Senators News (March 17th)

Ottawa Senators Official NHL Headshots

As Andrew Hammond‘s improbable run continues, it reminds me of Jim Carey‘s with Washington eons ago: a middling NCAA goaltender takes the NHL by storm for a brief time before fading away.  Carey won a Vezina and was a first-team all-star in his first full season (95-96), but proceeded to bomb out afterwards, retiring from the AHL just three years later.  Hammond may be better than that, or he may not be, but when I hear speculation of moving Robin Lehner (who is younger than Hammond–he’s 23, the Hamburglar is 27), I have to shake my head.  Bryan Murray is very much a “what have you done for me lately” manager when it comes to players who aren’t over-the-hill veterans, so there’s a chance we might see a very foolish trade when the season ends.

mika-zibanejad-hockey-headshot-photo

The all-powerful and all-knowing Nichols reports the Sens and Leafs talked about swapping Zibanejad for Kadri in the summer, but the Sens balked at Toronto’s request for additional assets to be included.  I’m not sure how fans would have reacted at the time, but I’m happy Murray didn’t pull the trigger.

Richard McCrae looks at the odds of Ottawa catching Washington (now that Boston seems out of reach) and concludes even that will be difficult.  A more interesting question is whether it would be good for the organisation to make the playoffs–what message would that send to management?  Does Murray realise a large part of the recent success is because useless players like Chris Neil and Chris Phillips aren’t on the ice?  I have my doubts, although it could be argued nothing will cure Murray of his obsession with aging vets, in which case results are actually meaningless–I prefer not to be so pessimistic.

I only occasionally dip my toe into SenShot for anything other than AHL information, which is why I rarely cite them here.  As for why, I’ll use editor Jack Leiper recent post to illustrate it: he writes about Mika Zibanejad‘s season and how it seems to have turned after a rough start…and his analysis doesn’t go much beyond that he’s been more consistent.  Here’s what Nichols (link above) offers as an aside on the same subject:

Fortunately for the Senators, Zibanejad has come into his own after a sluggish start that has mostly been attributed to a reduced role and shitty linemates to start the season

However flippant the remark is, there’s specific, quantifiable analysis (quality of linemates and use on ice).  I get enough vagueness from official Sens outlets, so when I come to the blogosphere I want analysis.

Ottawa Senators Official NHL Headshots

Before I get to my prospect update below, a quick look at those from the ECHL contingent.  Troy Rutkowski has been playing in Binghamton since March, but prior to his recall stood at 54-6-18-24, leading the awful Evansville defensecorps in scoring.  His points-per-game (0.44) are a marked increase over his rookie season in Elmira (0.21), and however middling those numbers are, it still shows some improvement.  His production had started to rebound after a long stretch of inconsistency (December into February, 31-2-7-9), perhaps worn down from the massive number of games played over such a short period.  Chris Driedger was (until his recall today due to Craig Anderson‘s health) the last man standing in Evansville.  His numbers have been awful (8-27-2 3.78 .885), albeit the roster in front of him is even worse (Evansville is 14-39-8, last in the ECHL).  Driedger hasn’t won a game since January and has been woefully inconsistent, but getting his head beat in game after game can’t help his confidence any and as a younger goaltender (20) it’s far too soon to say he’s done.  That being said, I’d rather have Marcus Hogberg in the Sens system.

wikstrand

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red):

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 46-5-15-20
Regular season is over; he finished 14th in scoring by a defenseman; no points in two playoff games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 49-2-3-5
Regular season is over; has not dressed in the playoffs
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 12-11-4 2.30 .917
Regular season is over; finishes 10th in GAA and 8th in save percentage; has not played in the playoffs

A48U8530.jpg

CHL
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 64-31-44-75
Five points in his last three games, moving him up to 18th in overall scoring
Francis Perron
(DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 62-27-47-74
Two points in his last three games, dropping him to 25th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 56-35-29-64
Two points in his last three games; dropping him to 36th in overall scoring
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 46-19-13-32
Has not played since last time
Ben Harpur
(DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 56-5-26-31
Two points in his last three games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 54-5-12-17
Has six points in seven games in the playoffs

Quentin+Shore+OaGRoS-3oopm

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 35-9-14-23
Two points in his last two games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 24-3-12-15
Two points in his last two games
Shane Eiserman
(DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 34-4-11-15
Two points in his last three games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 33-6-4-10
Has not played since last time
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 28-5-4-9
No points in his last game

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 18-3-8-11
His season is over

I have a full Binghamton update in the works as the team approaches the end of their season.  With the Sens still winning we’re unlikely to see other call-ups any time soon (barring injury).  It’s been a tough season in Bingo and I think most of the problem is on the blueline and in goal, but I’ll get into that with that post.

