Kaspars Daugavins update

[Daugavins re-signed on August 3rd, but how this effects his KHL tryout contract remains unknown.]

A Latvian report regarding Ottawa RFA Kaspars Daugavins has come out (www.dinamoriga.eu/lv/news/view/parbaudes-laika-ligumi-ar-vairakiem-hokejistiem).  With the help of a reader and a little work on my part, here’s a clearer version of the Google translated text specific to Daugavins: “To be able to officially participate in the Dinamo Riga pre-season training camp, the club has signed forward Kevin Daugavins on a try-out contract.  The 23-year-old winger’s contract ended June 30th with the NHL’s Ottawa Senator, and although the club has qualified his contract, he is not satisfied with the terms. That is why he has decided to participate in Dinamo Riga’s training camp (Dinamo Riga own his KHL rights).  Daugavins will attend the Senators pre-season training camp at which time he’ll decide where to continue his career.”  Hopefully this is a little clearer than my previously posted translation.  It appears as though Daugavins will attend Senators camp, but if he fails to make the time will jump to KHL.  I’m not sure how that would work, given that the KHL and NHL re-signed their agreement to respect each other’s contracts (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/nhl-extends-agreement-khl-respect-contracts-league-192949259.html). If Daugavins has not signed his RFA contract I’m not sure what his status at camp would be.  I’m also not sure the Senators will want him in camp if those are his terms.  Regardless, when there’s further clarification I will post it here.

[July 20 update: Joy Lindsay, who covers the Binghamton Senators, shares my opinion on the matter: http://www.pressconnects.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category= PluckPersona&U=551340dd39644ae695cca9fe0180e879&plckPersonaPage= BlogViewPost&plckUserId=551340dd39644ae695cca9fe0180e879&plckPostId=Blog%3a551340dd39644ae695cca9fe0180e879Post%3a4d36b7a8-1466-4ba1-89c9-6d8d1a16a4d3&plckController=PersonaBlog&plckScript=personaScript&plckElementId=personaDest.]

[July 31 update: I wanted to share another way to look at Daugavins‘ tryout contract.  It’s possible he truly is trying out for the KHL team, but if he fails to make it (European training camps are earlier than the NHL’s) will accept a contract with Ottawa and play in Binghamton.]

Senators Player Profile: Milan Michalek

This is the twelfth in a series of profiles on each player for the Ottawa Senators.

Milan Michalek, LW, Contract: 4.333,333/14 (UFA)
T 2009 (Murray), 6’2, Shoots L, YOB 1984, Jindrichuv, Cze
2008-09 77-23-34-57 +11 52pim TOI 18:27 Hits 92 TkA 32
2009-10 66-22-12-34 -12 18pim TOI 18:15 Hits 77 TkA 36
2010-11 66-18-15-33 -12 49pim (1 fight) TOI 18:03 Hits 49 TkA 40

Milan Michalek is the last remaining piece of the Dany Heatley trade.  The big power forward (not one who throws a lot of hits, granted) had just completed the first year of his new deal with San Jose when he was packaged with Jonathan Cheechoo and San Jose’s 2nd round pick in the 2010 draft (subsequently moved to Carolina as part of the Matt Cullen deal).  Michalek was the centerpiece of the trade, as Cheechoo‘s declining production and injuries made him at best a project.

Michalek‘s first year with Ottawa was injury-plagued.  He was expected to match or improve on his totals in San Jose the year before (look along the panels on the right hand side of http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/preview2009/team?page=nhlpre09/ott), but despite getting off to a hot start he slumped when Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson were out of the lineup before suffering a a series of injuries which culminated in being knocked out of Ottawa’s playoff series against Pittsburgh (tearing his ACL).  Overall it was a disappointing season for Michalek, with his lowest point total of his NHL career (he also carried the second worst plus/minus on the team behind Cheechoo).

In the off-season he recovered from surgery and started the season with the team.  Expectations were that he would improve on last year’s totals (http://sports.yahoo.com/ nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/NHL-2010-11-Season-Preview-Wrestling-with-Ottaw?urn=nhl-271127), but just like the previous season, he missed 16 games of the season and put up mediocre numbers.

Michalek came to the team as a strong, two-way player with upside.  He’s gone through two injury-plagued seasons with subpar numbers and is a combined -24.  He doesn’t make the players around him better and has struggled to mesh with linemates or produce on the powerplay (he only put up 4 points with the man-advantage last year).  I’m not saying Michalek isn’t a good player, because he is, but he simply hasn’t been able to provide what the Senators need from him.  He will play in the top-six again this year and put up his usual numbers (35 points with 15 goals is reasonable), but I also expect him to get hurt and miss some time.

Player profile from the 2009-10 season: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMy4mSAJ4nU
A Michalek hat-trick: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEiDeYEZK1k

Next up is Sergei Gonchar.