Analysis and Predictions for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft

The 2018 NHL draft is almost here so it’s time to put on my prediction hat and take a look at who will be selected. What follows is a long preamble, so for those simply interested in the list just scroll down. It’s worth noting that I am not a scout, simply someone who enjoys the draft.

Before we get into my list I’ll explain my methodology. With the advent of the salary cap in the NHL (2005) it became paramount for all organisations to invest in their scouting operations and draft well.Teams could no longer simply buy their way out of trouble or plug holes with expensive free agents.That change has helped drive the cottage industry that is draft prediction. Sources covering the draft are not created equal, however, and few of those who provide their opinions will reflect on their subsequent accuracy. My purpose is to collate the best sources and provide insight into who will be selected (this is not unlike Bob McKenzie’s list, but my focus is the entire draft).

This is my ninth year predicting the draft (beginning with the now defunct Hockey Herald back in 2010). That year I picked 72% of the entire class which, as it happens, is very good. When I talk about successful predictions, I don’t mean player X was picked in X round at X position (ie, John Smith was #43 as predicted)–that kind of precision simply isn’t practical (it’s never much higher than 25% and when you subtract the first round it bottoms out completely). These numbers and percentages reflect which players were selected in the draft, period. Here are the numbers from 2011 onwards (in brackets are the total number of players; until 2017 ISS listed 220 players as being selected in the draft, then only listed 200 that year, and gone back to 220 this year, so they are divided by that number or the total draft number, whichever is higher)):
Eye on the Sens (EOTS): 70.9 (149), 75.8 (160), 69.2 (146), 70.9 (149), 78.5 (165), 72.5 (153), 68.2 (148)=72.9 (153)
Hockey Prospects (HP): 74.2 (156), 72 (152), 69.2 (146), 70.9 (149), 75.8 (160), 74.8 (154), 70.9 (154)=72.5 (153)
Future Considerations (FC): 73.8 (155), 71.1 (150), 68.7 (145), 69 (145), 69.2 (146), 70.1 (148), 61.3 (133)=69.0 (146)
Red Line Report (RLR): 73.8 (155), 73.9 (156), 67.7 (143), 64.7 (136), 73 (154), 66.8 (141), 63.1 (137)=69.0 (146)
International Scouting Service (ISS): 68.1 (150), 66.3 (146), 62.7 (138), 60 (132), 68.6 (151), 63.6 (140), 66.5 (131)=65.1 (141)

The differences aren’t particularly large (except for ISS), but they exist and remain consistent so there are meaningful differences between them. My ranking methodology goes as follows: I take the sum of the sources and produce an aggregate number (for example, player X is ranked 15, 24, and 32, those numbers are then averaged to create the aggregate number, eg 23.66). This gives me something I can use for comparison and that creates my initial list. I then engage in comparative analysis—for instance, if player X has a higher aggregate score, but player Y wins the head-to-head comparison, the latter is given the higher position (a head-to-head comparison works this way: 11, 30, 31, 38 loses to 12, 13, 16, 69, because the latter’s number is sunk by one bad score). I also put preference on those players picked by more sources (so a player picked by all or three guides is given preference over one picked by just one or two).

I don’t have the raw list vs the draft for every year, but I’m ahead in those I have (+9 currently; the list had 148 (2011), 157 (12), 150 (14), 162 (15), 153 (16). and 145 (17)–my 2013 file has, alas, vanished into the aether). It’s worth noting that there is a big difference between trying to assess who is the best player versus who will be drafted–my interest here is in figuring out who will be taken given the available data–the percentages above aren’t critiques of the guides (that’s a separate proposition), instead it simply shows how accurately they reflect the choices made by NHL teams.

Determining my Sources of Data

A wide variety of media and bloggers produce draft predictions (especially for the first round), but not all are created equal. My preference is for guides covering the entire draft (as that’s my purpose here), but otherwise it’s simply based on results. For that purpose I use the International Scouting ServiceRed Line ReportFuture Considerations, and Hockey Prospect‘s, with Central Scouting (CS) as a reference point (keeping in mind historically NHL teams ignore CS’ European and goaltending rankings). In the past I’ve also used Corey Pronman, McKeen’sThe Hockey WritersThe Hockey News, and so on, but due to their various limitations I no longer do so. The area most guides struggle with is European scouting (presumably due to cost) and they are overly dependent on international tournament performances for their assessment (a limitation worth keeping in mind).  I’ll give one specific example to make the point: ISS actually lists how many times their scouts filed a report on a player and they saw Czech leaguer Martin Kaut 14 times; the two CHL players he’s sandwiched between were seen 33 and 43 times respectively–that’s a significant difference.

Both ISS and CS have inherent comparative problems. Central Scouting does not create a master list—players are divided into North American and European regions and then further subdivided into skaters and goaltenders. As such it’s impossible to truly integrate CS into the aggregate number. ISS, on the other hand, separates only their goaltenders into a separate ranking, albeit this latter ranking no longer includes any reference to what round (if any) they expect the player to be taken in (it’s simply numbered 1 to 10), making it impossible to include their goaltenders in the aggregate score (so they become a CS-like reference point).

Notes

There are mixed feelings about this year’s draft class–a sense that elite talent falls off fairly quickly, but that there’s depth behind that (Bob McKenzie says there’s little difference between picks 20-65). Goaltending is considered particularly weak, which might mean unexpected selections or just fewer of them. The guides have 121 players (55.7%) in common (including 17 first-round picks), with 170 shared by three (78.34%), both of which are slightly higher than last year. This is, incidentally, the Year of the Small–I’ve never seen so many undersized players (particularly on defense) expected to be picked.
-Acronyms: ISS (International Scouting Service), CS (Central Scouting), RLR (Red Line Report), HP (Hockey Prospect), and FC (Future Considerations)
-For convenience I’ve identified goaltenders (G) and defensemen (D)
-I’ve noted size where I feel it’s important (the NHL preference for size remains a factor); in general I’ve used HP’s sizes, as Mark Edwards’ waits until after the NHL combine to finalize those numbers

Draft Rankings

First Round

1. Rasmus Dahlin (D) (1.0) – the consensus pick (including Bob McKenzie)
2. Andrei Svechnikov (2.0) – the consensus #2 pick (for Bob as well)
3. Filip Zadina (3.25) – HP breaks the consensus by not having him third
4. Brady Tkachuk (3.75) – as above (Bob mentions scouts liking “that certain something” about him–nebulous qualities that lead to things like trading Adam Hall for Adam Larsson, no doubt)
5. Oliver Wahlstrom (5.75) – this is where divergence amongst sources truly begins, but no one has him later than 7th so he’s the next highest on the list
6. Evan Bouchard (D) (7.25) – everyone has him in the top-ten
7. Noah Dobson (D) (7.5)
8. Quintin Hughes (D) (7.75) – undersized (5’10) blueliners are difficult to place in the draft, but everyone still has him in the top-ten (with plenty of talk about him being the second best defenseman in the draft)
9. Adam Boqvist (D) (8.75) – a touch under 6’0 which puts him in the undersized category for blueliners; he’s the first name here with a pick outside the top-ten, but it’s only one
10. Jesperi Kotkaniemi (12.25) – Finn is a top-ten pick for one (Bob has him #5 and notes he’s the top-ranked center)
11. Barrett Hayton (13.5) – neck and neck with Smith below
12. Ty Smith (D) (13.75) – undersized for a defenseman (5’11), both FC and RLR are high on him, but he’s nudged out by score and head-to-head against Hayton
13. Joel Farabee (14.25)
14. Rasmus Kupari (16.5)
15. Martin Kaut (19.25) – it’s historically rare to have a tie-score this high in the draft, but Kaut’s pick-ceiling is higher, has NHL-size, and isn’t playing in Russia, so he comes first
16. Grigori Denisenko (19.25) – at 5’11 his size and the Russian factor puts him behind Kaut
17. Serron Noel (20.25) – this tie is almost exactly the same as the above, albeit Kravtsov is far from small, but Noel’s huge 6’5 frame is something else entirely
18. Vitali Kravtsov (20.25) – HP thinks he’s a top-ten pick, but he trails off quickly otherwise and him playing in the Russia makes him less appealing for some
19. Joseph Veleno (23.75) – sharply different opinions of him, with a top-ten and top-fifteen pick on the one side and two early second-round picks on the other
20. Isac Lundestrom (24.5) – yet another tie, but the Swede wins this one easily head-to-head
21. Bode Wilde (D) (24.5) – score propped up from a high FC ranking
22. Alexander Alexeyev (26.75) – his score takes a dive from one source, as he otherwise ranks higher than Thomas
23. Akil Thomas (25.25) – a touch under 6’0 making him marginally undersized; outside the first round for one source
24. Rasmus Sandin (D) (28.25) – at 5’11 he’s undersized for a blueliner
25. Ty Dellandrea (29.0) – very close between he and Sandin
26. K’Andre Miller (D) (30.25) – gets the nod over Bokk because opinions on him are genuinely split
27. Dominik Bokk (30.0) – HP has him in their top-fifteen, which is well above anyone else
28. Ryan McLeod (31.5) – the last player with three first-round selections
29. Jared McIsaac (D) (32.75) – gets the nod over Samuelsson because one source’s ranking throws off his score
30. Mattias Samuelsson (D) (32.75) – son of former NHLer Kjell, the consensus puts him as a late first/early second rounder
31. Jett Woo (D) (38.75) – his score is wrecked by an arbitrary third-round pick; otherwise he has two firsts and an early second; at 6’0 he’s undersized for a D-man (Bob has him in the second round)

This round is comprised of 19 forward and 12 defensemen. Sixteen other players received first-round selections, including four with two (Breggren, Groulx, Marchenko, and Merkley). The overall number is higher than usual, with the number of double selections one lower than last year (which is still high). In terms of Bob’s list, only Foudy isn’t listed for me (making this our most similar selection ever).

Second Round

32. Benoit-Olivier Groulx (39.0) – another double first-rounder with a third thrown in
33. Kirill Marchenko (39.0) – big Russian winger is the only double first-round selection who doesn’t have a pick outside the second
34. Ryan Merkley (D) (41.5) – undersized at a smidge under 6’0, he’s the second last double first-round pick (McKeen’s also has him in the first round); Bob mentions he has well-known attitude problems
35. Jonatan Berggren (46.5) – his score is wrecked by a solitary and seemingly absurd third-round pick; otherwise he has two firsts (plus McKeen’s) and an early second; at 5’10 he’s undersized
36. Jonathan Tychonick (D) (34.5) – a touch under 6’0, he fits inside a very narrow band of early second-round picks
37. Jacob Olofsson (35.5) – gets a late first-round slot from FC
38. Jacob Bernard-Docker (D) (35.75) – a first-round pick for one; at 6’0 he’s under ideal size for a blueliner
39. Nils Lundkvist (D) (39.75) – a second-rounder for most, HP is very high on him; at 5’11 he’s undersized for a defenseman
40. Calen Addison (D) (40.0) – undersized at 5’10; one source is very high on him (McKeen’s also has him in the first round)
41. Liam Foudy (41.0) – gets one first-round selection (plus McKeen’s and Bob)
42. Jay O’Brien (41.75) – one first-round pick
43. Kevin Bahl (D) (43.5) – 6’6 defender gets a first-round pick
44. Jakub Lauko (43.75) – beats Ginning head-to-head, with both having wildly different rankings
45. Adam Ginning (D) (43.75)
46. Filip Hallander (48.25) – Swede is a second-rounder across the board
47. Jesse Ylonen (50.25) – the same goes for the Finn
48. Sean Durzi (D) (51.0) – the first player who doesn’t appear on a list (due, from what I can tell, to insufficient viewings because of injuries); undersized (5’11), but consistently in the second-round for everyone else
49. Jack McBain (52.75)
50. Nicolas Beaudin (D) (55.5) – undersized blueliner gets a first-round nod along with a third-round pick; beats Morozov on both the Russian factor and pure scouting exposure
51. Ivan Morozov (54.5)
52. Jake Wise (58.5) – opinions on the undersized (5’10) center are split between the second and third round
53. Filip Johansson (D) (63.75) – similar swing in opinions on the Swede
54. Allan McShane (64.5) – another undersized (5’11) forward
55. Olivier Rodrigue (G) (64.66) – the top goaltender for ISS (whatever that means), he gets a couple of second-round picks (second for Bob too), with a fourth for the other
56. Niklas Nordgren (66.75) – at 5’9 the Finn might fall out of the draft (ala Nyman and Moilanen last year), but he gets three second-round selections along with a fourth
57. Stanislav Demin (D) (67.25) – very mixed opinions on him, including a third and fourth-round selection
58. David Gustafsson (67.5) – strongly varied picks, from early second to third or fourth
59. Alec Regula (D) (68.0) – narrow band of picks in the late second/early third
60. Jack Drury (68.25) – slightly undersized (5’11)
61. Vladislav Kotkov (73.75) – big blueliner with hands has his number sunk by one ranking; despite issues with skating and (according to some) motivation, there’s little reason to doubt teams will want to take a chance on him
62. Kody Clark (83.25) – like Kotkov his number is tanked by a single bad ranking

This round consists of 18 forwards, 12 defensemen, and 1 goaltender. Just two other players (Ranta and Fonstad) received two second-round selections (which is below the norm).