Ludwig Karlsson, moved in the Jason Spezza trade, has bombed out of the Dallas organisation.  He was traded from the ECHL affiliate in Idaho to Missouri (which is St. Louis’ affiliate).  I expect the Swede to sign in Europe at season’s end.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (March 9th)

Ottawa continues to tease fans with a playoff race.  I don’t see them succeeding and think the organisation would draw the wrong conclusion if they did, but it does add some fun to the end of the season.

The Sens have expressed interest in Boston University goaltender Matt O’Connor, who fans may remember attending the 2011 development camp (right after he finished his rookie season with Youngstown in the USHL).  The twenty-three year old O’Connor has posted career numbers in his third year in the NCAA and the pursuit of him is an indictment (at the time) of the goaltending depth the organisation thinks it has.

Speaking of goaltending, as Andrew Hammond finished his career run I’ll be interested to see what the organisation does with him.  An RFA at the end of the season, there’s nothing in Hammond‘s history to suggest his current success is going to continue (as Ary M illustrates); if I were in Murray’s shoes I’d move him at season’s end while his value is at its height.

Nichols re-hashes the obvious in the aftermath of the trade deadline: the Sens were in a box Bryan Murray put them in, stuck with unmovable contracts.  Via the same link it’s clear that Murray has no idea what analytics is, which confirms one of the major reasons why the organisation hangs on to useless players who are perceived as “gritty”.

The always thoughtful Amelia correctly points out that the Sens weren’t the first team to give away Ben Bishop in a bad deal–St. Louis traded him to Ottawa after all (for a second round pick they used to select Tommy Vannelli; currently playing in the WHL).  That may come as little solace to fans, but it’s worth remembering.  For Ottawa, they have Tobias Lindberg left from dealing the big goaltender.

Amelia also mentions the prospective call-up of Buddy Robinson, who other than being 6’5 has no real reason to appear.  I’d much rather see Cole Schneider if a forward is being recalled, but that seems unlikely (in part due to the waiver situation).

Speaking of the deadline, the folks over at The Silver Seven offered their thoughts and there was one point in particular I wanted to echo:

The most surprising move of the day for me was Despres for Lovejoy. Lovejoy is worse, older, and more expensive (though Despres will become more expensive when he becomes an RFA in 2016). If the Penguins truly think they have too many good, young defencemen, why trade for an old defenceman? I can’t help but think that not trading at all would’ve been better than Lovejoy as a return.

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red).  It’s worth pointing out that Ben Harpur has had only 9 points in his last 30 games, so his numbers are inflated by a very hot start.  The Swedish league has just entered its playoffs, while the BCHL is already in the midst of the post-season.

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 46-5-15-20
No points in his last game; he finishes 14th in overall scoring by a defenseman (13th in PPG among players with more than 20 games played)
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 49-2-3-5
No points in his last two games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 12-11-4 2.30 .917
He’s 0-0-2 since last time; he finishes 10th in GAA and 8th in save percentage

CHL
Francis Perron (DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 59-25-47-72
Five points in his last three games, putting him to 23rd in overall scoring
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 61-28-42-70
One point in his last two games, dropping him to 22nd in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 53-34-28-62
Three points in his last three games; up to 34th in overall scoring
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 46-19-13-32
No points in his last game
Ben Harpur
(DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 53-5-24-29
One point in his last three games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 54-5-12-17
Has three points in four games in the playoffs

