Ottawa at the 62-Game Mark

Ottawa has reached the 62-game mark (I’m two games off my usual twenty-game snapshot, but for the sake of simplicity I’ve gone with how things are now), so it’s time to take stock and see how the team has performed (for the previous segment go here).  The Sens went 12-6-4, which puts them tied for 11th in the conference (one up from 22 games ago) and they remain 6th in the division.  Their 174 goals for has fallen to tied for 7th in the conference, while their 199 goals against has improved to 15th (second worst).  Ottawa has the 15th best powerplay (18.9%), which is one place lower, albeit their percentage is slightly higher, while their penalty killing (80.6%) is 23rd (improving one place and by almost a full percentage point).  Their record is much better than in their previous segment of games, but they’ve barely moved at all in the standings (as predicted months ago).

Player’s stats (AHL=games in the AHL):

Erik Karlsson 22-6-13-19 -6
Jason Spezza 18-4-12-16 -12
Clarke MacArthur 22-8-8-16 -5
Kyle Turris 22-10-5-15 +1
Cory Conacher 22-1-10-11 +3
Bobby Ryan 22-5-5-10 Even
Mika Zibanejad 22-3-7-10 -4
Milan Michalek 22-4-5-9 -4
Marc Methot 20-2-5-7 +8
Colin Greening 22-4-3-7 -6
Zack Smith 22-3-3-6 -3
Chris Neil 16-3-3-6 -5
Erik Condra 22-2-4-6 +2
Jared Cowen 21-0-6-6 -8
Cody Ceci 22-1-4-5 +1
Eric Gryba 17-0-5-5 -4
Stephane Da Costa 8-3-1-4 +1 [AHL 19-4-13-17]
Patrick Wiercioch 13-2-1-3 Even
Mark Stone 7-1-1-2 -1 [AHL 9-5-7-12]
Chris Phillips 13-0-1-1 -6
Matt Kassian 9-0-1-1 Even
Joe Corvo 4-0-1-1 -3
Jean-Gabriel Pageau 6-0-0-0 Even [AHL 18-4-11-15]
Mike Hoffman 2-0-0-0 +1 [AHL 24-16-19-35]

Craig Anderson 10-3-4 3.06 .908
Robin Lehner 2-3-0 3.05 .912
(Andrew Hammond played part of a game, but other than allowing no goals there’s not much to say)

It’s an interesting phenomena to look at a team that remained a collective minus that won the majority of its games (granted, without the loser point things wouldn’t be so impressive, just 12-10).  Karlsson continues to lead the way (including the most assists), with MacArthur continuing his production (most goals) and Turris recovering from a minor slump during the previous twenty games; speaking of slumps, Ryan has struggled offensively, while Conacher has been much more productive than the first half of the season; Michalek bumped his meagre production from awful to middling, but is still a piece that needs moving (assuming anyone will take him); Corvo and Kassian remain on the roster for inexplicable reasons; Gryba got out of the MacLean dog house while Wiercioch went back into it–either Cowen or Phillips belongs there, but the coaching staff has a soft spot for both; Stone and Da Costa played well in limited action.  Spezza was the worst minus (12) on the team, while Methot the best plus (8).  Lehner‘s infrequent appearances have hurt his performances, while Anderson has been okay in net, but his underlying numbers remain below league averages.

The trade rumours still swirl and I’m less excited by who might be coming in (Chris Stewart is name floating around right now) than who might go out.  The Sens have a significant amount of dead weight on their roster that I’d like them see shed for assets (if nothing else).  Bryan Murray’s deadline track record is awful, but we can hope the days of acquiring Martin Lapointe or Mike Commodore are over.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Binghamton at the 50-Game Mark

The Binghamton Senators have passed the 50-game mark and it’s time to take stock and see how the team and the players are performing.  The B-Sens went 5-5-0, keeping them 1st in their division and 3rd in the conference (for their previous ten games go here).  The team’s 191 goals remain 1st in the conference, while their 153 goals has improved to 12th.

