’s working at NHL head office! The whole idea is absurd.
[Just one another addition that’s particularly pertinent on the cusp of free agency: no one cares about the total value of a player’s contract–fans want to know the yearly average and I wish sports sites would give up on the former and embrace the latter.]
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)