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 33-9-12-21
No points in his last two games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 22-2-11-13
Has not played since last time
Shane Eiserman
(DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 31-4-9-13
No points in his last two games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 33-6-4-10
No points in his last two games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 27-5-4-9
No points in his last two games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 18-3-8-11
His season is over

I’ll be posting my usual interesting-prospects-in-Europe article at some point, but as a teaser here are some interesting 24 and under players who might attract NHL interest (they are organised by league; for the issues of comparing stats in Europe to production elsewhere, I wrote about it here):

Toni Rajala RW/LW DOB 91 4-101/09 Edm 5’10 SHL 31-14-13-27
The former Oiler prospect has already established himself as a PPG player in the AHL; after a brief stint in the KHL he produced at about the same clip in the SHL; he’s undersized and has been dumped by one organisation already, but given how dysfunctional Edmonton is I’m not sure it’s a true black mark; I suspect he’d be given an opportunity elsewhere, but Rajala may not want to come back to North America to play in the minors so soon

Tim Heed D DOB 91 5-132/10 Ana 6’0 SHL 50-10-27-37
Another former draft pick, he enjoyed a breakout season right after Anaheim’s rights to him expired, finishing second in scoring by a blueliner behind former free agent wunderkind Cory Murphy (but ahead of him in PPG); he’s also tops among the 24 and under crowd (including forwards), so there’s a lot of reasons for teams to approach him

Kristian Nakyva D DOB 90 6’0 SHL 55-10-19-29
Brought over from the Liiga after three strong seasons, he posted similar numbers in the SHL (a better league) and finished fifth in scoring by a defenseman; I’m not sure if his numbers are remarkable enough to be signed, particularly given that he doesn’t have typical NHL size, but it remains a possibility; he’s someone I identified back in 2013

Joel Lassinantti G DOB 93 5’9 SHL 1.88 .928
The diminutive goaltender might still be draft eligible (I get a bit fuzzy about the European rules as they vary from league to league), assuming he’s not eligible he’s 2nd in GAA and save percentage, so the only thing holding him back is his size

Lino Martschini RW DOB 93 5’6 NLA 50-23-24-47
At just 5’6 I’m not sure what it will take to get the opportunity to cross the pond; he’s 1st among 24 and under players and 4th in overall scoring; it took Mats Zuccarello (who is about the same size) leading the SHL in scoring and a successful Olympic experience to get his shot with the Rangers, but even then he left the team for the KHL for part of a season before becoming fully established

Inti Pestoni RW DOB 91 5’8 NLA 30-9-15-24
Passed over in the draft largely due to his size (a common theme), he’s put up good numbers in an injury-shortened season–currently 2nd in PPGs among 24 and under; I suspect his size will keep him off the radar again this year and that he’ll need a bigger season to overcome that

Joonas Donskoi RW/LW DOB 92 4-99/10 Flo 6’0 Liiga 54-17-28-45
The Panthers never signed the Finn who enjoyed a breakout season with Karpat (fifth in overall scoring); the Finnish league is a good league, but not on the level of the Swedish (Eric Perrin leads the Liiga in scoring); the numbers are still significant enough to get noticed and as a former draft pick teams can much more easily assess the risk of signing him

Markus Hannikainen LW DOB 93 6’2 Liiga 55-18-25-43
I think he may still be eligible for the draft (see above), but assuming he’s not eligible, he’s 9th in overall scoring and 2nd in the 24 and under group (behind Donskoi above); his numbers might be getting inflated by teammates Perrin and Jani Tuppurainen, so that’s something for GMs to consider

Charles Bertrand LW/RW DOB 91 6’1 Liiga 55-12-28-40
The Frenchmen is in the midst of a true breakout season with Sport, sitting at 13th in overall scoring and 3rd amongst the 24 and under crowd; not only are these career numbers for him, but he’s also doing it on a talent-deprived team, so he should earn some looks from scouts if nothing else

Eetu Laurikainen G DOB 93 6’0 Liiga1.98 .936
The former Swift Current Bronco sailed through the draft as a WHL backstop, but has had a remarkable season back in Finland where he’s 6th in GAA and 2nd in save percentage; a bit undersized, Finnish goaltenders have a well-deserved reputation for technique that might overcome that objection, so I could see him signed

