Senators News: March 26th; Ottawa 3, New Jersey 2 (SO)

-The Sens defeated the Devils 3-2 in a shootout last night, with Ben Bishop making 32 saves in the win (and being a big factor); Chris Phillips and Colin Greening scored the goals (Alfredsson and Zibanejad in the shootout).  The Sens gave up two one-goal leads in the game and were ultimately outplayed.  Ottawa did not deserve the win (they only had 14 shots on goal!), but the mark of a good team is winning games like this.  It was not a great night for Mike Lundin (despite an assist) who played the least on the blueline by a wide margin.  Here’s the boxscore.

-The Sens have placed Kaspars Daugavins on waivers today.  I’m not sure if the club would be willing to bury him in the minors or not, but if so there’s not much salary left to pay him in the AHL.  It will be interesting to see if another team takes a chance on him (I doubt it).  I think Nichols sums up the reasoning behind it succinctly:

It’s no secret that Ottawa has battled injuries all season and other callups have proven themselves to be NHL-calibre players. At some point you knew that the numbers game would get congested in Ottawa. I mean, Spezza and Michalek are sidelined and the Senators still have 14 forwards (including the Dogman) who have demonstrated that they can play or fill a specific role. Being a fourth line/penalty killing specialist who was on an inexpensive one-way deal, Daugavins could possibly be on the outside looking in. Whether it was now or weeks or months, Daugavins, despite how well-liked he was by teammates or the fans, was eventually going to fall victim to the number’s game. Fortunately for him, he proved that he could be an effective depth guy/placeholder in the interim.

If Daugavins is not picked up on waivers it’s a clear sign that the Sens have no future plans for him once the season is done.

David Dziurzynski has been sent down to Binghamton; via the same link free agent signee Andrew Hammond signed an ATO to play with the B-Sens, which likely means Marc Cheverie will be returned to Elmira.

Scott illustrates that the Sens aren’t the same puck-possession team they were with Erik Karlsson.

-I’ve seen comments that the Sens would be better off trading Craig Anderson while his value is high and having the goaltending tandem of Ben Bishop and Robin Lehner going into next season.  I understand the sentiment here, but the problem with it  is how the organisation views their goaltending.  Anderson is an established, reliable starter who can clean up the mess if Lehner struggles in the early stages of his NHL development.  They don’t have that confidence in Bishop who remains an older prospect with starter ambitions.  It’s a much easier (and safer) move for the organisation to move the (less regarded) prospect and keep the veteran.  Anderson has a manageable contract and could always be moved a year or two down the line if Lehner‘s play warrants it.

-Here’s a look at the Sens free agent signings (Troy Rutkowski, Andrew Hammond, and Buddy Robinson).

Pierre LeBrun‘s power rankings have Ottawa 10th, writing:

The Senators just keep winning and winning and winning, despite all that top-end talent sitting in the medical ward. Running out of words to describe this accomplishment.

LeBrun also tosses out this rumour:

Another team I’m told that’s held discussions with the Stars about Derek Roy is the Ottawa Senators. Roy is an Ottawa native, so that’s a natural angle there. But on the other hand, I do not think the Senators want to pay a big price in any deal they make before April 3; they still have the long-term view in mind.

I think the latter sentiment may dynamite the notion; in an NHL where a broken down Douglas Murray warrants a pair of 2nd-round picks, the Stars are going to want something meaty for Roy.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Prospect Profiles: Troy Rutkowski, Andrew Hammond, and Buddy Robinson

Troy Rutkowski, D, Contract: 655k/16 (RFA) 5-137/10 (Sherman, Colorado)
6’2, Shoots R, YOB 1992, Edmonton, Alberta
2010-11 WHL Portland 72-10-37-47 (ppg 0.65) +24 65pim (3 fights)
2011-12 WHL Portland 72-13-32-45 (ppg 0.62) +18 37pim (1 fight)
2012-13 WHL Portland 72-20-46-66 (ppg 0.91) +32 43pim (1 fight)

Central Scouting ranked him 44th (North America) prior to his draft year (Red Line Report had him at #67), he tumbled to the fifth round due to inconsistent play.  As Michael Remmerde writes (via the link):

At various times this season, this guy gave you every reason to like him – great skill from the back end, outstanding power play skills, and even some rare flashes of physical ruggedness in his own end. But for most of this season, he just did nothing.