Player’s stats (NHL=games in the NHL, ECHL=games in the ECHL):

Mike Hoffman 10-9-9-18 +3
Shane Prince 10-8-5-13 +7
Andre Petersson
9-1-11-12 +12
Jim O’Brien
10-5-5-10 +8
Mark Stone
6-6-3-9 +4
Cole Schneider 10-3-5-8 +2
Jean-Gabriel Pageau
10-2-6-8 +4
Chris Wideman 10-1-7-8 +10
Matt Puempel 8-4-2-6 Even
Corey Cowick 10-3-3-6 +5
David Dziurzynski 9-2-3-5 -1
Daniel New
10-0-5-5 +1
Stephane Da Costa
3-1-3-4 +3 [NHL 8-3-1-4 +1]
Buddy Robinson
9-1-2-3 Even
Mark Borowiecki
10-0-2-2 +5
Wacey Hamilton
9-0-2-2 -3
Michael Sdao
6-2-0-2 +3
Derek Grant
3-2-0-2 +1
Danny Hobbs
2-1-1-2 +3 [ECHL 7-4-2-6 Even]
Fredrik Claesson 10-0-1-1 +3
Darren Kramer 6-0-1-1 Even
Tyler Eckford 5-0-1-1 +3
Ben Blood 9-0-0-0 +6
Ludwig Karlsson [ECHL 12-4-3-7 +1]
Jakub Culek
[ECHL 12-2-4-6 +7]
Troy Rutkowski [ECHL 13-0-3-3 -2]

Andrew Hammond 4-3-0 2.73 .901
Nathan Lawson 1-1 2.68 .917
Scott Greenham 1-0-0 3.00 .917

It was a fantastic stretch for Hoffman, who earned an AHL all-star selection.  This is the kind of dominance expected of him at this level when he arrived, but only in his fourth year has he final reached it.  Prince and the rest of the offence also exploded, so it’s easier to focus on players not producing, amounting to two forwards: Robinson (who has truly fallen off since the start of the season) and Hamilton (who just doesn’t put up numbers at this level).  New continues to play regularly, ahead of actual Sens prospects, and it’s interesting that Blood (who offers nothing offensively) played more than Sdao who has a little more punch (in more than one way) than he does.  Petersson lead the team as a plus, while Hamilton was the worst of only two minuses.  Hammond‘s numbers continue to improve (including earning his first shutout) and Greenham won his first start with the B-Sens; Lawson‘s problems in staying healthy remain.  In the ECHL, Culek and Karlsson‘s production remains erratic, while Rutkowski seems a bit behind where they are in his development (certainly his offensive talent has yet to show itself).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Olympic Thoughts

A few thoughts on hockey at the Olympics:

-I’m not a fan of lopsided games (eg Canada’s stomp over Austria etc)–it’s not interesting or entertaining.  Twelve teams is too many for the Olympics and I’d rather see eight participate.  I’m not sure the “reward” of getting annihilated in group stage is helpful enough to the hockey federations of the bottom teams–I’d bow to research on that, but on the surface it doesn’t seem to accomplish anything.

-Logistically I understand the reason behind the best-of-one format in the Olympics, but if the idea is awarding a gold medal to the best team than it simply doesn’t work.  Unfortunately, given how short the Olympics are it’s not possible to have a true test of that, but if the World Cup ever comes back they should have best-of-five’s (I don’t see that happening either, but it’s the minimum they would need to be).

-The streaming of games online has been excellent thus far, although I dream of the day where the commentators can be muted in favour of just game sounds.  Listening to Craig Simpson is almost as bad as listening to Shawn Simpson (TSN 1200).  Let the game speak for itself.

-I feel for Russia losing today, as they should have beat the US 3-2.  The winning goal was disallowed because the net was off its moorings.  It was the correct call, but the Russians must feel like they missed out.  In the grand scheme of things it may not be that relevant.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: February 2nd

-The Sens have gone 3-3-2 since I last checked in, giving up a pile of goals and playing erratically.  This leaves them in the morass of teams on the outside looking in, with a tantalizing chance to make it.  Incomprehensibly, the team recalled Stephane Da Costa back on January 20th–Paul MacLean must have a hard-on for seeing the Frenchman struggle with limited minutes on the fourth line (his two goals against Columbus earned him only 2 more minutes of playing time the following game).

-The team continues to kick the tires for a playoff rental, but Murray’s track record in doing so is largely abysmal so I’d prefer they stayed the course (unless they can remove some dead weight at the same time).

-Binghamton is 6-2 over the last couple of weeks and while both losses were ugly (5-1 to Manchester and 5-2 to Rochester) they’ve played quite well.  Jeff Ulmer’s excellent recaps of those games can be found over at SenShot.  Interestingly enough, the team choose to recall Danny Hobbs rather than one of Ottawa’s prospects (he did well in his first game, picking up a goal and an assist).  Scott Greenham, now back in the ECHL, finally did get an AHL-start with Bingo and won it (against Albany).