Yasin Ehliz RW DOB 92 5’10 DEL 48-11-34-45
The German league is not generally a place where free agents are signed, but it does happen occasionally; Ehliz has his size against him, but he’s made good progress in the DEL; he’s 13th in league scoring and 1st among players 24 and under

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (March 2nd)

The Sens only received one call (link) on deadline day and turned down the offer for Erik Condra.  If there’s a clearer sign of how poorly valued their aging vets are, I don’t know what it is, but I suppose no deals is better than bad deals.  There were plenty of bad deals in the league and it was amusing to see the moribund Cory Conacher moved (presumably for Utica’s playoff run).

Another thing the deadline has illustrated is that Bryan Murray was not swayed in his understanding of the team by Andrew Hammond & Co.’s current hot streak.  He made no attempt to augment the group, so clearly he knows that the team needs changes.  Unfortunately, Murray is responsible for many of the problems on the roster, so I’m not sure he’s the man to fix them.

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red).  Last week I posted profiles of Tobias Lindberg and Mikael Wikstrand, so check them out if you missed them.

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 45-5-15-20
Two points in his last three games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 47-2-3-5
One point in his last three games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 12-11-2 2.31 .918
He’s 1-1-0 since last time, with no significant change in his underlying numbers

CHL
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 59-27-42-69
Four points in his last three games, pushing him to 20th in overall scoring
Francis Perron
(DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 56-24-43-67
One point in his last three games, dropping him to 26th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 50-33-26-59
Five points in his last three games; up to 36th in overall scoring
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 45-19-13-32
Four points in his last three games
Ben Harpur
(DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 50-5-23-28
No points in his last three games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 54-5-12-17
No points in his last two games

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 31-9-12-21
One point in his last two games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 22-2-11-13
One point in his last two games
Shane Eiserman
(DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 29-4-9-13
One point in his last two games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 31-6-4-10
No points in his last two games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 25-5-4-9
No points in his last two games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 18-3-8-11
I believe his season is over

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators Prospect Profile: Mikael Wikstrand

wikstrand

Mikael Wikstrand (DL, 6’2, 1993, 7-196/12)
2011-12 Allsvenskan Mora 47-1-2-3 +8 14pim (0.06 ppg) 9th-D pts
2012-13 Allsvenskan Mora 45-11-11-25 +9 35pim (0.55 ppg) 2nd-D pts
2013-14 Allsvenskan Mora 27-4-16-20 +5 14pim (0.74 ppg) 3rd-D pts
SHL Frolunda 19-4-7-11 +1 4pim (0.57 ppg)
2014-15 SHL Frolunda 42-5-13-18 -1 10pim (0.42 ppg) 3rd-D pts (6 games left in the season)

The Sens picked Wikstrand after he was projected to go in the 2012 draft (among the top-30 Europeans according to Central Scouting, while other sources had him as early as the third round).  Because of where scouting agencies slotted him, we have good scouting reports on him along with comments from the organisation at the time.  Tim Murray called him well-rounded, as he does everything well.  Vaclav Burda, the scout most responsible for his selection, emphasized his skating.  Burda and fellow scout Mikko Ruutu also liked that he was able to handle himself in the men’s league, but wanted to see him work on his physicality (virtually a cliché for any European pick).  The International Scouting Service (ISS) assessed most of his skills as good, with his puck skills and hockey sense average:

A good mobile, two-way defender that moves the puck effectively. Vikstrand [Wikstrand] accelerates well in all directions and exudes maturity, already having played over 75 pro level games in Sweden. He stands out most in situations when he has a little bit of extra time and space to make a play, such as the PP- but proves to be capable in 5 on 5 situations as well. He has good upper body strength & battles hard along the boards & can throw the odd big hit here and there.

Future Considerations offered these thoughts on him:

A smart and safe two-way defenseman. Skates well with good speed and quick feet but is not overly dynamic. Has nice vision and makes strong breakout passes. Can get his point shot off quickly and on target. Defends well with an active stick and strong body positioning, closing gaps quickly and blocking off passing lanes. He does many things very well, and is a smart defensive player coupled with decent puck moving skills. However, he’s not extremely physical, and he does not possess much in the way of a high offensive upside. His cool and calm all-around game and the confidence he brings to his blueline are like what you see in a ten year veteran. Might be more ready for pro hockey than many others in this draft out of Sweden, but the upside is certainly not as high as some. He will need to add some more strength over the summer to have a shot at cracking an NHL lineup. NHL POTENTIAL: Bottom pairing two-way defenseman.

