Reviewing Hockey Prospect’s 2015 NHL Draft Guide

HP

The most accurate draft guide for the past two years (for previous reviews go here, here and here).  Like Future Considerations (but unlike Red Line Report or ISS), Hockey Prospect‘s is a guide made for fans.  Here is their accuracy since I started tracking it (compared to RLR, ISS, and FC, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2014: 71% (1st), 2013: 69% (1st), 2012: 72% (3rd), and 2011: 47% (3rd).   I used to include their top-30 list in my preview, but given that the information is publicly available everywhere (eg here), it’s pointless to do so and I’ve omitted it.

The guide provides not just scouting assessments for all 211-players listed, but reports for many prospects not included in their overall rankings (187 by my count, and given that, they have more scouting reports and players listed than any other guide).  One quirk is that the players are listed alphabetically rather than by ranking–it’s not horrible, but it would be more convenient if they followed the conventional format.  Another unique aspect of the guide is that it includes actual scouting reports from games; I don’t see much value in that, but it might be interesting for draft fans who want insight on how the scouts for the publication do their work.

There’s no organisational assessments or mock draft, which isn’t the biggest of deals other than it’s something offered everywhere else.  At a reasonable price ($39) it’s cheaper than the “pro” guides, but costs more than FC (the only other fan guide to cover the entire draft).  One final quibble: HP is published later than any other guide and I’m uncertain why that is (I presume the reason isn’t arbitrary [the lovely folks at HP tell me it’s so they can attend the combine before publishing]).  For those who don’t pay attention to these things, Central Scouting (CS) puts out their final rankings first, with ISS and FC following not long after, then RLR, and finally HP.  It’s an oddity, but all-in-all not the biggest of deals.

For fans who want the most scouting reports for the draft, HP is the place to go; for those who want the best deal, it ranks second behind FC.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing Future Consideration’s 2015 NHL Draft Guide

FC

The guide I consider the best value for draft fans (for previous reviews go herehere and here).  Unlike Red Line Report or ISS, Future Considerations‘ is a guide made for fans.  In terms of their accuracy over the last four years (compared to Red Line Report, ISS, and Hockey Prospects, all of whom also predict the entire draft): 2014: 69% (2nd), 2013: 68% (2nd), 2012: 71% (3rd), and 2011: 44% (4th).  I used to include their top-30 list in my preview, but given that the information is publicly available anywhere (eg here), it’s pointless so I’ve omitted it.

FC includes their criteria for assessment (ie, what they are looking for when they assess a prospect), with scouting reports on all 211 listed players.  They also list an assortment of “sleepers” picks, who are all included in their list (so less players outside the bounds of who you expect to be picked, and more players who are later picks who could turn out to be very good).

In the guide’s mock draft (which actually goes two rounds deep) they have Ottawa selecting Swedish defenseman Oliver Kylington with their first-round pick; the two second-rounders are thought to be goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood and center Nicolas Roy.  The belief is that the Sens organisation needs: “depth at all forward positions, a skilled defender or two and a blue chipper in the crease.”  I’d take that assessment with a grain of salt, other than the comments about their defense.  Given Ottawa’s investment into Matt O’Connor, along with two goaltending prospects behind him, I’d be very surprised if they picked a goaltender in this draft.

There’s no further organisational assessments provided, but at the reasonable cost of $19.99 USD it’s the least expensive of the comprehensive guides and well worth buying.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Why Trading Robin Lehner Is a Bad Idea

We know for a fact that the organisation is going to trade one of Robin Lehner or Craig Anderson, with virtually all the speculation focussing on the young Swedish goaltender.  The reasons for Lehner to be the target is he’s much more marketable–he’s cheap, young (23), and accomplished (see below).  While Anderson has better numbers (and NHL track record), he’s older (34), injury-prone, and expensive.  From an organisational standpoint, if you have to move a goaltender, you’ll get more for Lehner, so why do I think this is a bad idea?