Third Round

63. Sampo Ranta (72.25) – mixed opinions, with a couple of seconds, a third, and fourth-round pick
64. Cole Fonstad (75.75) – undersized (5’10) forward has the same mixed opinions as Ranta above
65. Albin Eriksson (82.75) – number gets sewered by one source, but he’s a first-round selection for another
66. Martin Fehervary (D) (86.75) – like Eriksson above one pick wrecks his total; gets a late second and a couple of thirds otherwise
67. Philipp Kurashev (71.0) – gets one second-round nod, but is otherwise solidly in the third
68. Jan Jenik (71.33) – the second player not ranked by one source (in this case not one of the better predictors); he slots all over the map (second, third, and fourth)
69. Jakub Skarek (G) (73.33) – big Czech goaltender is also ranked all over the place (ala Jenik)
70. Blake McLaughlin (75.25) – gets one second-round pick
71. Riley Sutter (91.0) – score wrecked by one pick, otherwise second to fourth
72. Oskar Back (94.25) – as above
73. Aidan Dudas (98.75) – as above
74. Riley Stotts (79.00) – has a second and fourth-round nod
75. Milos Roman (79.75) – universally placed in the third-round
76. Danila Galenyuk (D) (100.5) – score wrecked by one pick, otherwise second to fourth
77. Gabriel Fortier (83.0) – 5’10 forward is also universally slotted in the third (I wonder if he’ll suffer the fate of his brother Maxime who, at similar size and also from the Q, passed through two drafts despite predictions)
78. Cameron Hillis (84.0) – another undersized forward (5’10) gets a second and a fifth-round pick
79. Alexander Khovanov (84.25) – 5’11 forward also has a second and fifth
80. Luka Burzan (84.25) – second and a couple of fourths; a nose under 6’0
81. Chase Wouters (84.25) – just under 6’0; second and a fourth
82. Matej Pekar (85.75) – two early thirds and two fourths
83. Blade Jenkins (91.75) – number tanked by one ranking; otherwise a second and two-thirds
84. Jordan Harris (93.25) – as above
85. Bulat Shafigullin (88.66) – not picked by one source, he’s a second-rounder for another
86. Lukas Dostal (G) (92.0) – beats Ingham by being ranked by everyone (including a second-round nod)
87. Jacob Ingham (G) (87.5) – not ranked by one source and ISS’ number is about as relevant as peanut butter
88. Jachym Kondelik (90.33) – huge center (6’6) is evenly split between the third and fourth round
89. Jonathan Gruden (90.75) – just slightly under 6’0; three thirds and a fourth
90. Eric Florchuk (92.25) – number thrown off by a fifth; has two third-round picks
91. Nando Eggenberger (97.5) – tally thrown off by one pick; the final player with a first-round selection (this wild variation seems to be a product of most scouting viewings being limited to his intentional tournament play)
92. Curtis Hall (94.75) – evenly split between thirds and fourths
93. Justus Annunen (G) (95.33) – wild variance (second, third, and fifth)

This round consists of 25 forwards, 2 defensemen, and 4 goaltenders. Seven players remain with a (single) second-round selection; two with three third-round picks and another four with two.

Fourth Round

94. Nico Gross (D) (100.0) – blueliner beats Madden head-to-head (he’s in the same situation with one pick throwing off the consensus)
95. Tyler Madden (98.5) – undersized (5’11) forward has his number thrown off by one ranking; otherwise it’s all thirds
96. Egor Sokolov (90.33) – unranked by one source, he gets a third and two fourths otherwise
97. Kevin Mandolese (G) (99.33) – gets a second-rounder along with a pair of fourths and a teddy-bear from ISS
98. Danila Zhuravlyov (D) (99.75) – at 6’0 he’s a bit undersized for a blueliner; picks evenly split between the third and fifth rounds
99. Ty Emberson (D) (102.0) – gets a second-round selection
100. Axel Andersson (D) (103.25) – undersized at just under 6’0; gets a second-round pick
101. Xavier Bouchard (D) (103.75) – actually beats Andersson head-to-head, but I prefer the Swede’s draft-upside (Bouchard peaks as a mid-third-rounder)
102. Giovanni Vallati (D) (103.75) – like the other two defenseman above his number he’s hurt by a solitary fifth-round pick
103. Xavier Bernard (D) (104.75) – wins head-to-head; has a second-round selection
104. Amir Miftakhov (G) (104.66) – undersized (6’0), Russian, and unlisted by one source so could fall completely out of the draft
105. Filip Kral (D) (108.0) – evenly split between third and fifth-round picks
106. Ruslan Iskhakov (114.5) – only 5’8, the Russian is ranked from the second to the sixth-round, but could fall out completely
107. Anderson MacDonald (125.75) – sewered by one pick, he beats everyone who follows head-to-head
108. Curtis Douglas (116.75) – 6’8 (!)
109. Kyle Topping (116.75) – 5’11 forward is next head-to-head
110. Dmitri Zavgorodniy (130.75) – at 5’8 he could fall right out of the draft; gets a pair of third-round picks regardless
111. Declan Chisholm (D) (128.0) – evenly split between the fourth and fifth round
112. Mitchell Hoelscher (112.33) – not ranked by one source
113. Pavel Gogolev (119.0) – ranges from the third to the sixth
114. Paul Cotter (126.25) – number hurt by a sixth-round selection
115. Nathan Dunkley (123.75) – at 5’11 he’s undersized
116. Jacob Pivonka (113.66) – son of former NHLer Michal; not listed by one source
117. Krystof Hrabik (113.0) – not listed by one source
118. Adam Mascherin (142.5) – undersized (5’10) forward is re-entering the draft; his number is off because one source calls him a top-50 pick without putting him in their top-50; he’s unlisted by another (likely in error)
119. Egor Zamula (D) (135.75) – has his number sewered by one ranking
120. Dawson Barteaux (D) (141.0) – two fourths, a fifth, and a sixth
121. Justin Almeida (121.33) – at 5’9 he could fall through; not listed by one source
122. Marcus Westfalt (123.0) – two fourths and a fifth
123. Toni Utunen (D) (130.0) – undersized (5’10) blueliner ranges from fourth to sixth
124. Lenni Killinen (132.0) – the same range as Utunen

The round is comprised of 17 forwards, 12 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders. One second-round pick remains along with five who have two fourths.

Fifth Round

125. Alexis Gravel (G) (124.66) – the final player with a second-round selection, otherwise he’s slotted in the sixth-round (ISS gives him a jellybean)
126. Seth Barton (D) (127.0) – beats Chyzowksi head-to-head; not picked by one source
127. Ryan Chyzowski (127.0) – not listed by one source
128. Connor Roberts (129.66) – not listed by one source, otherwise all put him in the fifth
129. Riley Damiani (145.75) – the 5’9 forward has his total thrown off by one seventh-round selection; he also has a third and two fifth’s
130. Patrick Giles (145.25) – of the players picked by all sources, he’s next best head-to-head
131. Adam Samuelsson (D) (141.75) – 6’6 d-man is next among all sources head-to-head
132. Carson Focht (145.0) – wins the comparison
133. Alexander Romanov (D) (132.66) – undersized (5’11) isn’t picked by one source, but gets a third-round nod
134. Tristen Nielsen (137.66) – the last player with both a third and fourth-round pick; not included by one source
135. Wyatte Wylie (D) (138.66) – among players remaining with two fourth-round picks he scores the highest
136. Gavin Hain (136.66) – undersized (5’11) forward is next highest head-to-head amongst those with two fourth-round picks
137. Matthew Struthers (144.0) – next among double-fourths; not picked by one source
138. Riley Hughes (146.33) – the final double fourth-round pick
139. Lukas Wernblom (134.0) – 5’9 forward could fall out of the draft
140. Vladislav Yerymenko (D) (136.33) – undersized (smidge under 6’0) blueliner isn’t ranked by one source
141. Oliver Okuliar (134.66) – despite playing in a Slovak junior system no one is watching, performed well internationally and three sources included him (a third and two sixth’s)
142. Tyler Weiss (145.0) – undersized (5’10) forward isn’t ranked by one, but gets a third-round selection
143. Daniel Kurovsky (143.66) – beats Jensen head-to-head
144. Jack Jensen (142.33) – unranked by one source
145. Jackson Leppard (146.66) – not listed by one source
146. Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (149.66) – three fifth-round selections, but at 5’10 he could slide out of the draft (he’s the second youngest player in the draft, incidentally)
147. Connor Corcoran (D) (149.75) – a fourth and two fifths and everyone has him in the draft
148. Logan Hutsko (148.0) – 5’9 forward goes from fourth to out of the draft
149. Liam Kirk (152.75) – all have him selected, ranging from fourth to sixth
150. Jack St. Ivany (D) (152.66) – mixed opinions on the blueliner
151. Alexander Steeves (153.66) – undersized (5’11), but beats Pettersen head-to-head
152. Mathias Emilo Pettersen (153.33) – even smaller (5’9) which could drop him out of the draft
153. Jared Moe (G) (153.0) – wild range of picks (highest is fourth)
154. Ryan O’Reilly (162.25) – picked by all to be taken, ranging from fourth to seventh
155. Kristian Reichel (162.75) – as above; son of NHLer Robert

The round consists of 22 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders. Three players remain with third-round selections (all picked by just one source); eight players remain with fourth-round selections.

Sixth Round

156. Damien Giroux (155.0) – at 5’9 he’s another sink or swim pick; not selected by one source, but another has him in the fourth round
157. Merrick Rippon (D) (159.0) – from fourth to out of the draft
158. Jack Randl (160.0) – undersized (5’11); picked fifth to out of the draft
159. William Moskal (161.66) – fifth to out
160. Caleb Everett (D) (163.66) – beats Perbix on head-to head; a fourth-rounder for one source
161. Jackson Perbix (163.33) – gets a fourth-round nod
162. Adam Gajarsky (165.0) – undersized (5’10) he’s the last player with two fifth-round selections
163. Angus Crookshank (164.66) – undersized (5’11) he’s a fifth-rounder for one
164. Demetrios Koumontzis (165.0) – undersized (5’10) he ranges from the fourth to out altogether
165. Tyler Tucker (D) (172.25) – no one seems particularly enthused about him, but everyone puts him in the sixth round
166. Carl Jakobsson (174.33) – the last player picked by three that includes a fourth; the other two are sevenths so the enthusiasm is limited
167. Peetro Seppala (D) (176.0) – from fifth to out of the draft
168. Cole Krygier (D) (183.0) – beats his brother by being picked for the draft by all sources; son of former NHLer Todd
169. Christian Krygier (D) (177.66) – one source leaves him out of the draft, otherwise he and his brother are nearly identical in their pick-range (there isn’t much enthusiasm for either)
170. Radim Salda (D) (179.33) – on the smaller side of acceptable for D-men; gets a fifth
171. Sean Comrie (D) (179.66) – as Salda in terms of size, but less enthusiasm (sixth is as high as he goes)
172. Libor Zabransky (D) (180.33) – essentially the same profile as Comrie; the last player picked by three sources
173. Anton Malyshev (101.5) – the top-rated two-sourcer
174. Semyon Kizimov (108.0) – couple of fourth-round picks
175. Vladislav Syomin (D) (114.0)
176. Michal Ivan (D) (115.5)
177. Luke Henman (123.5) – under 6’0; gets a third-round pick
178. Joel Hofer (G) (124.5)
179. Joey Keane (D) (125.0)
180. Nathan Smith (128.5) – gets a third-round selection
181. Karel Plasek (131.0) – undersized (5’10), he gets a fourth-round nod
182. Santeri Salmela (D) (132.5)
183. Martin Pospisil (132.5) – gets a fourth-round selection
184. Brodi Stuart (134.0) – undersized (5’10)
185. Ivan Prosvetov (G) (135.5) – gets a third-round nod

The round is comprised of 16 forwards, 13 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders. Three players remain with selections that are fifth-round or earlier; no players remain with anything higher than a third-round selection.