The year after he was drafted, Wikstrand was on Sweden’s WJC team and accounted well for himself (6-0-4-4).  This was the same season he got to spend time with Anze Kopitar due to the NHL lockout, and there was some thought that his inflated numbers were because of it.  However, he put up even better numbers the following year, so the offensive ability at that level was clearly his own doing.  At the time, Corey Pronman saw his potential as a top-four defenseman who needed to bulk up and work on his puck skills.

Wikstrand is signed by the Sens, but with a year left on his deal with Frolunda remained in Sweden (his opt-out clause only applied to making the NHL club).  He plays behind Edmonton draft pick Erik Gustafsson and Swedish veteran Elias Falth, but his numbers are respectable (he’s 14th in the league in scoring by a defenseman).  When he was signed, Randy Lee said:

We’re pretty happy about this signing, Mikael Wikstrand is a really solid player. I had a chance to go over and see him this year with Rick Wamsley when he was playing in Mora, he’s a very strong, two-way defenceman, he has a lot of offensive upside and he’s a guy that we challenged to play at a higher level. He changed and went to Frölunda in a higher division which was good for us. He got to play against better players and really showcased himself.

Josh W, citing SHL contacts, mentioned that Wikstrand is tied for the best prospect offensively in the league (with Gustav Forsling), but is a better all around, mistake-free player.  It’s hard to find anything negative about the defender, although his ceiling is difficult to determine.  When drafted he seemed like a safe, punchless, bottom-pairing player; now the upside seems to be top-four with a little offensive talent.  Given the glut of middling defenseman in the organisation, it’s almost a certainty that Wikstrand will play for Binghamton to start next year and it’s in the AHL that we’ll truly see how well his game translates across the pond.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators Prospect Profile: Tobias Lindberg

A48U8530.jpg

Tobias Lindberg (LW/RW, 6’3, 1995, 4-102/13)
2012-13 SuperElit Djurgarden 43-9-13-22 -2 30pim (0.51 ppg) 7th pts
2013-14 SuperElit Djurgarden 38-7-15-22 -3 93pin (0.57 ppg) 6th pts
2014-15 OHL Oshawa 56-26-39-65 +27 10pim (1.16 ppg) 3rd pts (11 games remain in the season)

Drafted by the Sens with the pick they got in the Ben Bishop trade, I’ve seen him listed on both wings, but since he’s playing on the left side with Oshawa I expect that’s how he’ll line up as a pro.  Here are his points by month so far this season: Sept-Oct 14-17, Nov 10-12, Dec 9-14, Jan 15-14, Feb 8-8.  When the Sens drafted the Swede Tim Murray called him a hit or miss pick, but the team’s European scouts liked his potential.  Pierre Dorion said he was a big winger who has speed and skill; a good project.  Vaclav Burda added:

He’s a kid who was not selected or ranked very high — he was pretty low — but we feel pretty good about his potential, like Colin Greening in our organization. He’s a big guy who can skate, he drives the net, he’s not high end intelligent with the puck but he drives the net with speed and strength and we see these tools that down the road he could play on the big team. He has already played a few games for the big Djurgarden team which is the second highest Swedish league — the Allsvenskan, but mostly he played in the junior league. Next year he’ll be playing either with the men’s team or a junior team. He’s not (physically) mature, he’s got lots of room to build up and we believe that big body might be hard to play against some day.

I’m sure some fans will wince at the Greening comparison, but I wouldn’t take it to heart as saying one is the clone of the other.  Burda referenced that Lindberg wasn’t ranked very highly and the only scouting organisation that put him in the draft was Central Scouting (listing him as the 99th best European).  Brendan Ross of McKeen’s adds the following (prior to the start of this season):

Skating at 6-foot-2, the Stockholm native is a powerful winger who shows good physicality. He won’t dangle through defenders but his speed and ability to drive wide and to the net are difficult to contain. Lindberg projects as a complementary forward for the Generals and will be looking to impress the Senators to earn an entry-level contract.