A starting goaltender, especially a good or elite one, has more impact on team performance than any other player.  Sens fans don’t have to be convinced of this as Ottawa’s best seasons since the 2007 Cup run have been founded off remarkable (sometimes record-setting) performances by goaltenders.  While it’s possible for a team to win a Cup without an elite goaltender (Chris Osgood always comes to mind), it’s rare and requires an elite team in front of him to do so, so in general it’s a requirement for any team to have an elite goaltender to win it all.

Is Lehner an elite (or good) starting goaltender?  The truth is we don’t know yet.  He’s played in 81 NHL games and never more than 36 in a single season–it’s simply not enough evidence for what he can or can’t do.  He’s also extremely young for a goaltender–it’s a cliché that ‘tenders develop later, but it’s absolutely true (see the link).  Lehner‘s pedigree is very good–he was considered the second best goalie in his draft year (2009), and won a Calder Cup as a teenager (2011), so why have the Sens thrown all their eggs into the Matt O’Connor basket?  (Anyone who thinks they are depending on Hammond needs to read Pierre Dorion‘s comments on him and look at his record outside the NHL.)

My guess is that Lehner‘s declining save percentage and his perceived ‘failure’ to grab the reins the few times he’s been given them have soured Murray on him.  While the GM has infinite patience for floundering veterans long past their prime, he expects young players to be excellent immediately (thus they waived Mike Hoffman before the season started and tried to trade away Patrick Wiercioch before truly giving him an opportunity–oh, and how has trading Jakob Silverberg worked out for them?).  It seems like Murray is tired of waiting and his staff likes O’Connor well enough to move on (the undrafted NCAA player participated in their development camp back in 2011).  Why, beyond what I’ve mentioned here, do I think trading him will fail?

If, as I expect, Lehner is a good or elite goaltender, it’s not possible for the Sens to get value for him.  The asking price is a top-six forward or top-four defenseman, so let’s make it clear the kind of player this organisation thinks that would be: Chris Phillips was a top-four blueliner for half this season (only injury and a coaching change altered that); they thought Bobby Butler was a top-six forward (as they did with Cory Conacher when they traded Ben Bishop for him).  Let’s say the pro scouts do a better job this time and we get a legitimate player in that category–perhaps a Benoit Pouliot, Teddy Purcell, or a Jeff Petry–are any of them really worth a starting goaltender?  Pick any half-decent starter, Jimmy Howard for example, or pick an elite ‘tender like Tuukka Rask (let’s never forget Toronto gave up on him early for a flash-in-the-pan)–what’s a couple of seasons out of Pouliot for one of those players long-term?  It’s a joke when you think about it.

When the trade happens Sens fans are going to have to pray long and hard that O’Connor really is the real deal, because we’ve seen highly touted NCAA stars crash and burn (the aforementioned Butler and Stephane Da Costa to name just two).  Other than Marcus Hogberg (assuming he’s signed) there’s nothing in the pipeline behind O’Connor if he fails, which means Anderson‘s wonky health and Hammond‘s tiny sample size is all that stands between an awful 2015-16.  Food for thought going into next season, although ultimately the trade will have to be judged in the long-term.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (June 3rd)

BryanMurray_1986_medium

It has been a couple of weeks since my last post, enough time for the slow trickle of Sens news to accumulate.  Among the various organisational bits and pieces has come Bryan Murray’s announcement that this upcoming season will be his last.  It will be interesting to see how he wants it to go.  Does he push hard and go crazy aiming for an unexpected playoff run, or does he attempt to grow and build the organisation for it to be good in the long-term?  Time will tell.  He’s certainly in a position to make unpopular moves, although the fear has to be what kind of unpopular moves he could make.

lehner

Amongst a lot of bitterness Nichols notes that Murray has indicated he’ll try to package a bad contract with whatever goaltender he moves.  The notion makes it even more likely that Robin Lehner is the goalie to be moved, as it’s unlikely that the aging and more expensive Craig Anderson could have a Colin Greening attached to him.  I’m not sure it’s worth beating a dead horse over how badly trading Lehner could turn out, so I’ll just say I’m not a fan of the move if that’s what happens.