-Here’s my look at Binghamton at the forty-game mark.

-In Elmira, Jakub Culek has returned to the lineup and put up good numbers (6-1-6-7); Ludwig Karlsson has gone cold (8-2-4-6) with only one point in his last five; Troy Rutkowski (9-0-1-1) continues to struggle.

-Peter Morrow looks at the Sens pro prospects, but unfortunately it’s a mere summary rather than offering specific insight, scouting reports, or projections for those players.

-Fans may not want to hear about the economics of the team, but money impacts the organisation whether fans like it or not, so its worth tracking.  TSN, having given up on national coverage, locked up regional coverage of the Sens a few days ago.  Travis (via the link) raises the most interesting question: will the extra money Ottawa receives be pumped into the hockey team or into Melnyk’s other business ventures?  The owner isn’t required to do the former, so it will be interesting to watch.

-Here’s a look at how the various players in the Sens system are doing (the ranking in brackets is their position in team scoring for the team or among defenseman, depending on the position of the player):

CHL
Curtis Lazar (WHL) 38-29-25-54 (2nd)
Vincent Dunn
(QMJHL) 36-20-17-37 (3rd)
Ben Harpur (OHL) 20-3-13-16 (4th)
Jarrod Maidens (OHL) injured
Chris Driedger (WHL) 20-12-6 2.55 .918
Francois Brassard
(QMJHL) 23-9-6 3.00 .908

US Junior
Tim Boyle (USPHL) 29-5-13-18 (2nd)

Swedish Junior
Tobias Lindberg (SuperElit/Allsvenskan) 21-6-5-11/3-0-0-0 (7th)

NCAA
Ryan Dzingel (NCAA) 24-17-19-36 (1st)
Max McCormick (NCAA) 24-10-14-24 (2nd)
Robert Baillargeon
(NCAA) 25-6-12-18 (2nd)
Quentin Shore (NCAA) 23-6-13-19 (2nd)
Jeff Costello (NCAA) 27-8-6-14 (7th)
Chris Leblanc (NCAA) 21-5-5-10 (3rd)

Swedish Pro
Mikael Wikstrand (SHL/Allsvenskan) 10-2-3-5 (5th)/27-4-16-20 (1st)
Marcus Hogberg (Allsvenskan) 5-7-0 2.86 .897

Not much has changed among the junior prospects, although Driedger and Brassard‘s numbers have declined and Hogberg‘s have improved.  On the college side a number of players have moved up a little in terms of where they sit in team scoring, but no one has had a meteoric change in their numbers.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Binghamton at the 40-Game Mark

The Binghamton Senators have passed the 40-game mark so it’s time to take stock and see how the team and the players are performing.  The B-Sens went 7-3-0 (roaring out of their losing streak), keeping them 1st in their division and 3rd in the conference (for their previous ten games go here).  The team’s 145 goals remain 1st in the conference, while their 122 goals are next to last.

Player’s stats (NHL=games in the NHL, ECHL=games in the ECHL):

Mike Hoffman 10-3-9-12 Even
Stephane Da Costa 10-3-7-10 +3
Chris Wideman 10-3-7-10 -1
Andre Petersson 10-7-2-9 +2
Fredrik Claesson 10-1-8-9 +9
Cole Schneider 10-3-5-8 Even
Matt Puempel 10-5-2-7 -4
Shane Prince 10-3-4-7 +5
Jim O’Brien 10-3-4-7 Even
Corey Cowick 10-3-3-6 -3
Wacey Hamilton 8-1-3-4 -2
Daniel New 10-0-4-4 -1
Jean-Gabriel Pageau 2-0-3-3 +2 [NHL 5-0-0-0 Even]
Buddy Robinson 8-1-2-3 +4
David Dziurzynski 8-1-2-3 -2
Michael Sdao 9-0-2-2 +5
Derek Grant 6-1-0-1 -1
Mark Borowiecki 10-0-1-1 Even
Ben Blood 6-0-0-0 -1
Tyler Eckford 5-0-0-0 -4
Ludwig Karlsson 5-0-0-0 -1 [ECHL 6-2-2-4 -3]
Darren Kramer 3-0-0-0 -3
Troy Rutkowski [ECHL 10-0-3-3 -7]
Jakub Culek [ECHL 6-2-1-3 -4]