It was my impression that the new CBA gave the Sens three years to decide on Swedes, but putting that aside, after a middling season in Sweden the year after he was drafted the Sens were able to help convince Lindberg to come to the OHL, something Swedes have been reluctant to do.  He had the usual things to say about the transition to playing in North America:

Last year, I probably had five hits and here they want me to have five hits a game, so it’s way tougher with the forecheck and stuff like that. It’s fun. It’s physical and there are battles and you get into the game more here. Coaches in Sweden are a bit softer, so a little bit of a difference there. He’s [D. J. Smith] tough on guys, but also fair, so I really enjoy playing for him.

His success in Oshawa meant he was considered for Sweden’s WJC team, but ultimately he did not make the cut (unlike fellow Sens prospect Andreas Englund).  The Swede’s numbers in the OHL are not only a big improvement over his previous production, but also difficult to find a comparable for.  While he doesn’t spend every minute of his ice time with fifth overall pick (2014) Michael Dal Colle or with fellow 2013-draftee Cole Cassels, their presence on the team certainly helps inflate his numbers.  In terms of other 19-year old Swedes who have posted big numbers in the OHL, there are only three since the 04-05 lockout: Andre Burakovsky (57-41-46-87), Gabriel Landeskog (53-36-30-66), and Rickard Rakell (60-28-34-62).  There’s no question that Lindberg is not in the category of the first two players, but maybe, maybe Rakell is someone to look at (all three were first round picks, by the bye).

First, just a reminder about stats from junior: any good prospect needs to put up points, but gaudy totals do not necessarily mean even AHL success (Tyler Donati is one of my favourite examples of this).  Back to Rakell: a late first round draft pick by Anaheim (2011), he spent three seasons with the Plymouth Whalers where he posted roughly a point-per-game numbers each year.  As a higher pick the expectations are bigger, but four years later he’s become a regular for Anaheim posting up decent numbers.  As we know, the Sens see him as a Greening-type player, so imagine him as a top-9 forward who can chip in 20-30 points.  The latter seems more realistic as his talent ceiling.

I can’t imagine that the Sens won’t sign Lindberg after his performance this season, despite the logjam of forwards in the organisation–there are plenty of moveable parts, so the question is who he displaces or does he become part of a trade himself.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (February 23rd)

Two starts into Andrew Hammond‘s NHL career and he has two wins on the docket–the Mike Brodeur of 2015, holding back the predictions of doom when Robin Lehner was injured.  That aside, the Sens need to lose to make anything of this season, but if there’s one thing Bryan Murray teams do well it’s win when it’s of no benefit to the organisation.

As the team is a seller this year we keep hearing how they won’t move useless parts like Chris Neil and Chris Phillips (both of whom I’d trade for a bag of turnips), while useful players like Erik Condra are awaiting the chop.  There’s nothing smart GMs should want from Ottawa’s scrapheap, but the deadline is where people lose their senses so fans can eagerly await the next Cory Conacher or late round pick we’ll be receiving.

Along with selling off players, the Sens are calling up various prospects and while Chris Wideman and Buddy Robinson (“he’s got size”) are on the docket post-Matt Puempel, I’m sorry we won’t see Cole Schneider.

The lengthy response to Jeffrey Simpson’s article in the blogosphere is…well, I suppose bloggers would rather address someone with a brain than the usual Sens columnists (shoutout to Planet Brennan).  Both The Silver Seven and 6th Sens address it (along with, I assume, others), but I don’t see the point of the fuss.  Simpson doesn’t impact operations at all, except perhaps perception, and I’ve noticed little interest by the organisation in the opinions of their fans (other than, perhaps, Murray’s fondness for players well past their prime).

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red).  Two of the signed players below (Dunn and Harpur) are showing no ability to become NHL players, although you have to be careful about such judgements.  There’s also concern for unsigned players like Gendron in the BCHL or Boyle who is coasting along in tier-2 NCAA.  Fortunately, unsigned players like Lindberg, Perron, and Hogberg are showing promise.