Ottawa Senators Official NHL Headshots

I was happy to hear Pierre Dorion acknowledge that Andrew Hammond could implode (comparing him to Steve Penny).  You’d think the organisation would be a bit more cautious with the term of his contract if that’s a possibility they acknowledge; if Hammond implodes next season he’s going to be impossible to trade with two more years on his contract.

2015_NHL_Draft

Speaking of Dorion, he seems confident that the team will get a top-six forward or top-four defenseman with the 18th overall pick.  It’s entirely possible, although that’s the stage of the first-round where prospects get dicey (in terms of recent draft numbers, the top-ten are 89.7% reliable, whereas the rest of the first round is at 35%).

Binghamton_Senators_svg

Binghamton signed a bunch of spare parts recently: failed Atlanta draft pick Daultan Leveille (who was dithering around in France), Guilaume Lepine (pressed into service from Evansville this past season–much like Daniel New the past three seasons), Matthew Zay (who played a few games this past season after leaving Mercyhurst in the NCAA), and Alex Wideman (Chris‘ brother).  All of these players signed AHL contracts, so barring injuries or a major turnover in Binghamton’s roster, they’re likely headed to Evansville.  Regardless, here’s a snapshot of each:

Daultan Leveille (1-29/08 Atlanta; C, 6’0, DOB 90)
2013-14 Evansville (ECHL) 66-22-25-47
2014-15 Rouen (France) 26-9-8-17
Drafting a player like this is one of the many reasons Atlanta GM Don Waddell was fired (his draft status is enough to get Jeff Ulmer excited about him); while it’s not unusual for first-round picks to fail to become NHL players, it’s almost unheard of for them to fail to become AHL players.  The fact that Leveille is coming off a bad season in France makes me think there’s some personal connection with the Sens organisation to give him a break to return to Evansville (the place he’s had the most success in his professional career).

Guillaume Lepine (undrafted; D, 6’4, DOB 87)
2013-14 Evansvile (ECHL) 48-2-11-13
2014-15 Evansville (ECHL) 35-0-12-12, Binghamton (AHL) 38-1-3-4
An unremarkable blueliner who came out of the QMJHL, he’s bounced between the ECHL, the EIHL (England), and now had his longest look in the AHL this past season.  He has no offensive tools at any level, so all he can provide is minimal minutes of safe, physical play–something useful for the ECHL, but I hope he’s not a regular in Binghamton again.

Matthew Zay (undrafted; F, 6’1, DOB 91)
2013-14 Mercyhurst (NCAA) 35-17-26-43
2014-15 Mercyhurst (NCAA) 39-12-20-32
Played for the Pembroke Lumber Kings (10-11) before going to the NCAA; he put up consistent numbers in college, although looking at how some of his teammates have performed in the minors he looks to be an ECHL talent.

Alex Wideman (undrafted; LW, 5’8, DOB 91)
2013-14 Miami (NCAA) 36-7-9-16
2014-15 Miami (NCAA) 39-7-11-18
Signed perhaps as a favour to his more talented older brother, Alex‘s college numbers are not impressive and I expect he’ll need to make his mark in Evansville if he’s going to see ice time in Binghamton.

These players are literally the flotsam and jetsam of the minor leagues, but perhaps they can raise some excitement in Evansville if (as hoped) that’s where they will be plying their trade.

memorial cup

Tobias Lindberg, the last Sens prospect who was still in action, won the Memorial Cup.  The unsigned Swede finished tied for third in team scoring during Oshawa’s OHL run (behind Cole Cassels and Michael Dal Colle), but was tied for first with the latter during the Memorial Cup itself.  His performance this year was enough to wake up the moribund (and star to the blogosphere) Corey Pronman to the fact that he’s a decent prospect.  I’d give Corey a Taeja-clap, but none of you would get the reference, so moving on.