Nathan Lawson 3-1-0 2.52 .923
Andrew Hammond 4-2-0 3.20 .898

The recall of Mark Stone to Ottawa didn’t slow Binghamton’s production at all.  Petersson, Prince, and Cowick‘s numbers took a leap forward from the previous ten games, while Grant‘s took a dive.  Claesson continues to be a dominant plus player and his production continues to improve as well (despite that he doesn’t play on the powerplay).  Puempel and Eckford were at the bottom of the minus pile–the veteran defenseman looks completely done, but given that Blood is also on the roster keeps getting rotated in.  New has been a solid addition, but his fit into the lineup is more of an indictment of a weakness of depth than anything else (certainly Rutkowski is not AHL-ready; Borowiecki‘s numbers are also far off his norm).  Hammond‘s numbers continue to slowly improve, but Lawson is the rock of consistency (Richardson had the option of giving Scott Greenham his first start, but choose to go with Hammond).  With Ottawa playing well there’s less likelihood of call-ups, but assuming there isn’t the default of a Pageau recall (so recently returned), Schneider continues to make his case and the aforementioned Claesson might warrant a reward on the blueline.

With a little over half the season completed it’s worth putting these numbers into context, so here’s the overall player stats thus far (rookies have a * next to their name, players beyond their ELC’s are in blue, and those currently in the NHL are in italics):

Mike Hoffman 38-18-27-45 +5 [NHL 3-0-0-0 -2]
Stephane Da Costa 37-12-25-37 +11 [NHL 4-0-0-0 +1]
Cole Schneider 36-14-18-32 +13
Chris Wideman 38-5-24-29 -5
Andre Petersson 32-15-10-25 +7
*Matt Puempel 40-14-7-21 -10
Fredrik Claesson 40-2-19-21 +27
Shane Prince 34-8-12-20 +9
Jean-Gabriel Pageau 17-6-13-19 +7 [NHL 21-2-0-2 -5]
Mark Stone 19-9-9-18 +2 [NHL 7-1-1-2 -1]
*Cody Ceci 24-2-15-17 +8 [NHL 17-1-4-5 +5]
Jim O’Brien 31-6-10-16 +3
*Buddy Robinson 34-7-7-14 +10 [ECHL 1-0-0-0 -1]
Corey Cowick 37-7-6-13 -8
David Dziurzynski 36-3-8-11 +1
Wacey Hamilton 35-2-8-10 -1
Derek Grant 18-4-4-8 +2 [NHL 20-0-2-2 -3]
Mika Zibanejad 6-2-5-7 +1 [NHL 39-10-9-19 -9]
*Michael Sdao 33-2-5-7 +9
Daniel New 15-1-5-6 +1 [ECHL 22-2-9-11 -12]
Darren Kramer 20-2-1-3 -9
Tyler Eckford 25-0-3-3 +5
Mark Borowiecki 27-1-1-2 -2 [NHL 13-1-0-1 -2]
Ben Blood 30-0-2-2 +3
*Troy Rutkowski 8-1-0-1 -5 [22-0-6-6 -7]
*Ludwig Karlsson 8-0-0-0 -3 [22-6-9-15 -6]
*Jakub Culek 2-0-0-0 -2 [ECHL 25-6-12-18 -1]

Nathan Lawson 22-14-5-0 2.52 .923
*Andrew Hammond 21-11-7-3 3.20 .898

Claesson and Schneider are the most improved players from last year, with the two first-round picks (Ceci and Puempel) the most impressive rookies.  Of the trio of rookies who have spent most of their time in the ECHL only Karlsson looks like he might be getting ready for AHL play.  In terms of disappointment, Eckford‘s complete descent from competent veteran defenseman to third-pairing alternate is shocking, while Cowick‘s drop in offensive production is less surprising.  Hoffman and Da Costa‘s dominance is to be expected (especially the Frenchman’s), albeit I had begun to wonder if Hoffman could really bring the noise at the AHL-level.

What remains to be seen is how Binghamton will do in the playoffs and if they can thrive in the many absences of Lawson.  To my mind they could use a defenseman and (possibly) a veteran back-up, but whether or not the organisation agrees or would make such a move is up in the air (if so, I’d expect it over the next 6 weeks or so).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: January 16th

-Ottawa rounded out its road trip with a 3-0 over hapless Minnesota.  Robin Lehner picked up the shutout in a game where he wasn’t challenged much.