Seventh Round

186. Zachary Bouthillier (G) (135.0) – a couple of fifths
187. David Lilja (146.0) – a little under 6’0; his scouting reports are more impressive than Berni’s
188. Tim Berni (D) (139.0) – undersized (5’11) he may not have done enough in Switzerland to tempt a team to take him; he’s the final player with two fifths
189. Nikolai Kovalenko (66.0) – undersized (5’10) Russian who didn’t play in any intentional tournaments, meaning most of the scouts for guides have never seen him–the question is: has anyone from the NHL?
190. Alex Green (D) (74.0) – college D-man is a righthand shot who can move the puck, but this is his third time through the draft and there’s just one source picking him (who is very confident he’ll be taken, however)
191. Yegor Sharangovich (102.0) – an overage Russian who played in the KHL; a power forward with some hands, so he might engender some interest
192. Erik Portillo (G) (133.0) – enormous (6’6) ‘tender has a chance to go despite limited exposure
193. Linus Karlsson (134.0) – a glowing scouting report means despite the solitary selection there’s a chance he’ll go
194. Akira Schmid (150.0) – good size along with some good results internationally mean there’s a chance the Swiss ‘tender will be taken
195. Johan Sodergran (152.0) – plenty of potential in the Swedish forward as great speed means he’s the kind of player GM’s can take a chance on
196. Mike Callahan (D) (153.5) – has that mix of grit and potential that will entice some GM’s
197. Isaac Johnson (158.5) – seems to have the general toolset required to tempt a team
198. David Hrenak (G) (118.0) – taking a flyer on a goaltender who has never been a starter is unlikely, but the scouting information on him is very positive and it is a weak year for goaltenders
199. Daniel Dvorak (G) (141.0) – reading between the lines it seems like one poor international tournament has the other guides down on him (again, the limitations of a small European scouting staff); while he has weaknesses, there’s certainly raw potential
200. Carl Berglund (161.0) – has pretty good numbers, but no international exposure seems to have kept him off other lists (I couldn’t find a decent scouting report for him)
201. Einar Emanuelsson (NR) – 5’10 overager is coming off a career year in the SHL
202. Martin Bodak (D) (136.0) – picked by two sources; much like Khodorenko below the issue seems to be whether his skills can translate at the next level
203. Patrick Khodorenko (158.0) – scouts aren’t sure his skill set will translate at the next level (despite good numbers)
204. Aiden McDonough (89.0) – raw power forward that scouts will have seen while watching O’Brien
205. Jeremi Gerber (105.0) – Swiss winger has good numbers and at least one source is excited about him
206. Matej Blumel (94.0) – 5’11 bombed out in the USHL, but was good internationally–what will matter more?
207. Arttu Nevasaari (163.0) – picked by two sources; the issue seems to be that the undersized (5’11) Finn can score, but scouts wonder if he can do anything else–that said, scoring is a rare commodity so I’m including him
208. Zach Solow (126.0) – mighty midget (5’9) is going through the draft yet again, but only one guide is picking him despite good production in the NCAA (he could easily slide out of the draft); he, like Nyman below, is a litmus test for how much the NHL has changed
209. Dennis Cesana (D) (161.0) – undersized (5’10) defensemen had great numbers in the AJHL; size could be a concern along with the level of play (do his skills translate?), but there are things to like (there’s just not a lot of material to work with in assessing him)
210. Jack Gorniak (167.0) – pretty mixed opinions on the undersized (5’10) player, but he has great speed which might be enough to tip the scales
211. Michael Kesselring (D) (167.0) – big and has some offensive upside; that potential outweighs other concerns
212. Ben Copeland (169.0) – undersized (5’10) overager had a career year, but his great speed is likely what will attract teams to him
213. Mason Snell (D) (171.0) – doesn’t have great size for a blueliner (6’0), but apparently has intriguing tools (“intangibles”)
214. Samuel Ersson (G) (171.5) – bit of a sleeper pick, but with a soft goaltending pool it’s possible
215. Vojtech Kropacek (181.0) – great speed with hands could make him a worthwhile risk
216. Adam Klapka (NR) – the 6’7, righthanded Czech forward had good numbers in that junior system, but with no international exposure no one outside CS was looking at him; at his size there’s a good chance someone will take a flyer on him
217. Linus Nyman (NR) – I had him in last year’s draft, but the 5’9 Finn wasn’t picked–he had big numbers in the OHL (third-highest among draft-eligible players), so if small-is-in he could very well be picked (his issues are apparently strength and skating, but there’s room for both to improve)

The final round consists of 19 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 5 goaltenders (for a total of 136 forwards, 65 defensemen, and 16 goaltenders). It was tough filling out the bottom end of this round as most of the multi-picked players have low rankings and the high ranked Central Scouting players who were not included don’t have remarkable numbers. The guides pushed hard on smaller players and NHL GM’s can still push back (Tampa can only pick so many times after all)–I expect some of them to fall through the cracks, but this draft is a true litmus test on whether the NHL is finally embracing smaller players or not. I feel a lot of trepidation in picking as many smaller players as I did and the goaltending pool is so uncertain there could be a lot of misses above.

Nearly Made It

Olof Lindbom (G) – one of two players excluded who were picked by three sources (and Bob in this case); at 6’0 it’s much less likely an NHL team will take a chance on him (DiPietro fell from a first-rounder to a third in 2017 because of size, just as highly ranked Veini Vehvilainen hasn’t been drafted yet, so it’s the kind of thing GM’s might not want to take a chance on)–keeping him out was by far the hardest decision I made
David Tendeck (G) – the other three-sourcer; he’s 6’1 and on the fringes for most–in a weak goaltending field I think he’ll slide out
Jermaine Loewen – picked by two sources; big, overage power forward coming off a career year, but as one of the oldest players in the draft puts questions marks around that output
Veini Vehvilainen (G) – 6’0 ‘tender mentioned above: if NHL teams are willing to take smaller goaltenders he’s near the top of the list, as he’s had good numbers in the Liiga this year and two years ago

On the Outside

A look at some players who are not included above and why:
Two-sources
Bogdan Zhilyakov (D) – thought to have taken a step back
Mac Hollowell (D) – at 5’9 there seems no chance he’ll be taken
Nikita Rtishchev – a Russian with some exposure, but like Muranov below he’s a checker and as there’s never a shortage of checkers who aren’t Russian so there’s no real pressure to pick him
Spencer Stastney (D) – despite NHL attitudes towards size starting to change, the 5’10 D-man is going to have to blow scouts away to be picked and that doesn’t seem to have happened
Scott Perunovich (D) – another 5’9 blueliner (Bob has him on his list, but I just don’t see it)
Carter Robinson (D) – nothing stands out about the blueliner
Samuel Bitten – a defense-first player who lacks speed isn’t that appealing
Ryan Savage – 5’11 forward who can’t skate and has limited talent; other than an NHL father and “intangibles” there’s no real appeal
Pavel Shen – Russian overager lacked much international exposure and if good numbers last year didn’t tempt a team I’m not sure what will have changed this year
Kristian Tanus – at 5’6 I just don’t think anyone will draft him
Dennis Busby (D) – undersized (5’10) blueliner who was hurt most of the season
One-source
Ivan Muranov – another Russian with no exposure; unlike Kovalenko (who made the list) he’s a plugger and there’s little reason for an NHL team to go abroad for that kind of player (one caveat: one source does think he has top-fifty talent, so keep that in mind)
Zachary Emond (G) – in a year of weak goalies he could be taken, but there’s no pressing reason to assume that he will be
Michal Kvasnica – another plugger–I don’t see the appeal
William Ennis (D) – defensive defenseman who may have already peaked
Jesper Sellgren (D) – no scouting report, so I have no idea why the undersized blueliner was picked
Roman Kalinchenko (D) – played in the WHL so not an unknown quantity and his numbers are pedestrian
Keegan Karki (G) – off-ice issues and mental make-up explain his solitary selection
Brett Stapley – good numbers for the overager in the BCHL, but with just the one scouting report to work with there wasn’t enough for me to include him
Juuso Ketola (D) – undersized Finn’s scouting report is filled with red flags
Jacob Ragnarsson (D) – no offensive upside and a smaller defensive d-man isn’t going to appeal to NHL GM’s (unless they have nostalgia for his father)
Linus Kronholm (D) – no exposure and being very raw mean it’s unlikely anyone will take a flier on him
Linus Nassen – a smaller (5’11) player with good smarts but an average skill-set; international exposure could help, but being picked seems unlikely
Hugo Leufvenius – conditioning and skill-ceiling concerns
Maxim Golod – the Russian import is a known quantity (along with smaller, 5’11) with red flags to join his potential, so he seems unlikely to be taken
Ethan Manderville – no offence and poor skating is not very appealing; does have the NHL dad, however
Connor Dewar – undersized (5’10) overager’s numbers improved a lot, but not enough to impress more than one guide
Owen Lalonde (D) – defensive defenseman with limited tools
Maxim Sorkin – defensive forward with limited offensive upside
Mikhail Bitsadze (26 CSE) – at 5’10 and with no numbers I don’t see it
Central Scouting
Dmitri Semykin (D) (25 CSE) – has a lot of raw potential, but with limited international exposure no one seems keen to pull the trigger on the big defenseman
Ondrej Buchtela (D) (43 CSE) – no exposure and unremarkable numbers
Fredrik Granberg
(D) (49 CSE) – defensive defenseman with limitations moving the puck
Danil Gizatullin (52 CSE) – 5’11, no exposure, but decent numbers
Danila Dyadenkin (54 CSE) – no exposure with brutal numbers
Jerry Turkulainen (61 CSE) – good numbers in the Liiga along with international exposure, but at 5’6 no one is biting

So that’s the list. I’d like to beat HP this year, but we shall see. It’s hard for someone interested in analytics to factor in the old school, eye-test NHL GM’s and figure out just how many of those remain and where their heads are at. I firmly believe skill is what wins so when I read about a player with that limitation it’s hard to accept that there are still GM’s out there who still buy into the “good-in-the-corners/room” mantra.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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Reviewing NHL Draft Guides

It’s time for my annual review of NHL draft guides. Last year Future Considerations remained on top for casual fans, with Hockey Prospects keeping its crown for the hardcore draft folk. Have my conclusions changed? Let’s find out. Needless to say this isn’t intended as a comprehensive review of all draft guides–my focus is on those that cover the entire draft and that I’ve personally found most useful. Publications like McKeen’s are available ($15 with 124 profiles), but are not discussed below.

In my descriptions below I’ve ignored mock draft/future watch sections because for me they have no value–it’s pointless fluff–but they may be of interest to you so keep that in mind.  In brackets I’ve noted changes from last year. Let’s break it down:

International Scouting Service $10.00 (unchanged)
Scouts listed: 48 (41 NA, 7 EU) (-4)
Prospects listed: 210 (+10)
Prospect profiles: 110 (unchanged)
Miscellaneous: historical draft analysis

While ISS intelligently reduced its cost last year they still have frustrating eccentricities that lack any justification: why stop 7 players short of listing the entire draft? Why separate goaltenders from other players (they aren’t drafted separately)? The miscellaneous information they include is trivial because it’s all easily available online–that’s space that could be used to add profiles. You can applaud the change in cost, but other than that there’s not much value here (particularly as their predictions have been consistently among the worst over the years–see below).

Future Considerations $19.99 (unchanged)
Scouts listed: 29 (15 NA, 14 EU) (-7)
Prospects listed: 300 (+50)
Prospect profiles: 220 (+1)
Miscellaneous: none

This is the best value for casual fans, even with FC trimming its scouts substantially from the previous season (they have the biggest EU scouting staff, oddly enough). It wouldn’t hurt for them to add in some extra content (as they have in years past), but given the price point there’s no obligation for them to do so.