antti neimi cup

A final note: as regular readers know, I like to keep my eye on undrafted players who sign NHL contracts, so here’s those thus far who were not from my list from April.  From Europe: Dean Kukan (Columbus), Sergei Kalinin (NJ), Matthias Plachta (Arizona), Joonas Kemppainen (Boston), Yvgeni Medvedev (Philadelphia), Jakub Nakladal (Calgary), Christian Marti (Philadelphia); from the NCAA: Noel Acciari (Boston), Evan Rodrigues (Buffalo).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (May 20th)

It’s desperate times for news in hockey land so things like a potential new assistant coach and predictions are all the blogosphere has to talk about.  It’s been awhile since I posted however, so there are a few things to cover from earlier in the month.

matt o'connor

The Sens signed Matt O’Connor to an ELC, having already promised him they will move a goaltender to make room for him.  It’s an odd way to set up a trade, as now other GMs know Murray is under the gun to move someone.  While I’ve advocated moving Andrew Hammond (something echoed by Nichols at the 6th Sens), it seems like the organisation is more likely to move Robin Lehner (I mean, why sign a guy his age O’Connor as the goaltender of the future unless you are going to move the other guy who was anointed as that already?).  By himself, I don’t think there’s a lot of value to be had for Lehner as he’s not already established as a #1 goaltender (think of the Ben Bishop trade, albeit Lehner is under contract and the former was not).  How many assets do they want to move for O’Connor?  There are red flags all over this move (which seems unnecessary in the first place as goaltending has not been Ottawa’s problem), but Murray has an itchy trigger finger with younger players (he was going to move Patrick Wiercioch because he wasn’t tough in the corners), so my only hope is that it’s not a complete disaster.  Elliotte Friedman, insider that he is, has no clue what the Sens are planning (other than not speculating about Hammond–perhaps the desire to keep him is due to cost–he was just re-signed).  Trevor Shackles worries about Murray’s NCAA free agent track record (making a few errors as he goes), but it’s worth keeping in mind how hit and miss such players are.  I still don’t understand why the organisation doesn’t sign prospect Marcus Hogberg, incidentally.

wikstrand

Speaking of Sens prospects, Mikael Wikstrand signed a deal with Frolunda not long ago, but his agent recently implied he may be coming to North America anyway.  If that’s the case he must have an opt-out with the team, but I have to wonder if it’s the same as last year where he either makes the NHL roster or he goes back to Sweden.

corey pronman

Speaking of draft picks, one of these days I’m going to have to find out why Sens bloggers have all drank the Corey Pronman Koolaid–based on what, exactly?  No one ever says, so perhaps its mere accessibility (if ESPN pays him to do it, he must do it well, and certainly almost no one checks his results–although I have, and let’s not forget he liked Ben Blood).  Granted, nkb from The Silver Seven (linked above) doesn’t seem that familiar with prospects, so that’s worth keeping in mind.

lindberg

Tobias Lindberg (still unsigned) and the Oshawa Generals won the OHL title; Vincent Dunn‘s Rimouski team won in the QMJHL, but the prospect was let go by the team prior to the playoffs after repeated suspensions, so I have to wonder what the Sens have saddled themselves with.

Close-up of a fortune teller looking into a crystal ball --- Image by © SuperStock/Corbis

More players from my list have been signed, as the Oilers picked up Finnish goaltender Eetu Laurikainen and San Jose signed Joonas Donskoi (the former Panther draft pick).  Another player, Andreas Martinsen, was on my list back in 2012 and has been signed by Colorado (out of the DEL, which is quite unusual).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (May 5th)

chris-lee-and-brad-watson

It has been a month or so since I last posted a news update.  In the interim the Sens finished their remarkable run to make the playoffs (leaving a little egg on the face of a snarky Bob McKenzie from a few days before the end of the season), before falling 4-2 to the Habs in the first round.  The accolades came pouring down before the season’s end (and after), and it’s a season that has to be viewed as a success (I didn’t see the Sens as a playoff team even before the season started).  Clearly Dave Cameron benefitted from injuries to useless veterans, along with the improbable run of Andrew Hammond.  Has the organisation finally figured out that they are saddled with useless players?  There are small signs the message is finally getting through.  As Nichols says:

Pundits will be quick to point out how Ottawa’s success cannot be sustained and that eventually they’ll regress. The pundits are right, but no one in Ottawa really cares.