-Jean-Gabriel Pageau was returned to Binghamton after being outplayed by Matt Kassian.  Just kidding.  Pageau‘s second tour of duty in Ottawa was as unremarkable as his first (13-1-0-1 -2, getting less than ten minutes TOI in roughly half those games).  This isn’t to say that the Pageau hype prior to the season is completely unwarranted, but he’s a young player who I never expected to produce and perform at the same pace as the end of last season.  Time down in Bingo won’t hurt him and he should dominate there.

-Randy Lee talked about his promotion to assistant GM and the comment that stood out for me was this:

We have one of the smaller staffs in the NHL, to be very honest

This is on top of the fact that it was even smaller under John Muckler.  Full credit goes to the organisation for being able to do what it does with so few people.

-Travis Yost looks at which NHL teams are improving/sliding via score-adjusted Fenwick.  New Jersey, Tampa, and Boston (in the east) as the best over the last 20 games or so, while Toronto, Buffalo, and the Islanders are the worst.  Ottawa gets the most improved score under that metric (Pittsburgh has the biggest decline).

-Binghamton fell 5-3 to Adirondack last night, despite Corey Cowick‘s three points.

-Jeff Ulmer offers us his second quarter grades for Binghamton and see’s the following players improving: Fredrik Claesson, Chris Wideman, Cole Schneider, Mark Stone, Jim O’Brien, David Dziurzynski, and Tyler Eckford.  On the regression front he has Buddy Robinson, Shane Prince, Corey Cowick, Stephane Da Costa, Ben Blood, Andrew Hammond, and Nathan Lawson.  He has Michael Sdao, Matt Puempel, Andre Petersson, Mike Hoffman, and Wacey Hamilton at the same level, while all other players either have no point of comparison from the first quarter or else not enough sample size to judge.  The only real surprise for me in either of these lists is Prince, who for whatever reason hasn’t been able to put it together this season (sophomore jinx?).  I imagine Blood will find his way to Elmira whenever the team is happy enough with its depth at the AHL level.  Shedding Eckford‘s large salary will have to wait for the off-season it would seem.  I’ll have my own look at Binghamton on Sunday after they hit the 40 game mark.

-Prospect Curtis Lazar‘s stock is on the rise, albeit I’m not sure what impact that really has in the grand scheme of things other than the Sens being unwilling to move him (which itself is no surprise).  For those who want in-depth scouting reports on Lazar go here.

-The call-up of Scott Greenham to Binghamton had me wondering about his numbers so here’s a detailed look.  He’s 6-10-2, 3.08, and .909 (these are better numbers than Devil’s prospect Maxime Clermont, who he shares the net with), with a .900 or better save percentage in 11 of 19 starts.  He’s given up 4+ goals in 7 of those games, but I think GAA is a less important stat given how dependent the number and quality of chances are a result of the team in front of you.  Last year (with Bakersfield) in 36 games Greenham was .900 or better in 20 games (finishing with an overall number that’s almost identical to what he has this year, .908).  Has he improved?  It’s hard to tell.  His ratio is slightly better than last season and in each case he played on awful teams, but the margins are too close to be sure.  It will be interesting to see how he performs with Binghamton.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: January 13th

-Ottawa played two games since my last post, choking away a game to Colorado in overtime (4-3), and then beating Nashville in a shootout (2-1).  The Sens keep picking up points which irrespective of how they play is a good thing (and for those of you who don’t like the three-point games–it keeps the standings close and believe me, having grown up in the previous era, it’s a much better system).

-Travis Yost looks at Ottawa’s playoff chances and he sums it up this way:

The math’s [to make it is] still not good, but what Ottawa’s done in the last month or so has almost certainly given their fan base a reason to believe that they may have an inside track on a playoff berth — something I never would have suggested during those ugly November games.

I was a little more optimistic than Travis early in the season, but I’d almost given up before the Sens began to climb.

-The always engaging Amelia L offers some thoughts and I wanted to comment on two of them: Erik Karlsson‘s physical play (as evidenced in the Colorado game)–I think it’s easy to forget that before he came to Ottawa Karlsson threw big hits, but largely cut that out of his game in the NHL after getting hurt hitting Ryan Kesler in his rookie season.  As a smaller player he has to pick his spots, but I’m not surprised to see it crop up in his game from time to time.  Amelia also asks the pertinent question of whether or not Cody Ceci can keep playing at his current level given the sophomore jinx and how easily players (ala Jared Cowen) can slip early in their careers.  It’s good food for thought.

