Senators News (October 11th)

The Sens opened up the season with a 3-2 loss to Nashville and after suffering through Paul MacLean’s bizarre player choices last year it was more of the on Thursday.  Nichols adds numbers to the obvious: Chris Phillips was awful (worst Corsi in the game–here Travis Yost loses his mind about it), Chris Neil was on the powerplay when the team needed the tying goal (!), Mark Stone barely played, no Patrick Wiercioch…the song remains the same.  Although the evidence was there before the season opened, if the first game is anything to go by Paul MacLean learned exactly nothing from the 2013-14 campaign.  Is MacLean simply out of touch?  Would the team be that much better with different decisions behind the bench?  Time will tell.  Also on “the song remains the same” line, none of these matters are to be found in The Ottawa Sun or The Ottawa Citizen (no Corsi’s or Fenwicks either).

Tonight Ottawa faces Tampa Bay and we already know Wiercioch will be watching from the pressbox.  The Lehner will be unleashed, but otherwise the lineup that failed against Nashville will be on the ice again–so much for accountability (unless you believe Anderson was responsible for the Nashville loss).

I could write at length about Chris Pronger appointment for Player Safety, but all that needs to be said is that it’s a sign of just how out of touch the NHL is.  As much as hockey fans might want to laugh or mock the NFL’s recent series of debacles, it’s worth remembering the NHL is at least as backwards.

Binghamton announced their opening roster, featuring surprises Brad Mills, Danny New, and Scott Greenham.  The latter two played with Binghamton last season and New in particular has a fair amount of AHL-experience.  Keeping 31-year old Mills is an interesting decision, but he does have over 300 games of AHL experience and no doubt can handle being in and out of the lineup.  Cutting Jakub Culek and Troy Rutkowski was a no-brainer, but it’s a bit unusual that Chris Driedger was also sent down to Evansville; PTO Ty Wishart is also ECHL-bound.  Keep in mind the roster could change and shift at any time and that all the aforementioned players are marginal pieces for Bingo at this stage.

The B-Sens play Worcester tonight (I haven’t seen the lineup posted yet).  Last season Worcester was 36-34-6, finishing 4th in the Atlantic Division (out of the playoffs).  The Sharks have had a massive roster overhaul and I thought I’d take a quick look at their additions: undrafted ECHLer J. P. Anderson is serving as the backup goaltender for now; Taylor Fedun (former Oiler org blueliner) is on the blueline, as is another NCAA grad and Tampa Bay alum Matt Taormina; former Colorado draft pick (2009) Gus Young (defenseman) enters as a rookie; Forwards: NCAA tryout Derek DeBlois, free agent Swede Petter Emmanuelsson, veteran AHL-pest Michael Haley, free agent Swede Melker Karlsson, ECHLer Jeremy Langlois, AHL-vet Bryan Lerg, and ECHL-vet Evan Trupp.  It’s an illustration of the thinness of the Sharks organisation how many free agents and ECHL hopefuls dot their lineup.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (October 7th)

The organisation made two good moves last week, re-signing Bobby Ryan to a seven-year extension and making Erik Karlsson the captain.  The latter move doesn’t necessarily have any impact on the ice, but it is at least an acknowledgement that EK is the team’s most important player.  I’ve seen no serious criticism of the move, although Nichols does remind us of pertinent facts regarding Ryan:

a) is coming off a significant injury (sports hernia); b) will be 28 in the first year of his new extension and 35 in the last year of his deal; c) he has never had great underlying numbers; d) should see his production should decline post-30; the Senators simply could not afford to let him leave or allow his uncertain status linger over the team for the duration of the season as we watched his trade value sink like it did for so many rental players at last year’s trade deadline. As much as I hate it when organizations focus explicitly on the optics involved, in this situation, the optics were important.

Pre-season is over and the Sens finished with a 4-2-1 record.  It doesn’t mean much (anything really), but a winning record is nice however irrelevant it is.  The roster has been revealed and includes no surprises, with Curtis Lazar getting his obligatory hyped cup of coffee before being returned to junior.  What interests me going forward is whether Paul MacLean will have the balls/brains to sit Chris Neil, Chris Phillips, Colin Greening, or any other of his favourites when they aren’t playing well–my gut says no, but fortunately we can rely on reality and hope for the best.  As it stands I think we can get ready for frequent shots of Mark Borowiecki and Mike Hoffman having coffee in the pressbox.

All in all, outside contract talk, training camp has been remarkably uneventful.  We’ve had zero roster surprises, no roster moves, and no injuries save for Methot.  The Ottawa Senators will suit up in a couple of days with a roster very similar to last year’s, absent Jason Spezza and with David Legwand and Alex Chiasson added.  Can this roster be better than last year?  It’s going to need players to step up along with a coaching staff that allots ice time more appropriately.