As Luke Peristy says:

By far the weirdest thing about this whole “improbable run to make the playoffs” thing is the knowledge that we’ve already seen the most absurd thing the Senators are going to do this year.

Going back to does the organisation get it question, caution has to be exercised–Dave Cameron dumping Mike Hoffman onto the fourth line is a worrying sign.  This is also the same brain trust that tried to sign David Clarkson, give Jared Cowen an enormous seven-year deal, signed David Legwand, and so on and so forth.  Bryan Murray has an addiction to aging veterans and “tough guys” that’s clogging his internal budget.

Prior to the playoffs, Scott Cullen offered his thoughts on potential edges in the series via shooting percentage and found that Ottawa has a slight one over Montreal, which as determinants go did not amount to much in the series itself.

matt o'connor

Nichols notes that the Sens promised NCAA free agent Matt O’Connor that if he signed with them they would move a goaltender.  Nichols wonders if the space promised would be in the NHL or AHL, but I think it’s safe to say it would be the latter (and despite comments from his agent I take that posturing to get more teams to bid for his services).  I still don’t think any team can offer O’Connor as clear an opportunity as Edmonton and that’s where I imagine he’ll sign (especially with Peter Chiarelli as the new GM).  It’s still concerning that the Sens are apparently prepared to move Robin Lehner (or Craig Anderson) to make room for an unproven NCAA goaltender and (presumably) Andrew Hammond (although I’m less certain of that).  As I’ve said before, I’d rather they move Hammond and stick with the current tandem.

Speaking of roster decisions, the Sens have apparently pre-emptively loaned Mikael Wikstrand back to Sweden for next season.  This is truly bizarre, as it would burn the second year of his ELC (the first already went up in smoke this season).  I’d like to think he has an opt-out in his contract, but without further details I can’t say.  Given how weak Binghamton’s blueline was this past season, I have no idea why they wouldn’t bring him over.

Prospects

miles gendron

Nearly all the Sens prospects have wrapped up their seasons, but Tobias Lindberg and Vincent Dunn are still playing (Miles Gendron won the BCHL championship).

Three players from my free agent list have already been signed: Columbus inked Markus Hannikainen, Nashville signed Kristian Nakyva, and Artemi Panarin signed with Chicago.

One major chestnuts in the fires of traditional hockey commentators is the importance of faceoffs.  You need a good faceoff guy, right?  So the analytics guys at TSN took a look at numbers and it turns out faceoffs don’t actually mean much in terms of generating goals (the best number they could find over the last eight years was Patrice Bergeron whose totals equal four goals throughout the entire season–no one else was even close to that).  Presumably on the defensive side this also means that losing faceoffs has an almost meaningless impact as well when it comes to goals against.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Binghamton Senators: Year in Review

The long season for the Binghamton Senators has ended at last.  It’s a lost season in terms of team performance, where despite leading the conference in GF (242), they finished 11th (34-34-8), hampered by their awful GA (258, worst in the conference).  In comparison to last year the BSens scored 34 less goals and allowed 26 more.  Below I’ve graded each player specifically for their play in the AHL (for last year’s examination go here); acronym note: ppg=points-per-game and DOB=dater of birth; I put RFA’s in green and UFA’s in red.  Grade rationale is simple: A – above expectations, B – met expectations, C – didn’t grow, but didn’t decline, D – below expectations, F – awful.  I’ve been critical of grading systems in general, but that’s when they aren’t attached to specific meanings.  I’ve left Pageau out of the following as he spent more time with Ottawa this season; I also cut out the ECHL call-ups that aren’t Sens prospects.