-My favourite part of Tim Murray’s news conference after he was announced as Buffalo’s new GM was this:

And obviously ownership allows you to do your job. It allows you to spend money when the time is right, but that’s on the ice.

There’s only one interpretation of this: my previous owner (Melnyk) wasn’t allowing the organisation to spend money.

-The shakeup has Varada in a thoughtful mood:

With all the hand-wringing about money, and Melnyk’s propensity for playing with the sentiment of fans to pressure city council, I am not looking forward to a prolonged—years-long, potentially—debate with my city councillor, my mayor, my family, my boss, my girlfriend, my colleagues, James’ dog, etc. about the role of the sports franchise as a public institution and its right (or lack thereof) to public funding. Personally, I tend to fall on the side of “a few tax breaks” rather than “tens or hundreds of millions in public dollars,” but I think the latter is where we’re headed. That’s the precedent, and Melnyk will say “me too” when the time is right. Fair-weather fan Ottawa will slap on the chastity belt, and the debate will go on for-fucking-ever.

I’m with Varada in not wanting to open the public purse for the team, but a cash-strapped Melnyk is certainly going to push for that.  On the plus side, it’s pretty clear that the NHL itself won’t allow his shenanigans to get too crazy (ala threatening to move the team), given the tenacity with which Bettman has shown in keeping franchises where they are no matter what.  I don’t think there’s much public sentiment to fund Eugene’s plans, but the public has little to do with political decisions.

-Speaking of the organisation, an extension for Bryan Murray is all but done.  There’s not much to say about it other than it is a good move for the franchise.

-Binghamton went 2-1 since I last wrote, beating Rochester (3-1) and Hershey (4-2) before losing to Adirondack (4-1) and losing Nathan Lawson to injury (again).  At the end of the stretch Ludwig Karlsson was returned to Elmira (having not produced during his stay), which indicates there are enough healthy forwards in Binghamton to do so.  In the meantime the team has recalled Scott Greenham to back-up Andrew Hammond; they have also summoned Troy Rutkowski after improved (albeit not productive) play in Elmira.

-Speaking of the Jackals, they are in the midst of a tailspin, losing three straight on the weekend and only scoring three goals.  Jakub Culek did not play in the last two games and I may or may not be injured.

-Joy Lindsay writes about Fredrik Claesson and there’s a lot of good material, starting with comments from Luke Richardson:

But he’s a really good kid, he doesn’t get frustrated, he doesn’t get down on himself — even after a mistake. You show him the video, and he listens and he learns. This year, he came in with a little more confidence, and … every shift when I put him on the ice, I can count on him. Because of our younger defence this year, we rely on him more … he’s really taken the opportunity and run with it. Sometimes guys take a little longer and they feel their way in. He’s really made the step and jumped at it and really taken a hold of it in all situations and done really well.

Assistant coach Steve Stirling adds:

Even though he’s only a second-year pro, with the young defence that we have, we’re counting on him to be a veteran. Most nights, he’s playing with Mike Sdao or Benny Blood, and those are two really young kids who are right where Freddy was a year ago. He’s been a mainstay, and it’s helped those two progress, slowly but surely.

Digest that comment a little: two four-year college grads, one of whom (Blood) is in his second pro season, are learning from the younger Claesson.  It’s a great compliment to Freddy, but an interesting one for his partners (especially Blood).  It’s all good news for the Sens and the odds look good that they have a future safe, third-pairing blueliner in the making.

-Mark Volain takes a look at the Eastern Conference in the AHL and remarks upon Mike Hoffman‘s fantastic first half of the season (mostly summarizing).

-D. J. Powers looks at the NCAA scene through December and only comments on one Sens collegian, Ryan Dzingel:

Dzingel is quietly having a career year with the Buckeyes. In December, he posted two goals and six assists in Ohio State’s three games during the month. The Wheaton, IL native has been the driving force behind the Buckeyes offense this season. After finishing with 38 points last season, Dzingel is on pace to top the 40-point plateau this season. He has appeared in all 16 games for Ohio State so far and leads the team with 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists).

No analysis here, just a stats summary, but worth keeping in mind and is the kind of thing Pierre Dorion was referencing when he talked about NCAA prospects being ready for the pro game.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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