Here’s Red Line Report‘s scouting report prior to the draft:

Wildly inconsistent this season. Skating seemed to vary like the rest of his play. Sometimes looked heavy footed and slow, but other times showed he can carry the puck with speed. Good backward mobility, but overall his skating is not a plus. When he’s playing confidently, can be a big offensive force from back end. Can make a nice first pass or carry it end-to-end. Adept at joining the rush. Excellent PP skills, distributes the puck very well inside the zone and has a knack for finding shooting lanes. Accurate, hard shot, but we’d like to see him use the slapper more than relying on the wrister so much. Showed flashes of an active physical game in his own end, but played tentatively most of the season. Needs to keep his weight down to maintain his mobility and stamina. Has a ton of upside, but need to find consistency in his game.

He was considered a hit or miss pick who would either be a #4 blueliner or else a career AHLer (comparing him to Lukas Krajicek).  What’s clear is that he’s an offensively gifted blueliner (Jarrod Abbott called him a poor man’s Justin Schultz), but the Avalanche relinquished his rights allowing Ottawa to sign him as a free agent.  Abbott believes that one of the reasons Rutkowski was overlooked was because of the loaded blueline he played on–how much of his success was derived from teammates clearly played on the minds of NHL GM’s.  The signing strikes me very much as a hit-or-miss gamble.  There’s none of the near certainty that one had with someone like Schultz.

Andrew Hammond, G, Contract 720k/15 (RFA) FA 2013 (Murray)
6’3, Catches L, YOB 1988, Surrey, BC
2010-11 NCAA Bowling Green 6-17-3 2.67 .915
2011-12 NCAA Bowling Green 14-24-5 2.73 .903
2012-13 NCAA Bowling Green 10-15-3 2.47 .917

Like Robinson (below), Hammond was not on anyone’s radar during his draft eligibility and there’s precious little scouting material on him.  Chris Peters writes:

He has fair size, but his competitiveness has always been on display at BGSU. His breakout performance came last season as he helped Bowling Green make it to the CCHA finals before ultimately falling to Michigan in double overtime. Hammond made 55 saves that night in one of the great goaltending performances you’ll ever see.

Ben Meyer-Abbott wrote about him at the Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp this past summer and Hammond‘s coach (Chris Bergeron) said:

He’s not willing to accept mediocre or just OK. He wants to be great, and to him, that’s not just about words. It’s about the willingness to do what it takes every day.

That’s literally all I can find about Hammond beyond his statistics and the fact that he was his team’s MVP in his two previous seasons.

Buddy Robinson, RW, Contract NR/16 (RFA) FA 2013 (Murray)
6’5, Shoots R, YOB 1991, Bellmawr, NJ
2010-11 OJHL/CCHL Hamilton/Nepean 51-20-42-62 (ppg 1.21) 59pim
2011-12 NCAA Lake Superior 39-5-5-10 (ppg 0.25) 37pim
2012-13 NCAA Lake Superior 38-8-8-16 (ppg 0.42) -9 60pim

A free agent signing that was on no one’s radar, there’s not a lot of material written on Robinson (he was not ranked when draft eligible).  Linda Bouvet has a piece where Robinson talks a lot about himself:

It’s the first thing that everyone notices–scouts, coaches, other teams. ‘Wow, that’s a big guy.’ They expect me to play like that type of player. I’ve got to play like a big guy. I have to get stronger in the weightroom and be the one to get in the corners, get [my linemates] the puck. I love it though.

There’s also a fan post discussing him:

As has already been noted, he’s big…very big. He plays somewhat of a similar style to Kellen Lain, who has already signed with the Canucks – can lay some punishing hits, strong on the forecheck, good offensive upside. But where Robinson is better than Lain IMO is on the defensive side (Lain IMO is a better offensive player). Buddy is very good at supporting his defensemen & goalie, whether it’s in blocking shots or moving opposing players off the puck. He saw a lot of time on the Lakers’ penalty-killing unit this season and really excelled as a rock solid penalty killer. Two areas where he has vastly improved over the course of his collegiate career has been his skating and making better use of his towering frame. The size and strength he’s added has greatly enhanced his skating, making his strides more powerful and providing better balance on skates. That has, in turn, added to his foot speed. As a stronger player, he is better able to move players off the puck in all areas of the ice and it has really helped improve his overall play along the walls. Robinson also does a great job of using his size to protect puck and is tough to move off of it. If there’s one weakness that Robinson has (that should hopefully continue to improve in the AHL) it’s getting rid of pucks a little more quickly. At times this season, he’s held on to the puck too long, usually because he was indecisive. When he does move the puck quickly, he’s usually been pretty smart and confident about it.

This certainly fits what the bare stats indicate–that Robinson is someone who projects as a grinder, a depth player like David Dziurzynski.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)