Shane Prince RFA (2-61/11) DOB 92 72-28-37-65 0.9 ppg  [NHL 2-0-1-1] Grade A
The final year of his ELC, Prince enjoyed a career year (a 17 point improvement over last season and he finished 6th in overall scoring in the AHL).  There’s nothing left to prove for him at this level and he’s certainly an upgrade over some of the dead weight on Ottawa’s roster

Chris Wideman UFA* (4-100/09) DOB 91 75-19-42-61 0.81ppg Grade A
The Eddie Shore winning defenseman missed out on an NHL debut due to the glut of middling one-way contracts clogging up the arteries of Ottawa’s blueline; it’s a 10 point improvement over last year and he lead the AHL in scoring by a defenseman.  If it weren’t for his size I think he’d be a slamdunk to bump some of Ottawa’s current blueline out
* as of July 1st

Cole Schneider RFA (FA 2012) DOB 90 66-29-29-58 0.84ppg Grade B
A slight statistical improvement for him (4 more points than last year), notably he scored 9 more goals and shot the puck more (30 more attempts than last season).  He doesn’t get the hype of the high draft picks, but he remains a solid NHL prospect who deserves a shot somewhere (even if it’s not with Ottawa)

Carter Camper UFA (FA 2014) DOB 88 75-15-37-52 0.69ppg Grade D
Was awful to start the season, but when Binghamton had no chance to make the playoffs he suddenly caught fire; while his actual point total isn’t off the norm, his points-per-game are his lowest since he turned pro

Derek Grant UFA (4-119/08) DOB 90 73-21-17-38 0.52ppg Grade B
Set career highs in goals, points, and points-per-game while playing a checking role; I’m not sure what his NHL upside is (part-time fourth-liner or full-time player?), but there’s not much left for him to prove in the AHL

Aaron Johnson UFA (3-85/01 Clb) DOB 83 73-6-29-35 0.48ppg Grade C
Didn’t make the blueline any better, but put up his usual numbers

Ryan Dzingel 15/16 (7-204/11) DOB 92 66-17-17-34 0.52ppg Grade B
While a work in progress defensively, given how he was used in the lineup these are good numbers for the rookie

Buddy Robinson 15/16 (FA 2013) DOB 91 75-12-22-34 0.45ppg Grade C
Despite flashes here and there, this season was one of treading water for the big winger

Alex Grant UFA (4-118/07 Pit) DOB 89 58-6-27-33 0.57ppg Grade D
He struggled to stay healthy and while his offensive output was fine, defensively he was a mess

Matt Puempel 15/16 (1-24/11) DOB 93 51-12-20-32 0.63ppg [NHL 13-2-1-3] Grade D
Tread water in terms of his numbers; got a courtesy call-up to Ottawa when things were disastrous for the Sens and then hung on until injured

Patrick Mullen UFA DOB 86 54-5-24-29 0.54ppg Grade D
Much like Alex Grant above, his offensive production was fine, but he struggled to stay healthy and did nothing to solidify a struggling blueline defensively

Max McCormick 15/16 (6-171/11) DOB 92 62-10-10-20 0.32ppg Grade B
Slotted into a grinding role, he fought too much (11 times), but otherwise he had an excellent rookie season with signs of growth for next year

Fredrik Claesson RFA (5-126/11) DOB 92 76-4-15-19 0.25ppg Grade C
A tough season for the player coming off such a great year; his numbers dropped, but that’s largely because of the glut of veteran players eating up offensive opportunities; I take the season as a blip and he’ll be fine next year

Alex Guptill 15/16 (3-77/10 Dal) DOB 92 61-9-9-18 0.30ppg Grade F
Discarded by Dallas in the Jason Spezza trade, he was awful this season

Darren Kramer RFA (6-156/11) DOB 91 70-5-12-17 0.24ppg Grade C
Was dressed far more often than he should have been, but that’s not his fault; what can you expect from a player with his limitations?