Jeff Ulmer offers us his thoughts on player entering their first year with Bingo and my opinion on a couple of issues: the answer to Brad Mills, Brandon Wong, and Guillaume Lepine is “no” to making the team; the same doesn’t apply to PTO Ty Wishart–the former first-round pick (2006) is an adequate AHL blueliner and would round out the Binghamton blueline (up to seven players given that Troy Rutkowski doesn’t count).

Speaking of the B-Sens, the roster has become largely set with all the cuts from Ottawa now complete.  A brief look at that roster:
Goaltending: Andrew Hammond/Chris Driedger (organisation favourite Scott Greenham will go to Evansville)
Defense: Aaron Johnson, Alex Grant, Fredrik Claesson, Chris Wideman, Patrick Mullen, Ty Wishart, and Michael Sdao (Rutkowski to Evansville)
Forwards: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Matt Puempel, Shane Prince, Carter Camper, Ryan Dzingel, Derek Grant, Buddy Robinson, Cole Schneider, Garrett Thompson, David Dziurzynski, Max McCormick, Darren Kramer, and Alex Guptill (Jakub Culek and Danny Hobbs to Evansville)

An update on the fate of some former Binghamton Senators: Wacey Hamilton and Ben Blood are both on tryouts with the Utica Comets [the latter has been released], while Nathan Lawson is playing in Austria.  [Corey Cowick is on a tryout with Springfield.]

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (September 27th)

There has been a lot of handwringing and nail-biting over the contract situations of Marc Methot and Bobby Ryan (Nichols goes through the Sens bungled handling of the latter).  I’m less concerned about the now-injured Methot, who as a complimentary player is always going to be easier to replace (internally or externally), than I am with a legitimate top winger, but is anyone surprised at this point that the Melnyk/Murray combination has stumbled?  I’ve generally been kind to Murray as GM, especially given that his hands have been tied for a while, but the team is beginning to become a circus.  I didn’t have much faith that Ryan would stay long-term after he was acquired and if he walks (or the team is forced to trade him), it will make trading for him nothing short of a disaster.  All that being said, it’s early in the process and if the Sens struggle this season (as I expect) the org might throw everything (including the kitchen sink) to sign him as a good-will gesture to jaded fans.  It will be interesting to watch as the season unfolds.

Bryan Murray has told anybody and everybody that he’d like to add a top-nine forward.  Irrespective of whether the Sens need such a player, it’s a pretty firm slap in the face to the organisation’s much vaunted depth.  Personally I don’t think it’s something worth addressing–this isn’t a team that’s going to compete for a Cup this season so there’s no need to add that kind of player.  I’d rather see various young players tried out in that position, although I’m not sure Paul MacLean can be weaned off the Smith-Greening-Neil (and/or Legwand) Koolaid long enough to give anyone else those kinds of minutes.

The Sens have an even record in the pre-season (2-2); the games aren’t the relevant other than for player-evaluation, but I’ve found Paul MacLean’s opinions increasingly inscrutable so we’ll have to wait and see what comes out of it.

Speaking of MacLean, Rob Vollman takes a look at who used their players effectively in the 2013-14 season (Ottawa is the 21st slide and, as expected, is all over the place in who was and wasn’t used correctly (all the names you would expect in the bad column are there).

Ottawa has reduced their bloated training camp roster by returning Ben Harpur, Nick Paul, and invitee Matt Murray to junior (no surprises here, although there was a certain amount of hype behind Paul).  Most of the rest of the players expected for Binghamton have been siphoned off into their own group, with the exception of Fredrik Claesson, Matt Puempel, David Dziurzynski, Buddy Robinson, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (the latter of whom is nursing a minor injury).

Jeff Ulmer takes an early look at Binghamton’s projected forward group (I’m not as certain as he is that Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman are locks to be on Ottawa’s roster), although he doesn’t include potential lineups.  Jeff has a lot more faith in Chris Driedger as a goaltender than I do at the moment; hopefully he’ll be ready for backup duty in Binghamton, but I don’t think he’s a lock by any stretch of the imagination.

As training camp rolls on I thought I’d take a quick “where are they now” from last season (both the Sens and BSens):

Ottawa
The blueline and goaltending has lost no one since the end of this past season, but a few forwards have moved:
Jason Spezza – traded to Dallas
Ales Hemsky – signed in Dallas as UFA
Matt Kassian – is on a tryout with Phoenix [now released]

Binghamton
Stephane Da Costa – signed with CSKA Moscow in the KHL
Ludwig Karlsson – included with Spezza in the Dallas trade
Jim O’Brien – signed with Metallurg Novokuznetsk in the KHL
Nathan Lawson – UFA is searching for a team (he may be on a PTO, but if so I haven’t seen it)
Ben Blood – released after his ELC he remains a free agent (as above)
Tyler Eckford – remains a UFA (as above)
Corey Cowick – still a UFA (as above)
Wacey Hamilton – UFA (as above)

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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)

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