Hockey Prospects $49.99 (+$10.00)
Scouts listed: 28 (25 NA, 3 EU) (+8)
Prospects listed: 217 (unchanged)
Prospect profiles: 345 (-44)
Miscellaneous: game reports

The Mack Daddy of draft guides, this massive tome includes about 400 pages of material no one is ever going to need (game reports and future reports), but the remaining tonnage is well worth it. One quote from their website to keep in mind:

Don’t be fooled by the ‘scouts’ from some services who pretend to be in the rinks. In our travels to games throughout a season, there are approximately 30 NHL team scouts we see a minimum of 20 times per year. So we find it interesting that we haven’t run into some of these ‘scouts’ from other services for stretches of time ranging from four to nine years. In fact, we’ve never seen several of them ever.

I’m not sure who they are targeting here, but I will say they’ve been the most accurate draft predictor among the guides for quite some time (if not always by a large margin, see below). From a personal point of view I see the game reports as frivolous and think something more useful could be done with all that space. With that said, this is a great product.

Red Line Report $50.00 (unchanged)
Scouts listed: 12 (unchanged)
Prospects listed: 326 (+1)
Prospect profiles: 116 (plus 68 one-line notes) (unchanged)
Miscellaneous: potential older European picks

It looks like a kid made it in his parent’s basement, but RLR proudly trumpets its independent nature without providing any reasons why its opinion should be valued. In fairness I’m not sure what else RLR can do to sell itself beyond some eccentric views–championing lesser known or liked players (safely outside the first round). Overpriced and with limited content in a format that hasn’t changed in at least a decade, there’s really nothing to sell it save the few chuckles via its prospect “awards” (although repeating the same one-liners year after year starts to seem lazy). If it was priced between the ISS and the FC guide it would be worth picking up, but with such limited content and the high cost (along with middling predictive success), it’s a pass.

Pick Variation

There’s general agreement among scouts over who is or isn’t an NHL-prospect; the arguments tend to be over the odds of that happening and the relative ceiling. This year they agree on 121 players (up 2 from last year, or 55.7% of the entire draft). What about unique selections (as in, no one else picked the player to be drafted)? By round:
First: none
Second: none
Third: 5 (1 RLR, 4 HP)
Fourth: 12 (2 FC, 2 ISS, 3 RLR, 5 HP)
Fifth: 17 (3 FC, 3 ISS, 5 RLR, 6 HP)
Sixth: 25 (8 FC, 10 ISS, 4 RLR, 3 HP)
Seventh: 34 (11 FC, 5 ISS, 11 RLR, 7 HP)
Total: 93 (24 FC, 20 ISS, 24 RLR, 25 HP)

This is slightly down from last year (by 5 players), with both FC and RLR radically cutting their eccentricity. The unique picks remain heavily European, American, and tier-2 leagues (so, presumably, players seen less frequently).

Predictive success

I’ve been reading and tracking these particular sources for a long time.  While I’m not that interested in how accurate they are in predicting player X taken at position X, I am interested in what percentage of the players included are taken in the draft.  Going back to 2011, here’s how they’ve done by percentage (best to worst):
HP: 74.2, 72.0, 69.2, 70.9, 75.8, 74.8, 70.9 (avg 72.5)
FC: 73.8, 71.1, 68.7, 69.0, 69.2, 70.1, 61.3 (avg 69.0)
RLR: 73.8, 73.9, 67.7, 64.7, 73.0, 66.8, 63.1 (avg 69.0)
ISS: 68.1, 66.3, 62.7, 60.0, 68.6, 63.6, 66.5 (avg 65.1)
Keep in mind these numbers don’t reflect who was right about how good prospects were, rather they reflect how closely their selections follow what NHL GMs do on draft day. This latter element is, for me, the most interesting.

So what’s the best value?  My opinion remains unchanged: for casual fans Future Considerations is the way to go, but for those with a deeper interest in the draft (or deeper pockets) you’re better off with Hockey Prospects.  Either way, both are excellent products and I highly recommend them.  As for ISS and RLR, both guides have their own unique frustrations which remain unchanged this year–the latter is more entertaining to read, but much more expensive, and neither offer the kind of value their competitors do (by limiting their prospect profiles to the first few rounds they’re competing with free resources online which seems like a very poor business decision).

A friendly reminder about both my patreon and support via donations: the work for this site involves many hours of labour (along with certain set costs) and any and all support makes a big difference.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Roster Decisions for the Belleville Senators

Image result for pondering

[Made a couple of corrections from the initial post–faulty memory came crashing against the rocks of hard facts–thanks to Ary for pointing them out.]

I mentioned previously that I would delve into what I think the BSens should do with their roster along with what I think they will do. For the latter element it’s worth keeping in mind what the org has generally done (which I went through recently; you can also see my review of rookies, prospects, and veterans). One decision is already made (matching what I would have preferred anyway), which is that veteran goaltender Danny Taylor is heading back to the KHL. We are also saved from disastrous first-line duo Max McCormick and Jim O’Brien due to the former’s one-way contract next season (Ben Harpur is also removed from the equation for the same reason, but he was actually good in limited-duty in Belleville).

Signed

Here are the players signed for next season (I’m assuming Thomas ChabotChristian Wolanin, Logan Brown, and Colin White will be on the NHL-roster–I think Filip Chlapik is 50-50 in that respect so he’s included below; rookies for next season are in green; AHL-contracts in italics; players arranged youngest to oldest):

Goaltenders (2)
Filip Gustavsson (SHL)
Marcus Hogberg

Defense (7)
Maxime Lajoie
Kelly Summers (NCAA)
Cody Donaghey
Christian Jaros
Andreas Englund
Macoy Erkamps
Jordan Murray

Forwards (11)
Drake Batherson (QMJHL)
Filip Chlapik
Aaron Luchuk (OHL)
Gabriel Gagne
Francis Perron
Andrew Sturtz (NCAA)
Ryan Scarfo (NCAA)
Jack Rodewald
Boston Leier (CIS)
Ben Sexton
Jim O’Brien

On the bubble:
Filip Ahl (Allsvenskan 29-11-4-15) – hurt his chances of being signed this year with a mediocre season in Sweden (he was unable to stay in Orebro’s lineup in the SHL), so another season to prove himself is expected
Markus Nurmi (Liiga 51-10-11-21) – I’d expect him to stay in Finland given the glut of forwards already in Belleville
We can safely assume unimpressive NCAA grad Shane Eiserman isn’t being signed (when drafted in 2014 the org saw him as another Max McCormick)

Expiring Contracts

RFAs
Nick Paul – despite no real improvement from the previous season his size and his late push towards the end of the year will probably see him re-signed (personally I’d let him walk–or sign & trade)
Nick Moutrey – dumped on the org by Columbus, he’s big but completely useless; they should let him go, but Randy Lee likes his big forwards so there’s a slim chance he’ll be retained

Non-Veteran Status
Patrick Sieloff – a player who peaked back in junior, his physicality has endeared him to the org and I feel like that might keep him around yet again
Daniel Ciampini – a PTO signing that I expect the team to let go–there are far too many forwards in the system to keep him around (which I think is the right decision)
Kyle Flanagan – undersized roleplayer will be let go (a decision I’m fine with)
Erik Burgdoerfer – I expect Captain Turnover to return and take time away from player development yet again–I’d kick him to the curb [I was reminded on Twitter that he’s on a two-year deal–something apparently my subconscious refused to accept]

Veteran Status
Ville Pokka – because he has veteran status it makes it very unlikely the Sens will put up the money to sign him, despite how badly they need a good puck-mover in Belleville (I also noted on Twitter that the Sens don’t sign European vets)
Max Reinhart – a complete dud all season–imagined as a top-six forward there’s no chance the org retains him to bumble around the bottom-six
Tyler Randell* – as useless as he is, there’s a chance the team hangs onto him for his “toughness”/”leadership”
Ethan Werek – another PTO signing, he didn’t do enough to endear himself and be retained; I wouldn’t keep him either, as to be effective he needs a lot of ice time and I’d rather have that go to prospects
Mike Blunden – absolute garbage both seasons with the org, but he was praised regardless; with that said, I think they’re ready to cut him loose
Eric Selleck – inexplicably traded for (!), but despite Randy Lee’s obsession with pugilists I don’t think they’ll keep him (he can’t skate which, I think, the org is starting to realize is important)
* within the 260+ vet category

Hypothetical Roster (vets in bold, re-signs in blue)

Forwards (14)
Drake Batherson
Filip Chlapik
Aaron Luchuk
Gabriel Gagne
Francis Perron
Nick Paul
Andrew Sturtz
Ryan Scarfo
Jack Rodewald
Boston Leier
Tyler Randell
Ben Sexton
Jim O’Brien
“gritty” veteran (FA)

Defense (9)
Maxime Lajoie
Kelly Summers
Cody Donaghey
Christian Jaros
Andreas Englund
Macoy Erkamps
Patrick Sieloff
Jordan Murray
Erik Burgdoerfer

Goaltenders (3)
Filip Gustavsson
Marcus Hogberg
veteran netminder (FA)

In the inaugural Belleville season the BSens had 29 players signed along with various PTOs trying out. My list has 26, but I don’t think we need to get too hung up on such a high number. We could see a veteran blueliner added as well–neither Erkamps or Donaghey really count as both are likely to spend their seasons buried in the ECHL–but if we do it’ll likely be (yet again) more “grit”.

My version of the roster? I wouldn’t have a three-headed monster in goal; I’d sign a quality ECHL goaltender, but leave the playing time to the prospects. I wouldn’t bring back any of the re-signed players indicated above, but I would try to either keep Pokka or else sign another talented defensemen (to play the left side if it was someone else). At forward I’d go find a couple of talented players to take the pressure off the rookies.

Coaching

I haven’t done a deep dive on rumoured new coach Troy Mann, but given Kleinendorst’s predilections I was curious how prospects had done with him in Hershey and if he shared the org’s obsession with vets. He was the head coach from 2014-15 to this past season, so briefly his record:
2014-15 46-22-8 .658 pugilist Dane Byers remained the captain
2015-16 43-21-12 .645 pugilist Garrett Mitchell was the captain
2016-17 43-22- 11 .638 same captain
2017-18 30-37-9 .454 same captain
Mann had O’Brien and Burgdoerfer previously (along with former BSens Carter Camper and Dustin Gazley). He relied heavily on vets for scoring, although it’s difficult to separate what was made available to him vs who he played. His rewarding of non-players as captain is, however, right up Randy Lee’s alley. The only positive I see, aside from a winning record, is a willingness to play younger goaltenders (although, again, I’m not sure how much choice he was given). Since he’s a fan of Burgdoerfer I think it adds to the odds of his return along with another eternity of playing time. There’s nothing surprising in this–Randy Lee’s understanding of hockey hasn’t changed so he’s going to look for someone who see’s things his way.

With all this said, it’s likely one or two prospects will be shuffled along in pre-draft (or draft) moves, which will also give us a better idea of where someone like Chlapik will wind up.

As for what’s coming up next for me: in terms of what’s planned the draft series is sooner than later (never a cheap process, so any donations or support on patreon is much appreciated). Typically Future Considerations is out first, but I’ll tackle them as they come and finish up with my predictions piece/analysis. I have a couple of other things in the hopper, but without a clear idea of when they will come out. For Marvel fans I have number of articles forthcoming along with a Cyberpunk 2077 update (both of which will appear on their respective blogspot sites–they will be Tweeted out as usual, of course).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Thoughts on the Senators Handling of its AHL Team (Redux)

With Belleville’s season over (my multi-part review begins here) I decided to update my article from last year looking at how Ottawa has handled its AHL affiliate since the Bryan Murray/Pierre Dorion regime arrived.

Ottawa has struggled to properly support the development side of its organization for quite some time–by that I’m not referring to drafted players or free agent prospects (whose quality rests on the shoulders of amateur scouts), but rather the pieces that are put around them to support development in the AHL environment. I’m not interested in the rhetoric surrounding any of this, just the numbers. With numbers in mind, let’s dive in:

Bryan Murray/Pierre Dorion AHL Seasons
07-08 34-32-14 .513 225 248 missed playoffs
08-09 41-30-9 .569 238 missed playoffs +9pts, +7 GF, -10 GA
09-10 36-35-9 .506 251 260 missed playoffs10pts, +19 GF, +22 GA
10-11 42-30-8 .575 255 221 Calder Cup +11pts, +4 GF, –39 GA
11-12 29-40-7 .428 201 243 missed playoffs27pts, –54 GF, +22 GA
12-13 44-24-8 .632 227 188 first round +31pts, +26 GF, –55 GA
13-14 44-24-8 .632 206 185 first round4pts, –21 GF, –3 GA
14-15 34-34-8 .500 242 258 missed playoffs16pts, +36 GF, +73 GA
15-16 31-38-7 .454 204 241 missed playoffs7pts, –38 GF, –17 GA
16-17 28-44-4 .395 190 266 missed playoffs9pts, –14 GF, +15 GA
17-18 29-42-5 .414 194 266 missed playoffs +3pts, +4 GF, unchanged GA

AHL GM’s (from 07-08 to now)
Tim Murray (07-14)
Left mid-season to become Buffalo’s GM (since fired)
Randy Lee (14-present)
Litters the media with comments about toughness (tide goes in, tide goes out, eh Randy?)