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 42-5-13-18
Two points in his last two games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 44-1-3-4
No points in his last four games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 11-10-2 2.38 .917
Is 3-0-1 since last time, with both underlying numbers improving

CHL
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 56-26-39-65
One point in his last four games, dropping him to 23rd in overall scoring
Francis Perron
(DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 53-23-43-66
No points in his last three games, dropping him to 24th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 47-31-23-54
Five points in his last four games
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 47-5-23-28
One point in his last four games
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 42-17-11-28
Three points in his last five games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 52-5-12-17
No points in his last three games

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 29-9-11-20
One point in his last three games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 20-1-11-12
No points in his last two games
Shane Eiserman
(DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 27-4-8-12
One point in his last two games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 23-5-4-9
No points in his last three games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 29-6-4-9
One point in his last three games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 18-3-8-11
Has not played since last time

And as I do periodically, a look at former Sens:
Roman Wick (2004; 29) NLA 46-16-24-40 – leads his team in scoring and is top-ten in the league
Marcus Sorensen (2010; 22) SHL 45-15-14-29 – after a hot start he’s slowed down considerably, but still leads his team (Djurgarden) in scoring
Andre Petersson (2009; 24) KHL 50-19-18-37 – ranks second in HC Sochi’s scoring
Mat Robinson (FA 2009; 28) KHL 31-10-12-22 – remarkable numbers, tops among defensemen on his team

As a personal aside, how does a paid site like WordPress suck more than a free site like Blogspot?  It boggles the mind (at the moment the entire blog appears to me in Polish for no reason whatsoever).  I’ve also found it bemusing that Twitter followers don’t (apparently) read the site–the bulk of my Twitter folk are hockey fans, but virtually no one comes to the site from Twitter.  I embrace your empty enthusiasm!

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News (February 14th)

Sens fans love prospects, so what better day for an update?  Before I get there we have some Sens news along with a reminder that the B-Sens are in town tomorrow, so you should all go check them out.

Travis Yost writes about draft odds, but I’m a bit dubious about the relevance of the numbers from 2000-04 (given that teams put so much more emphasis on scouting subsequently).  A day after Travis’ article dropped, B_T looked at the draft lottery odds now that the NHL has changed them.

Nichols continues to tease fans with the idea that Chris Neil could be traded–it’s not his fault, given that Neil‘s name is being floated, but I don’t see it happening.

Speaking of trades, Sheer Craziness has a Corsi hard-on for Erik Condra and hopes the Sens keep him (he’s a UFA at the end of the year).  I like Condra well enough, but fourth-line forwards are not something Ottawa needs to hang onto at this stage.  A Cup caliber team can contemplate the right chemistry needed on the fourth line, but a rebuilding team needs slots open for developing players.

As for spare parts, Ary M (aka Arium…or not) looks at the plethora of depth blueliners and believes both Eric Gryba and Jared Cowen should go (Mark Borowiecki would also be included, but Ary believes the organisation wouldn’t part with him and I agree).

Evansville was only able to dress 13 skaters last night (losing 6-1).  I’m not sure how it happened–a mix of call-ups and injuries presumably, but it’s a strange thing to see.

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red)

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 40-5-11-16
Two points in his last three games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 40-1-3-4
No points in his last two games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 8-10-1 2.55 .908
Is 0-1-0 since last time, with no meaningful changes in his underlying numbers

CHL
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 52-26-38-64
Seven points in his last four games, moving up to 16th in overall scoring
Francis Perron
(DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 50-23-43-63
Two points in his last four games, dropping to 19th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 43-27-22-49
Six points in his last five games
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 43-5-22-27
Two points in his last five games
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 37-15-10-25
No points in his last game
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 49-5-12-17
One point in his last five games

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 26-9-10-19
One point in his last two games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 18-1-11-12
Five points in his last three games
Shane Eiserman
(DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 25-3-8-11
One point in his last three games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 20-5-4-9
No points in his last three games
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 26-5-4-9
Four points in his last three games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 18-3-8-11
No points in his last two games

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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