Garrett Thompson RFA (FA 2014) DOB 90 65-6-8-14 0.22ppg Grade F
An awful free agent signing who showed no signs of potential (why they kept him in Bingo all year is beyond me)

Brad Mills UFA (FA 2014) DOB 83 34-4-10-14 0.41ppg Grade F
I have no idea why the Sens decided to sign the veteran to an AHL contract after he was suspended for PEDs, nor why they insisted on giving him ice time over actual prospects

David Dziurzynski 15/16 (FA 2010) DOB 89 39-4-10-14 0.36ppg Grade C
Missed more than half the season, but when he played he was his usual, dependable self

Daniel New UFA DOB 89 33-2-7-9 0.27ppg Grade D
Signed to be a call-up from the ECHL, injury kept him up all year where increased exposure showed his shortcomings as an AHL-regular

Troy Rutkowski 15/16 (5-137/10) DOB 92 15-2-2-4 0.27ppg [ECHL 54-6-18-24] Grade F
While his numbers improved in the ECHL, he still hasn’t established himself as an AHL-regular and as a drafted prospect that’s failure

Michael Sdao 15/16 (7-191/09) DOB 89 33-2-2-4 0.12ppg Grade D
I can’t call this season a failure given how little he played; it’s worth keeping in mind how many veterans and higher end prospects he has to play behind, however–you don’t put up good numbers if you play on the third pairing without powerplay time

Scott Greenham UFA DOB 87 15-11-2 2.77 .916 [ECHL 1-4-2 3.50 .903] Grade B
Signed to start in the ECHL, he wound up being Binghamton’s most consistent goaltender this season

Andrew Hammond UFA (FA 2013) DOB 88 7-13-2 3.51 .898 [NHL 20-1-5 1.79 .941] Grade F
His grade is for Binghamton only; he was inexcusably bad in the AHL, especially given what he’s shown in Ottawa

Peter Mannino UFA DOB 84 6-10-4 3.99 .891 Grade F
I have no idea why the coaching staff kept starting him; he was awful; in hindsight they should have simply brought Driedger up rather than signing him

Chris Driedger 16/17 (3-76/12) DOB 94 6-0-0 2.55 .923 [ECHL 8-27-4 3.78 .885] Grade D
He was fine when playing for the BSens, but was awful in Evansville (admittedly for a bad team, but other goaltenders there put up better numbers)

Scanning through the performances the most alarming issues are organisational choices (the players signed), with a minor nod to bizarre coaching choices.  Clearly the major issue was on the blueline and in goal.  Ultimately Greenham (and, perhaps, Driedger) offered a certain amount of stability, but the blueline never really improved despite being loaded with veteran players.  While UFAs allow the team to change both ends of the equation drastically, the apparent decision to let Mikael Wikstrand spend yet another year in Sweden while under contract boggles the mind.

It’s difficult to know where the organisation will be next season–will they finally stop signing useless veterans?  And which prospects will they bring in?  As it stands it’s a mostly underwhelming group composed of Vincent Dunn, Ben Harpur, and Nick Paul.  The former two look like marginal players while the most exciting signed prospect (Wikstrand) doesn’t seem to be in the cards for next season.  There are still players who could be signed, like Tobias Lindberg or Marcus Hogberg, but it remains to be seen.  As it stands here are the players on the roster for next season and some guesses on who will join them:

Forwards (8): Ryan Dzingel, Buddy Robinson, Matt Puempel, Max McCormick, Alex Guptill, David Dziurzynski, Vincent Dunn, Nick Paul
Defense (4): Fredrik Claesson, Troy Rutkowski, Michael Sdao, Ben Harpur
Goaltenders (1): Chris Driedger

I think Shane Prince, Cole Schneider, Derek Grant, and Chris Wideman will be retained.  I don’t think they’ll win the Mike O’Connor sweepstakes in goal, which will push them to sign Hogberg.  I see no reason for them not to sign Lindberg, but this still leaves them short on the blueline and I’m not sure how they’ll address that.

Another question is: will Luke Richardson still be coaching the team?  I’m not so certain.  A better question is would the team be better without him?  Thus far I’d have to say yes, so long as a competent coach replaces him.  Regardless, we can hope next year will be a banner one for the BSens.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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