AHL coaches
Cory Clouston (07-08 to 08-09)
Mid-season NHL replacement in Ottawa (Craig Hartsburg!), then failed out of two orgs in the WHL (Brandon and Prince Albert) before winding up in the DEL (Kolner Haie) where he was also fired
Curtis Hunt (09)
Mid-season replacement for Clouston when he went up to Ottawa; wasn’t retained and bounced from Regina (WHL) to Fort McMurray (AJHL) to GMing Prince Albert
Don Nachbaur (09-10)
Came from the WHL and went back subsequently before (this season) becoming an assistant with LA
Kurt Kleinendorst (10-11 to 11-12)
Left after losing the Ottawa job to Paul MacLean
Luke Richardson (12-13 to 15-16)
Left the org when Guy Boucher got the Ottawa job, becoming an assistant for NYI
Kurt Kleinendorst (16-17 to 17-18)
After he left he went to the NCAA (Alabama, fired), AHL (Iowa, fired), then a mid-season DEL replacement (Ingolstadt) before returning to Binghamton

None of the above are good pro coaches and I think you can go beyond that and say all of them are poor–believing the org’s own outdated ideas of playing hockey like it’s the clutch-and-grab 90s and brawling days of the 1970s (ie, the need for a goon and toughness, the importance of size, an over-reliance on veterans, etc)–I often feel like throughout the Ottawa org they are trying to re-create Pat Quinn’s Toronto teams from the early 2000s. Their collective inability to find success at all (or, in Nachbaur’s case, outside of junior hockey) is ample evidence of these failings.

What about management? The best way to assess that is who they added to the roster, so here’s the penultimate list (those acquired by trade are in italics, veteran signings are in bold (five players at 320 AHL, NHL, certain European league games; one player over 260); in brackets next to their numbers are what they did the previous season; grades are based entirely on how well the players fulfilled expectations)

17-18 – 29-42-5 194 266
Jim O’Brien (PTO, AHL-deal, NHL-deal) 60-13-16-29 (53-9-15-24)
Ethan Werek (PTO, AHL-deal) 58-10-15-25 (55-13-14-27)
Max Reinhart 67-11-12-23 (DEL 52-6-17-23)
Ben Sexton 30-10-11-21 (54-19-12-31)
Mike Blunden (2nd year of his deal) 45-6-10-16 (67-14-15-29)
Erik Burgdoerfer 66-5-12-17 (52-1-16-17)
Daniel Ciampini (PTO, AHL-deal) 49-7-9-16 (ECHL 28-12-16-28)
Chris DiDomenico (2nd year of his deal; traded) 25-5-9-14/60-14-24-38 (NLA 48-10-28-38)
Ville Pokka 23-3-8-11/69-7-26-33 (76-6-24-30)
Tyler Randell 57-3-5-8 (59-1-9-10)
Kyle Flanagan (2nd year of his AHL-deal) 17-1-3-4 (68-9-20-29)
Eric Selleck 18-2-2-4/50-5-2-7 (46-5-4-9)
Nick Moutrey 16-2-3-5/38-5-6-11 (61-8-9-17)
Chris Kelly (PTO) 16-0-2-2 (NHL 82-5-7-12)
Danny Taylor .900 3.15 (.931 1.93)
FA’s: C-
Trades: D
Best move: Ben Sexton
Biggest flop: Danny Taylor

There are very comprehensive breakdowns for all of these players (beginning here). Were it not for Pokka the trades would earn an F (Eric Selleck?). It’s important to note just how many regular roster players were not on Randy Lee’s radar–Jim O’Brien, who became Kleinendorst’s number one center, arrived on a PTO; Ethan Werek and Daniel Ciampini, despite both ultimately being used as fourth-liners, each (especially Werek) spent time with significant minutes on top-lines and neither were on the horizon in the summer. The sentimental addition of Chris Kelly was great for him, but he was awful for the team. Other than Ben Sexton, who struggled to stay healthy, none of the additions panned out (they were either average or flopped completely). While for me the middling numbers of Reinhart, Blunden, Burgdoerfer, etc, are no surprise, the org certainly expected more, but Danny Taylor stands out as the biggest flop not because he has the worst numbers, but because he was supposed to be the stud in net–the fail safe for a young blueline–but it took him all the way until January to round into form and even at that stage he was simply average.

16-17 – 28-44-4 190 266
Jason Akeson (re-signed after failed KHL jump) 57-20-31-51 (73-13-39-52)
Phil Varone (re-signed) 65-15-36-51 (65-19-36-55)
Casey Bailey (re-signed) 62-21-16-37 (68-11-28-39)
Mike Blunden 67-14-15-29 (49-21-17-38)
Kyle Flanagan (AHL-deal) 68-9-20-29 (44-6-14-20)
Mike Kostka (re-signed) 46-1-11-12 (traded)
Chad Nehring 50-3-15-18 (76-22-26-48)
Brandon Gormley 17-2-3-5 (39-4-2-6)
Zack Stortini (second year of his deal) 22-2-1-3 (traded)
Guillaume Lepine 54-1-2-3 (re-signed)
Marc Hagel 27-0-3-3 (53-4-15-19)
FA’s: Grade C-
Trades: Grade F
Best move: Akeson
Biggest flop: Nehring

Only the top two had solid seasons (you can read my full review of the season here), with both slightly above their career averages (by 0.06 and 0.02 respectively); all the rest underperformed to varying degrees (some catastrophically), with neither of the “big” FA signings (Nehring and Blunden) coming close to what was expected of them.

15-16 – 31-38-7 204 241
Eric O’Dell 50-18-19-37 (37-14-15-29) (traded)
Mike Kostka 50-5-24-29 (63-5-25-30)
Phil Varone 21-6-17-23 (55-15-29-44)
Jason Akeson 21-5-17-22 (57-23-30-53)
Casey Bailey 30-7-14-21 (NCAA 37-22-18-40)
Zack Stortini 66-8-8-16 (76-13-12-25)
Patrick Mullen (re-signed) 36-1-15-16 (traded)
Ryan Rupert 30-7-6-13 (57-15-12-27)
Guillaume Lepine 69-4-9-13 (38-1-3-4)
Jerome Leduc 22-4-6-10 (76-6-19-25)
Travis Ewanyk 66-5-4-9 (69-3-5-8)
Michael Keranen 21-4-3-7 (70-10-27-37)
Mark Fraser 60-2-5-7 (NHL 34-0-4-4)
Conor Allen 17-1-4-5 (71-11-23-34) (traded)
Nick Tuzzolini (AHL contract but spent the season with the team) 27-1-0-1 (36-1-2-3)
FA’s: D-
Trades: C
Best move: Akeson/Varone
Biggest flop: Stortini

This is an even weaker assemblage of talent (my full season review go here). Kostka and O’Dell (before he was traded), performed as expected, but Stortini and Fraser were expensive busts (both were obviously terrible signings (eg)); Mullen’s production was never replaced when he was moved and various acquisitions completely bombed (Ewanyk, Keranen, and Allen in particular).  Tuzzolini was kept on the roster almost the entire season for perceived “toughness” which served no purpose whatsoever (special thank-you to Randy Lee for his continued inability to understand enforcers are not necessary).

14-15 – 34-34-8 242 258
Carter Camper 75-15-37-52 (60-12-49-51)
Aaron Johnson 73-6-29-35 (75-4-36-40)
Alex Grant (re-signed) 58-6-27-33
Patrick Mullen (re-signed) 54-5-24-29
Brad Mills 34-4-10-14 (28-8-6-14)
FA’s: C
Trades: N/A
Best move: Johnson
Biggest flop: Mills

Subpar year for Carter, while Grant and Mullen both struggled to stay healthy and PED-user Mills was inexplicably given ice time over actual prospects (my full review here).

13-14 – 44-24-8 206 185
Patrick Mullen 20-1-11-12 (69-13-28-41)
Alex Grant 19-2-8-10 (46-4-16-20)
Tyler Eckford (second year of his deal) 32-0-4-4
Nathan Lawson (re-signed) 3.05 .908
FA’s: F
Trades: B+
Best move: Mullen/Grant
Biggest flop: Eckford

Both vets who started the year were terrible (Eckford) to below average (Lawson); deadline acquisitions were good, but nothing could overcome Richardson’s incompetence as a coach (my full review here).

12-13 – 44-24-8 227 188
Hugh Jessiman 68-10-19-29 (67-27-17-44)
Andre Benoit 34-9-16-25 (KHL 53-5-12-17)
Brett Ledba 32-3-15-18 (NHL 30-1-3-4)
Tyler Eckford 59-7-6-13 (75-10-15-25)
Nathan Lawson 2.19 .938 (2.57 .914)
FA’s: C
Trades: B
Best move: Benoit
Biggest flop: Eckford

Benoit and Lawson were good signings for this season, but Jessiman and Eckford were awful and while Ledba was a decent acquisition, “veteran savvy” didn’t do anything for the team in the playoffs when it mattered.  My full review is here.

11-12 – 29-40-7 201 243
Corey Locke (second year of his deal) 38-10-31-41
Rob Klinkhammer 35-12-33-35 (76-17-29-46)
Mark Parrish 51-15-15-30 (56-17-34-51)
Tim Conboy 53-2-9-11 (70-0-12-12)
Josh Godfrey (AHL contract) 38-2-6-8 (ECHL 49-15-12-27)
Mike Bartlett 58-3-4-7 (72-8-10-18)
Francis Lessard (re-signed) 43-1-1-2
Shaun Heshka
10-0-1-1 (Austria 50-6-18-24) (traded)
Lee Sweatt DNP (41-5-9-14) (retired after getting his signing bonus)
Mike McKenna 2.98 .918 (3.61 .886)
FA’s (Sweatt not included): D
Trades: A
Best move: Klinkhammer
Biggest flop: Heshka/Sweatt

Klinkhammer was an inspired acquisition and Locke performed as expected, but otherwise this is a complete mess (as is reflected in the team’s results–my full review here).

10-11 – 42-30-8 255 221
Corey Locke 69-21-65-86 (76-31-54-85)
Ryan Keller (re-signed) 71-32-19-51
Andre Benoit 73-11-44-55 (78-6-30-36)
Ryan Potulny 13-3-5-8 (NHL 64-15-17-32)
David Hale (demoted from Ottawa) 36-2-4-6
Francis Lessard 36-2-1-3 (61-2-2-4)
Barry Brust (AHL deal) 2.53 .925 (2.46 .908)
Mike Brodeur (re-signed) 2.96 .903
FA’s (Hale not included): B
Trades: A
Best move: Potulny (lead the team in playoff scoring)
Biggest flop: Lessard

The Calder Cup season!  I wasn’t blogging regularly at the time, so there’s no retrospective review to link, but the only questionable things here were the signing of Lessard and retaining of Brodeur.

09-10 – 36-35-9 251 260
Martin St. Pierre 77-24-48-72 (61-15-51-66)
Ryan Keller 72-34-34-68 (Liiga 54-21-34-55)
Denis Hamel (re-signed) 73-22-29-51
Jonathan Cheechoo (demoted from Ottawa) 25-8-6-14
Drew Bannister (D) 57-4-10-14 (DEL 34-2-15-17)
Paul Baier (D) 62-2-8-10 (62-3-8-11)
Jeremy Yablonski (re-signed) 27-1-0-1
Chris Holt (G) (AHL deal) 2.95 .905 (1.73 .931)
Andy Chiodo (G) 3.28 .901 (KHL 3.66 .866)
Mike Brodeur (G) 3.06 .899 (2.45 .920)
FA’s (Cheechoo not included): D+
Trades: N/A
Best move: Keller
Biggest flop: Chiodo/Brodeur

Forwards performed as expected (although retaining Yablonski was pointless), but the defense choices were obviously terrible before the season began; signing Chiodo was puzzling and Brodeur underperformed.

