One-Thousand Posts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enough reminiscing, back to news & notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (September 7th)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: July 10th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Scouting Reports on the Players Acquired in the Spezza Deal

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

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

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

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

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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)

Judging Player Production in Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The caliber here is quite Similar to the SHL.

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

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

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

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Behind the Numbers of Binghamton’s 2013-14 Season

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

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

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

Goaltenders

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

Blueliners

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

Forwards

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

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

chart

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

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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