Senators News: July 18th

-The Sens re-signed Jim O’Brien to a two-year, one-way contract and also re-signed Eric Gryba to a two-year, two-way contract.  Both signings were expected, although I think the Sens did well to lock both up for two years.  Tim Murray talked about Gryba:

He made big strides last year. I thought last year, the second half of the year, on some nights he was our best defenseman in Binghamton. A huge improvement over his rookie season, so we just expect him to get better and better. I think the two years gives us an opportunity to work with him some more. I believe he can come to training camp and compete for a job at the National League level. If he doesn’t make it right out of camp, we expect him to go to Binghamton and be a leader, play hard and at least be a depth guy until he achieves his goal of becoming a full-time National League player. He hope he translates into being a big, shut-down defenseman who’s hard to play against. That’s the type of style that he is playing in Binghamton. He’s got decent skills with the puck, but I think his role will be hard to play against … I think if he’s going to have success at the NHL level, that’s the style he’s going to have to play. And that’s the style we want him to play. That’s the style that he showed us in the second half last year that he can play.

And then O’Brien:

Well, very pleased to get Jimmy signed. His agent and I had a lot of talks, and they were willing to work with us to get the one-way contract, so I think we got a deal done that suits us from a money point of view, gives him two years more in the organization, gives him a little bit of stability in that he got a one-way and gives us money that we like for our young NHL players to have — so a good contract on both sides. Jimmy made huge strides last summer, came in and battled for a job in training camp but wasn’t quite there. But again, he shows our young guys, the rest of our young guys in the organization, that if you work hard and you’re a good citizen and do what we ask you to do in Binghamton, then we certainly will call you up and give you a chance. That’s what happened to Jimmy last year, and when he got up here, he showed he belonged here. He plays a bottom six role, good faceoff guy, very good penalty killer, very good speed up and down the ice and works hard — very good work ethic. So he does have an offensive game. It’s not there yet at the National Hockey League level. But we think that that, with this new contract, gives him the next two years to refine his offensive game and still do the things that our coaching staff likes about him, and that’s do the little things right and check and win draws and very good on the PK. I think, yeah, that helped him, obviously, the championship run. He was an important guy in that run at different times, so learning how to win is never a bad thing. I think the big thing with him was getting stronger. He was a long, even skinny kid if not lean, that you knew would take more time to put on muscle and put on bulk. It has taken time, so it’s just an example of, some guys are ready right out of the draft, some guys need a year or so, and some guys need a little longer. And there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. But he shows that if you stick to it and work hard, and you get the right direction, you do have a chance. He certainly has put in the time, and hopefully the improvement just continues to go on

Murray is spot in describing both players.  I don’t think O’Brien has enough skill to move out of a fourth-line position, but he’s a useful player for the Sens.  Gryba likely tops out as a six or seventh defenseman assuming he can maintain a consistent level of play.

Red Line Report‘s issue wrapping up the draft is out and offers reasons why some highly touted players were not selected, with both Anton Slepyshev and Alexei Bereglazov declaring their disinterest in coming to North American in the near future, while Dane Fox apparently has well-documented off-ice issues that scared NHL clubs away.  The issue only discussed the top-eleven teams in terms of a successful draft and Ottawa did not make the list (none of their players appear in the best or worst value pick list either).  I have to infer that they thought it was an average draft for the Sens.


1 Comment

  1. […] Bereglazov (I had him slatted as a late pick in 2012 on the strength of Corey Pronman and RLR, but at the time he had no interest in playing in North America and has since been unremarkable in the […]

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