08-09 – 41-30-9 232 238
Greg Mauldin (re-signed) 80-24-27-51
Denis Hamel (re-signed) 63-25-25-50
Marc Cavosie 64-10-13-23 (ECHL 41-12-18-30)
Matt Carkner (D) (re-signed) 67-3-18-21
Drew Fata (D) 68-7-9-16 (71-3-11-14)
Brendan Bell (D) 15-6-9-15 (69-7-24-31)
Chaz Johnson 48-1-5-6 (ECHL 60-23-24-2-47)
Jeremy Yablonski (re-signed) 64-1-2-3
Geoff Waugh (D) (re-signed) 27-0-2-2
FA’s: C-
Trades: C
Best move: Mauldin
Biggest flop: Yablonski

Bell’s acquisition would have been great if he’d stayed on the roster; as-is retaining Yablonski and Waugh were obviously bad decisions, acquiring Fata was pointless, and neither Johnson nor Cavosie added anything meaningful to the roster.

07-08 – 34-32-14 225 248
Denis Hamel 67-32-23-55 (NHL 53-5-3-8)
Lawrence Nycholat (D) 77-12-37-49 (29-3-25-28)
Niko Dimitrakos 64-20-20-40 (62-19-23-42)
Justin Mapletoft 78-18-22-40 (DEL 10-2-3-5)
Greg Mauldin 71-15-18-33 (Allsvenskan 32-6-10-16)
Matt Carkner (D) 67-10-15-25 (75-6-24-30)
Matt Kinch (D) 73-9-16-25 (DEL 51-4-20-24)
Jeremy Yablonski 76-3-10-13 (ECHL 41-3-3-6)
Geoff Waugh (D) 71-3-3-6 (ECHL 56-1-12-13)
Greg Amadio (D) 50-0-2-2 (previous season 58-3-5-8)
FA’s: B-
Trades: N/A
Best move: Nycholat
Biggest flop: Amadio

Tim Murray’s first stab at the gutted Muckler system, most of the decisions were solid, albeit none performed above expectations; Yablonski, Waugh, and Amadio stand out as head-scratching decisions.

Conclusions

Going through all this let’s briefly break it down by GM:
Tim Murray
FA’s: B-, C-, D+, B, D, C, F, C (avg C-)
Trades: n/a, C, n/a, A, A, B, B+, n/a (avg B+)
Randy Lee
FA’s: D-, C-, C- (avg D+)
Trades: C, F, D (avg D)

The first thing I want to point out: every season the team has signed at least one enforcer. Yes, the role that’s been dead since the 04-05 lockout is one the team continues to spend money on. With that out of the way, onto more general points.

Both men struggled to sign appropriate free agents in the off-season, Murray has a better track record of adding useful pieces during the season (and better results–three of his last four seasons had the team in the playoffs), something Lee hasn’t replicated (he continues to add the same kinds of players he does in the off-season). I’ve long thought the Sens pro scouting was poor and there is evidence of that here–while good players have been signed, it seems largely a matter of chance with the org going back to familiar faces (or attempting too) over and over again (Benoit’s two tours of duty, Akeson’s return, the failed attempt to bring back Mullen, retaining Brodeur, bringing back Kleinendorst, etc). What bothers me are the obvious poor decisions–terrible players signed because of “character”. No GM is going to have a perfect track record, but the BSens are particularly awful in setting themselves up for success. While you want to credit Murray for the Calder Cup, you have to call it a fluke given the results of all his other seasons and Lee has been worse.

This attachment to toughness is something Tim Murray may have overcome (his Rochester teams didn’t always have a pugilist), but Randy Lee won’t get with the program. Beyond the fisticuffs there’s also the endless praise for veterans with extremely limited talent (Burgdoerfer, Blunden, and on and on). The obsession with “character” over skill is the Achilles Heel I don’t think we’ll ever see the org overcome until new faces are in place.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Belleville Senators Review: Part Three (Rookies)

This is the final installment of my season review. Along with a look at rookie performances in Belleville, I was going to end this with thoughts on what should be done with the roster along with what I think will actually happen to the roster, but that doesn’t fits thematically and this is long as it is, so I’ll do that separately. As I’ve done previously I’ll arrange players from oldest to youngest–my pre-season projections are noted in brackets where applicable–comments about the attributes of players who appeared briefly should be taken with a grain of salt.

Jordan Murray DL (1992; CIS FA 2017 AHL-deal)
Previous season (16-17): CIS 30-14-26-40 (1.33)
2017-18: 58-8-15-23 (0.40)
With or Without You record: 21-34-3/8-8-2
Shots/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: 3rd in usage, 6th in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: limited usage (45 shifts), where he was not that effective

Murray.png

The org is very fond of Murray, a converted-forward who plays a gritty style. He’s a clumsy defensemen–not great with coverage and struggles with the transition game (especially on the PP where he was very indecisive). He’s at his best in the offensive zone, largely a shooter rather than distributor. Because of his questionable decision-making there’s no hope for him at the next level, but he could evolve into a decent AHL-blueliner. I think we saw far too much of him this season.

Boston Leier LW (1993; CIS FA 2018 AHL-deal)
2017-18: CIS 27-15-24-39 (1.44)
2017-18: 8-4-2-6 (0.75)
With You record: 4-4-0
Shots/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: only played 11 shifts (no impact)
Penalty Kill: played just a few shifts (7) where he wasn’t very effective

Leier

Another Canadian University signing, he was invisible to start with, but prior to returning to school started showing his offensive flair. In limited viewings he came across as primarily a shooter, but it’s hard to say more than that because of his varied usage. There’s potential here, however (at least at this level), so I was happy with the signing.

Ryan Scarfo C (1994; NCAA FA 2018 AHL-deal)
2017-18: NCAA 38-20-16-36 (0.95)
2017-18: 13-2-2-4 (0.31)
With You record: 6-7-0
Shots/hands: average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: played quite a bit (38 shifts) where he wasn’t very effective
Penalty Kill: limited usage (19 shifts) with reasonable effectiveness

Scarfo.png

I wasn’t impressed by him throughout his lengthy debut. Nothing stood out, good or bad, and were it not for a final flurry of points (3-2-1-3) he’d be a complete disaster. As an older college player I expect a lot more so I’m not sure what the BSens achieved by signing him (I worry about him being another Garrett Thompson).

Andrew Sturtz RW (1994; NCAA FA 2018)
2017-18: NCAA 37-14-26-40 (1.08)
2017-18: 6-1-2-3 (0.50)
With record: 3-3-0
Shots/hands: average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: limited usage (9 shifts) with decent effectiveness
Penalty Kill: barely used (4 shifts)
Lines: spent half on the first, then once on the other three

For a guy known for offense Kleinendorst was reluctant to use him on the PP for whatever reason. He showed some flashes of skill, but who he played with and various ice-time limitations make it hard to truly evaluate him purely on his time with the BSens (as such, I don’t have a strong opinion on him getting an ELC).

Marcus Hogberg G (1994; 3-78/13)
Previous season (16-17): SHL 19-14-0 .932 1.89
2017-18: 6-12-0  .899 3.27
Athleticism: average
Technique: average
Goal support: 2.44 (team average 2.55)
Average shots against: 30.66 (season average 33.01)

It was a crazy year for Hogberg, who had fantastic numbers in Sweden, but was all over the place in Belleville. I mentioned in Part One that his save percentage is essentially the same as Danny Taylor and Andrew Hammond (with Filip Gustavsson likely headed towards the same number given time), so his inferior win-loss record is in part due to bad luck (both Hammond and Gustavsson received much better goal-support, although no one received less help than Chris Driedger). The BSens have a terrible blueline and that didn’t help anyone between the pipes. Beyond the numbers what stood out most was technique: Hogberg was erratic all season in his positioning–often appearing too small or else being slightly out of position. He’s athletic for a big man, but a lot of his success is down to technique and there he clearly needs better support.

Christian Jaros DR (1996; 5-139/15)
Previous season (16-17): SHL 36-5-8-13 (0.36)
2017-18: 44-3-13-16 (0.36) [0.25]
With or Without You record: 20-21-3/9-21-2
Shots/hands: excellent/good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: good
Powerplay: 4th in usage, 3rd in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: 5th in usage, 7th in effectiveness

Jaros.png

I was really happy with what I saw from Jaros this season (his with or without you numbers are spectacular). Injury-struggles and coaching eccentricity restricted what he could show, but there was a lot to like. He’s got a huge, NHL-caliber shot from the blueline, is a decent passer and can carry the puck up the ice. He still needs some work defensively, although many of his struggles were due to inadequate partners (ahem, Englund). He was underdeployed on the powerplay (as explored in Part Two) and I can only wonder what we might see with proper coaching. Otherwise he showed smart aggression (no running around for big hits) and I really have no complaints–he was better than I expected (the org gave the impression he was another Englund) and I look forward to more.

Colin White C (1997; 1-21/15)
Previous season (16-17): NCAA 35-16-17-33 (0.94)
2017-18: 47-11-16-27 (0.57) [0.70]
With or Without You record: 18-25-4/11-17-1
Shots/hands: good
Hockey IQ: excellent
Skating: excellent
Powerplay: 3rd in usage, 1st in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: 6th in usage, 2nd in effectiveness

White

A smart, talented player who I expected more offense from. Despite irrationally being put on the third line for more than a quarter of the season, and despite sometimes having offensively anemic teammates, you expect him to do more at this level. That said, it was an awful season for the BSens, so I don’t see the numbers as a negative indicator, other than raising the question that was open when he was drafted which is: how much can he produce at the NHL-level? In the AHL, however, if he comes back, he’s a tremendous asset.

Thomas Chabot DR (1997; 1-18/15)
Previous season (16-17): QMJHL 34-10-35-45 (1.28)
2017-18: 13-2-5-7 (0.54) [0.61]
With or Without You record: 4-8-1/25-34-4
Shots/hands: good/excellent
Hockey IQ: excellent
Skating: excellent
Powerplay: 1st in usage, 5th in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: limited usage (19 shifts), but pretty effective

Chabot.png

Saddled as he was with largely useless partners, it was fun seeing him play (however briefly). His first five AHL-games in particular, prior to his injury, were fantastic–he was dominant and drove the play–his skill well above the level of the league. After the injury he took a half-step back, but there’s no question he’ll never play in Belleville again–he’s simply too good. Ottawa fans can simply watch and enjoy.

Filip Chlapik C (1997; 2-48/15)
Previous season (16-17): 57-34-57-91 (1.59)
2017-18: 52-11-21-32 (0.62) [0.59]
With or Without You record: 19-29-4/10-13-1
Shots/hands: average/excellent
Hockey IQ: excellent
Skating: good
Powerplay: 4th in usage, 4th in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: n/a

Chlapik

I had fears coming into the season that Chlapik’s numbers in the QMJHL were both inflated by the league as well as by Pittsburgh teammate Daniel Sprong (who was dominant with Wilkes-Barre this year, 65-32-33-65). Although he doesn’t have blazing speed or a big shot, Chlapik is a cerebral player with strong possession skills. Often handicapped by talentless teammates (his usage remains the most ridiculous of the season–grinding out a team leading point total while spending half the season in the bottom-six is incredible). How well his skills translate to the NHL I’m less sure of–he likes to hang onto the puck and that’s harder to do at that level. If he comes back to Belleville next season, however, I expect his numbers to improve by a large measure.

Maxime Lajoie DL (1997; 5-133/16)
Previous season (16-17): WHL 68-7-35-42 (0.61)
2017-18: 56-1-14-15 (0.27) [0.38]
With or Without You record: 21-31-3/8-11-2
Shots/hands: average/good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: average
Powerplay: 5th in usage, 7th in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: limited usage (47 shifts), but very effective

Lajoie.png

A smart player with good puck skills, I think skating might keep him from reaching the next level–he’s not fast and I don’t think he can get away with that in the NHL. At the AHL-level he spent much of the season stuck with inadequate partners who limited his offensive capabilities. His smarts help him defensively, although I don’t think he’s someone who suits a heavy PK-rotation. He compliments big shooters on the PP because he’s a pass-first player (he also doesn’t have a big shot). He’s very young so there’s lot’s of room for growth (assuming coaches give him that opportunity).

Filip Gustavsson G (1998; 2-55/16 Pit; trade)
2017-18: SHL 9-11-0 .918 2.07
2017-18: 2-4-0 .912 3.01
Athleticism: good
Technique: good
Goal support: 3.14 (team average 2.55)
Average shots against: 32.5 (season average 33.01)

Small sample size can do a lot for first impressions as Sens fans are over the moon about the young Swede (eg). He did play well, but it was clear that as time went on his numbers were starting to regress to the mean, making it hard to compare him to the other goaltenders as he wasn’t put in front of the same nightmare for a full season. What we saw was a very calm goaltender with good technique–athletics were rarely required due to positioning. He was the beneficiary of the best goal-support among BSen netminders, which doesn’t hurt. I share some of the optimism about him going forward, but I’m not sure he’ll thrive beneath the conservatism of a Kleinendorst-regime (or a similar coach who replaces him), who would always favour whatever veteran he’s paired with–I’m readying myself for yet another three-headed monster in goal for 2018-19.

Parker Kelly C/RW (1999; CHL FA 2018)
2017-18: WHL 69-29-30-59 (0.85)
2017-18: 5-1-0-1 (0.20)
With You record: 3-2-0
Shots/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: excellent
Powerplay: barely used (5 shifts)
Penalty Kill: effective in his limited appearances (16 shifts)
Lines: mostly the second line with one on the third

Such brief exposure isn’t a very representative sample. I liked his speed and the structure of his game, although it’s hard to judge his offensive potential at this level without more games. Nothing negative to put here, just hard to make a firm assessment.

Alex Formenton LW (1999; 2-47/17)
2017-18: OHL 48-29-19-48 (1.00)
2017-18: 2-0-0-0 (0.00)
With You record: 1-1-0
Shots/hands: good
Hockey IQ: excellent
Skating: excellent
Powerplay: limited use (5 shifts)
Penalty Kill: ibid (2 shifts)
Lines: he was on the first in the two games he played

Was hurt early in his second game, so it’s not fair to say anything about him really, other than I liked what little I saw. Because of  how the org views him he didn’t get jerked around by Kleinendorst and saw regular rotation 5-on-5 and on special teams.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

 

Belleville Senators Review: Part Three (Prospects)

Continuing the breakdown of Belleville’s 2017-18 season, this is the second last post.  I mentioned previously that I’m saving the rookies for last largely to chop the roster up into manageable bits. I started with the veterans (link above), so now we’ll get into re-signed RFA’s and players past year-one of their ELC’s (because of his weird path to an ELC Jack Rodewald is included below). Just like last time we’ll go from oldest to youngest.

Max McCormick LW (1992; 6-171/11; re-signed RFA)
Prior to this season: 185 AHL games (0.46); 27 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 66-21-15-36 (0.54)
2017-18: 49-8-19-27 (0.55)
With or Without You record: 17-28-4/12-14-1
Shots/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: 6th most used, 12th most effective
Penalty Kill: 3rd most used, 11th most effective

McCormick.png

The org has never been rational in its approach to McCormick (very much a Borowiecki in that respect), whose well-publicized work-ethic and willingness to mix it up has endeared him in the hearts of the decision-makers. At the AHL-level he’s best suited to playing on the third line, but rarely does. Kleinendorst, who is also on the hype-train, played him mostly as a first-line forward with a mountain of powerplay time, none of which put him ahead of his usual production. His presence in the lineup had no measurable positive impact (the team has a better record without him), putting the “leadership” idea aside, so we can only be thankful that he’s on a one-way deal next season which (presumably) will keep him out of Belleville.

Jack Rodewald RW (1994; CHL FA Tor 2015; signed AHL-deal 2017; ELC 2017)
Prior to this season: 82 AHL games (0.35)
Previous season (16-17): 66-18-9-27 (0.41)
2017-18: 62-14-11-25 (0.40)
With or Without You record: 23-36-5/6-8-0
Shots/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: 9th most used, 9th most effective
Penalty Kill: 11th most used, 9th most effective
Notable Slumps: 25-1-2-3 from December through to mid-February

Rodewald

In small doses, at the right time, Rodewald looks like a useful player. He’s big, quick, and has a decent shot. What he lacks is consistency–disappearing for long stretches–something Kleinendorst apparently tried to avoid by ramming him into the top-six, but it made no difference. He doesn’t make the players around him better, so he’s very reliant on linemates to produce. I liked the org having him on an AHL-deal, but signing him to an ELC was reckless. Fortunately, his attributes do make him an asset that could be moved to a similar, gullible org.

Patrick Sieloff DL (1994; 2-42/12 Cal; re-signed RFA)
Prior to this season: 154 AHL games (0.18); 1 NHL game
Previous season (16-17): 52-2-10-12 (0.23)
2017-18: 58-1-9-10 (0.17)
With or Without You record: 23-31-4/6-11-1
Shots/hands: poor
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: a handful of shifts (15) late in the season (to no effect)
Penalty Kill: 3rd most used, 4th most effective
Notable Slumps: 32-game pointless streak

Consistently awful offensively, he’s always been given a pass because of his physicality and defensive play. Kleinendorst, motivated by his fear of losing (ergo, defense-first), overplayed him. He doesn’t help possession numbers, but doesn’t struggle moving the puck up the ice like turnover-machine Burgdoerfer or Murray. As I said last June keeping him wasn’t the worst option, albeit I wasn’t expecting him to play as much as he did. The best decision now would be to let him go.

Sieloff

Chris Driedger G (1994; 3-76/12; re-signed RFA)
Prior to this season: .907 2.98
Previous season (16-17): 34-12-19-3 .900 3.22
2017-18: 10-2-5-0 .885 4.04
Athleticism: good
Technique: poor
Goal support: 1.70 (team average 2.55)
Average shots against: 34.5 (season average 33.01)

Poor Driedger, buried at the bottom of two entirely different four-headed monsters in net for the BSens. In limited duty he showed what he had in two full seasons previously: inconsistency. Sometimes he stands on his head, sometimes he doesn’t (as much as I want to sympathise with him for the terrible team numbers around him, they don’t really justify his save percentage which shouldn’t be that much off the team average). His high points can be very high, but the low is on the same scale. Playing behind an atrocious blueline his entire pro career means I think he can show a little better, but at this point it’s best for him and the org to move on.

Ville Pokka DR (1994; 2-34/12 NYI; trade)
Prior to this season: 220 AHL games (0.47)
Previous season (16-17): 76-6-24-30 (0.39)
2017-18: 23-3-8-11 (0.47)
With or Without You record: 8-14-1/25-28-4
Shots/hands: good/excellent
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: average
Powerplay: 2nd most used, 2nd most effective
Penalty Kill: a few shifts at the end of the season (10) and wasn’t scored on

Pokka

Acquired from Chicago for DiDomenico, he added a much-needed puck moving presence to the team, although the impact is hard to see in the team’s record–it was fun to watch him with Lajoie, however briefly. I’m not sure the Sens will keep the 23-year old–they’d have to sign him to a veteran contract and org has steered clear of European players that fit that bill (to date they never have). With ChabotHarpur, and potentially Wolanin staying in the NHL next season, only Kelly Summers is being injected by the pipeline and the team could definitely use talent like Pokka.

Ben Harpur DL (1995; 4-108/13; re-signed RFA)
Prior to this season: 110 AHL games (0.30); 9 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 63-2-25-27 (0.43)
2017-18: 19-2-9-11 (0.58)
With or Without You record: 9-9-1/20-33-4
Shot/hands: average/good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: average
Powerplay: 6th most used, 1st most effective
Penalty Kill: 2nd most used, 1st most effective

Harpur

Derided for his lackluster NHL-performance, he’s turned into a very good AHL-player. What he does at this level is make simple plays that help move the puck forward and get shots to the net. He’s also solid defensively and on a team like this Belleville would have benefited from having him most of the season. As it is, he’s on a one-way deal coming up so won’t be available to help the AHL situation. What’s puzzling is Kleinendorst not using him to help younger players along–instead, vets like Sieloff and Burgdoerfer had easier minutes by playing with him.

Macoy Erkamps DR (1995; CHL FA 2016)
Previous season (16-17): 11-0-2-2 (0.18)
2017-18: 46-1-3-4 (0.08)
With or Without You record: 17-26-3/12-16-2
Shots/hands: awful/poor
Hockey IQ: poor
Skating: average
Powerplay: a few inexplicable shifts (4)
Penalty Kill: virtually half his shifts were in October (18 of 38), with very good numbers in those limited appearances

Erkamps

I’ve gone over the Sens horrendous record in signing CHL FA’s (something that might change with the various skilled forwards recently signed–time will tell). There were all sorts of warning signs when Erkamps was signed and he’s continues to be a disaster. Banished to the ECHL most of his rookie campaign, he wound up playing much of this season due to a shortage of bodies on the blueline. He has no hands, can’t move the puck, and is skating is average at best. The only positive this season was some chemistry he had with Englund in killing penalties. The Sens have one more season of him and should banish him to the ECHL.

Nick Paul C (1995; 4-101/13 Dal; trade)
Prior to this season: 117 AHL games (0.46); 25 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 72-15-22-37 (0.51)
2017-18: 54-14-13-27 (0.50)
With or Without You record: 20-31-4/9-11-1
Shots/hands: good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: average
Powerplay: 5th most used, 5th most effective
Penalty Kill: 7th most used, 6th most effective
Notable Slumps: 15-game goalless streak; 13-1-0-1 (late December to late January)

Paul

I had high hopes for Paul this year–that he’d breakout and show NHL-potential. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Despite a strong end to his season (26-12-7-19) he struggled otherwise and in the end didn’t look any different from the player he was in his sophomore season. He’s big, has good hands, and decent speed for a big body, but there’s just no consistency. With that said he’s useful at this level, although better linemates and more intelligent usage wouldn’t hurt.

Nick Moutrey LW (1995; 4-105/13 Clb; trade)
Prior to this season: 114 AHL games (0.24)
Previous season (16-17): 61-8-9-17 (0.28)
2017-18: 16-2-3-5 (0.31)
With or Without You record: 24-32-4/5-10-1
Shots/hands: average/poor
Hockey IQ: poor
Skating: average
Powerplay: played a ton (40 shifts) to no result
Penalty Kill: played quite a bit (43 shifts) and was awful (Rodewald’s numbers)
Notable Slumps: 10-1-0-1 to start with the BSens

Moutrey

Former junior teammate of Paul‘s dumped on the Sens as part of the Ian Cole trade, he arrived with a horrendous track record in the Columbus system and despite being given every opportunity continued to fail with the BSens. His size will appeal to the org, but they need to let him go.

Andreas Englund DL (1996; 2-40/14)
Previous season (16-17): 69-3-7-10 (0.14)
2017-18: 69-1-9-10 (0.14)
With or Without You Record: 26-38-5/3-4-0
Shots/hands: awful
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: 3 shifts for some reason
Penalty Kill: 4th in usage, 6th in effectiveness
Notable Slumps: 12-game pointless streak

Englund

Amazingly I forgot him when I first posted this and no one noticed–he’s not a very noticeable player. Advertised as a strong defensive defensemen, his limitations not just offensively but in that role are staggering. He made no improvement from his rookie season and generally dragged down anyone he played with. At best he’s an adequate depth blueliner in the AHL.

Francis Perron C (1996; 7-190/14)
Previous season (16-17): 68-6-20-26 (0.38)
2017-18: 44-4-11-15 (0.34)
With or Without You record: 17-23-4/12-19-1
Shots/hands: average/good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: good
Powerplay: 12th most used, 10th most effective
Penalty Kill: 8th most used, 11th most effective
Notable Slumps: 15-0-2-2 prior to his season-ending injury

Missed almost half the season due to injury and when he was healthy was given little opportunity to show off his skills. A bit too pass-happy, he requires some skill around him to be effective and that was in short supply. That said, I expected his general numbers to improve from last season. A new coach with new opportunities would help.

Perron

Gabriel Gagne C/W (1997; 2-36/15)
Previous season (16-17): 41-2-4-6 (0.14)
2017-18: 68-20-5-25 (0.36)
With or Without You record: 25-39-4/4-3-1
Shots/hands: excellent/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: 7th most used, 8th most effective
Penalty Kill: n/a
Notable Slumps: 12-game pointless streak

Gagne

His rookie season was so bad I really wondered if there was any potential here (the Sens made a poor decision making him turn pro early). This year, despite inconsistency, he showed a lot of positive signs. He has a great shot and is good one-on-one, albeit Kleinendorst rarely played him with good passers (most of that first line ice-time was with O’Brien and McCormick, both of whom are shooters). I wouldn’t call it a great season, but there’s now a sense that when he fills out and put in position to succeed he could become a dominant scorer (at this level at least).

In the final post I’ll go through the rookies and give a final assessment of the changes I’d make when it comes to personal.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Belleville Senators Season Review: Part Three (Veterans)

In the previous parts of my season review (Part One and Part Two) I looked largely at team performance. In the third and final part I’ll be exploring individual performances. While I’m excluding PTO call-ups from the ECHL, this is a very large list of players and I’m going to chop it down into three categories to make it manageable. Rookies are the most exciting, so we’ll save them for last. To begin with we’ll look at veterans–those players who are neither on their ELC nor re-signed RFA’s. These are the players resident genius Randy Lee added to the lineup in the hopes of helping both development and results. We’ll start with the oldest (my projections prior to the season can be seen here):

Chris Kelly C (DOB 1980; 3-94/99; PTO)
Prior to this season: 249 AHL games (0.55); 833 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): NHL 82-5-7-12 (0.14)
2017-18: 16-0-2-2 (0.12)
With or Without You record: 6-8-2/23-34-3
Shots/hands: poor
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: n/a
Penalty Kill: 2nd in usage, 12th in effectiveness
Notable Slumps: failed to score in all 16-games

Chris Kelly.png

While it was a nice gesture by the org to let Kelly use the BSens as practice for his time at both the Spengler Cup and the Olympics, he did the team itself no favours. Once an effective AHL-forward, Kelly simply has no hands left and particularly in his first set of games with the team played far too much (he was also consistently awful on the PK).

Danny Taylor G (DOB 1986; 7-221/04 LA; signed 2017)
Prior to this season: 134 AHL games (.919)
Previous season (16-17): KHL .931 1.93
2017-18: 32-11-5-4 .900 3.15
Athleticism: good
Technique: average
Notable slumps: 0-7-1 (November to mid-January)
Goal support: 2.37 (team season average 2.55)
Average shots against: 31.5 (season average 33.01)

Arriving with good historical numbers in the AHL and a strong season in the KHL, Taylor ultimately disappointed. While the end of his season was more to form, it didn’t really make up for his struggles early on. Normally I would have been behind the decision to sign Taylor, but with Marcus Hogberg and Chris Driedger on the roster along with Andrew Hammond, what was the point? His addition only hurt the development of both younger goaltenders as well as Taylor’s future prospects in North America.

Mike Blunden RW (DOB 1986; 2-43/05 Chi; signed 2016)
Prior to this season: 528 AHL games (ppg 0.52); 126 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 67-14-15-29 (0.43)
2017-18: 45-6-10-16 (0.35)
With or Without You: 15-30-3/14-12-2
Shot/hands: average
Hockey IQ: poor
Skating: awful
Powerplay: 8th most used, 13th most effective
Penalty Kill: 4th most used, 8th most effective
Notable slumps: 21-game goalless streak

Blunden

Given a two-year deal by Lee after a career year with Syracuse (Tampa’s affiliate) where he was buffered by a talented lineup. Anointed the captain when he joined he’s been rammed down the throat of the BSens system despite rapidly declining results. He played an inordinate amount on special teams time, but that aside his mere presence seemed to drag the team down (look at the winning percentage with & without him).

Eric Selleck LW (DOB 1987; NCAA FA Flo 10; traded for mid-season)
Prior to this season: 438 AHL games (0.24); 3 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 46-5-4-9 (0.19)
2017-18 50-5-2-7 (0.14) Belleville 18-2-2-4 (0.22)
With or Without You: he only missed two games once acquired (1-1-0) so the impact can’t really be evaluated
Shot/hands: terrible
Hockey IQ: negligible
Skating: awful
Powerplay: randomly put on it twice, but not part of the regular rotation
Penalty Kill: 9th most used, 8th most effective (benefited from limited sample size and partners)

Selleck

In the midst of a terrible season in Hartford (the Ranger affiliate), Lee inexplicably traded for him in February. The only thing Selleck has ever distinguished himself as is a fighter, but he fights for himself (case in point: in Ben Sexton‘s season ending game he was run twice and the mighty Selleck did…nothing). He doesn’t drop the gloves much anymore regardless, so what was the point of acquiring him?

Andrew Hammond G (DOB 1988; NCAA FA Ott 13)
Prior to this season: 80 AHL games (.903)
Previous season (16-17): 5-2-3-0 .884 3.24
2017-18: 18-8-6-2 .900 3.34
Athleticism: average
Technique: good
Goal support: 2.88 (team season average 2.55)
Average shots against: 30.55 (season average 33.01)

Buried in Belleville after Pierre Dorion devalued him making a trade impossible, he was actually quite good in Belleville and should have played more than Taylor early in the season. Eventually Colorado borrowed him permanently after trading for him, making room for Hogberg and Filip Gustavsson, but for a man put in a difficult position he made the most of it.

Erik Burgdoerfer DR (DOB 1988; NCAA FA Buf 16; signed 2017)
Prior to this season: 187 AHL games (0.24); 2 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 52-1-16-17 (0.32)
2017-18: 66-5-12-17 (0.26)
With or Without You: 25-36-4/3-6-1
Shot/hands: average
Hockey IQ: poor
Skating: good
Powerplay: 7th most used d-man, 4th most effective (see below)
Penalty Kill: 1st most used d-man, 5th most effective
Notable slumps: didn’t score in his final 21-games

Burgdoerfer

Throughout his hockey career (going back to junior in the EJHL) Burgdoerfer’s abilities are consistent: he takes a lot of penalties, produces minimal offense, but his excellent skating and being a righthand shot have allowed him to slowly evolve climb the pro ladder. The org had a lot of praise for him and he’s the kind of player that if you see him only occasionally, especially if he’s being protected by a competent partner, you’re not going to notice his primary problem (beyond an inability to produce offense): mental mistakes. No one on the team had more unforced errors than Burgdoerfer–his seminal moment in his final game of the season was, with no pressure, passing the puck right in front of his net to the opposition and having it immediately in the back of his net. He’s a turnover machine. I put a caveat in his powerplay numbers above because he’s benefiting from a small sample size–he was only on-ice for six goals, but after November rarely played making early success with Chabot and Lajoie boost his numbers.

Kyle Flanagan C (DOB 1988; NCAA FA Phi 13; signed 2016/AHL deal)
Prior to this season: 188 AHL games (0.41)
Previous season (16-17): 68-9-20-29 (0.42)
2017-18: 17-1-3-4 (0.23)
With or Without You: 7-9-1/22-33-4
Shot/hands: average
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: good
Powerplay: not used
Penalty Kill: 12th most used, 3rd most effective

Flanagan

A lost season for the undersized Flanagan who was injured most of the year. In limited duty he was fine–not a spectacular player, but good defensively and can chip in some offense (not on display at his usual rate this season).

Jim O’Brien C (DOB 1989; 1-29/07; signed PTO 17, then contract 18)
Prior to this season: 375 AHL games (0.55); 67 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 53-9-15-24 (0.45)
2017-18: 60-13-16-29 (0.48)
With or Without You: 6-8-2/23-34-3
Shot/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: 9th most used, 7th most effective
Penalty Kill: 5th most used, 3rd most effective

O'Brien

Arrived on the team via PTO and transitioned from an afterthought to the team’s #1 center (!). O’Brien, whose career has been on a downward AHL-curve since his 14-15 season with Hershey, isn’t so much a terrible addition but one inappropriately used. He’s a very good penalty killer, but someone with limited offensive potential who played far, far too much on scoring lines.

Chris DiDomenico RW (DOB 1989; 6-164/07 Tor; signed 17)
Prior to this season: 74 AHL games (0.23)
Previous season (16-17): NLA 48-10-28-38 (0.79)
2017-18: 25-5-9-14 (0.56)
With or Without You: 10-14-2/19-28-3
Shot/hands: good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: average
Powerplay: 2nd in usage, 2nd in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: three brief shifts was all he got

DiDomenico

Kleinendorst inexplicably lost confidence with him and he spent much of his last month with the team on the third or fourth line. Not surprisingly, when utilized properly by Rockford he was immensely productive (22-8-15-23). I was a bit puzzled when the Sens signed him last season, seeing it as a sop to Guy Boucher, but he’s unquestionably a good AHL talent and here bad coaching simply wasted an asset.

Daniel Ciampini C (DOB 1990; NCAA FA Worcester; signed 17/AHL deal)
Prior to this season: 48 AHL games (0.25)
Previous season (16-17): 23-1-4-5 (0.21)
2017-18: 49-7-9-16 (0.32)
With or Without You: 21-26-3/8-16-2
Shot/hands: average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: barely used (just 13 shifts through the season)
Penalty Kill: other than the final seconds occasionally, not used
Notable slumps: 10-game pointless streak

Ciampini.png

An excellent ECHL-player, he settled in as a regular in the bottom-six. While he’s unremarkable, in a better lineup he could have helped add some depth scoring. His lack of speed is what will ultimately keep him from being an AHL-regular.

Ben Sexton RW (DOB 1991; 7-206/09 Bos; signed 17)
Prior to this season: 127 AHL games (0.39)
Previous season (16-17): 54-19-12-31 (0.57)
2017-18: 30-11-10-21 (0.70)
With or Without You: 11-18-1/18-24-4
Shot/hands: good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: excellent
Powerplay: first in usage, third in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: first in usage, first in effectiveness

Sexton

I’m leery about signing players coming off career years after having done nothing of note previously, but Sexton appears to have been a victim of the coaching staff in Providence while he was there (Bruce Cassidy), as he was excellent for Belleville this year. His inability to stay healthy continues to be an issue and I would take his with or without you stats as bad luck, but I’m glad he’s signed for another season.

Ethan Werek LW (DOB 1991; 2-47/09 NYR; PTO 17, then AHL-deal)
Prior to this season: 330 AHL games (0.36)
Previous season (16-17): 55-13-14-27 (0.49)
2017-18: 58-10-15-25 (0.43)
With or Without You: 24-29-5; 5-13-0
Shot/hands: good
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: 11th in usage, 6th in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: used once
Notable slumps: 20-game pointless streak

Werek

A PTO that turned into an AHL-deal, Kleinendorst fell in love with him early in the season, but he wound up in the doghouse soon after and never got out of it. Lack of footspeed give him limited utility, but he is a useful offensive player when put with supporting players and the BSens didn’t maximize their asset by doing so.

Tyler Randell RW (DOB 1991; 6-176/09 Bos; signed 17)
Prior to this season: 231 AHL games (0.18); 27 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 59-1-9-10 (0.17)
2017-18: 57-3-5-8 (0.14)
With or Without You: 20-33-5/9-9-0
Shot/hands: poor
Hockey IQ: poor
Skating: good
Powerplay: played 15 shifts throughout the season (to no effect)
Penalty Kill: 10th most used, 7th most effective
Notable slumps: did not score against a goaltender until his 39th game

Randell

Looking at all this you have to ask yourself: what was Randy Lee trying to accomplish here? Just like Selleck above, Randell doesn’t fight for his teammates (he barely fights at all), and he doesn’t help the team in any other way, so why have him in the lineup? Despite ample opportunity he was actually worse offensively than with his limited time in Providence last season.

Max Reinhart C (DOB 1992; 3-64/10 Cal; signed 17)
Prior to this season: 276 AHL games (0.59); 23 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): DEL 52-6-17-23 (0.44)
2017-18: 67-11-12-23 (0.34)
With or Without You: 23-39-4/6-3-1
Shot/hands: average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: averager
Powerplay: 13th most used, 11th most effective
Penalty Kill: barely played (like Ciampini above for final faceoffs)
Notable slumps: 13-game goalless drought

Reinhart.png

Coming off an awful season in the DEL he arrived in Belleville and had his worst AHL season since his rookie year. Clearly Randy Lee thought he was getting the support player he was with the Admirals (15-16), but it doesn’t take a genius looking at all his career to see that Reinhart’s numbers are all due to talented players around him. He doesn’t push the needle at all. Oddly enough I wrote an article on the 2010 Calgary draft for the Hockey Herald back in the day (no longer online from what I can tell), but here’s what I wrote at the time when calling that draft a disaster:

There’s no sense of strategy in the selections; they are not the best players available, they don’t fill any specific need, nor are any of them “swings for the fences.”  Collectively they all look like marginal pros.

This applies to Max as a free agent as well–not the best available, didn’t fill any specific need, and is (at best) a marginal pro.

Next time I’ll be looking at non-rookie prospects on the team before finishing up with the rookies.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)