Sens Prospects: A Season in Review

The seasons have ended for Ottawa’s junior and college prospects and it’s time to take a look at how they’ve performed since they were drafted (for those who spent the year playing professionally you can see how they did here).  The prospects are listed chronologically from those who’ve spent the most time in the organisation to the newest group drafted last year (players in green are signed).  For those of you who want to read the scouting reports/profiles related to the players when drafted, I’ve included links in each comment.

Jeff Costello, LW, 6’0, DOB 1990, 5-146/09
2009-10 USHL Cedar Rapids 54-29-19-48 +18 149pim (3rd in points)
2010-11 NCAA Notre Dame 44-12-6-18 -4 56pim (11th)
2011-12 NCAA Notre Dame 28-5-7-12 -6 58 pim (9th)
2012-13 NCAA Notre Dame 33-11-19-30 +18 52pim (3rd)

It was a breakout season for the hard-working Costello who was among his team’s top scorers.  He was a plus player for the first time in his collegiate career and set highs in assists and points.  He has one more year of NCAA eligibility and given the glut of forwards in Ottawa’s system I’d expect him to play it.  He is the only 2009 draft pick yet to be signed.

Michael Sdao, LD, 6’4, DOB 1989, 7-191/09
2009-10 NCAA Princeton 30-5-4-9 -3 48pim (5th in d-points)
2010-11 NCAA Princeton 27-3-7-10 -1 65pim (5th)
2011-12 NCAA Princeton 30-10-10-20 -4 87pim (1st)
2012-13 NCAA Princeton 31-8-7-15 36pim (1st)
2012-13 AHL Binghamton 12-1-0-1 +4 23pim

The rough and tumble Sdao finished his collegiate career as Princeton’s top-scoring defenseman and joined Binghamton on an ATO.  While Sdao did not beat his career highs from the previous season, he remained the most important cog on his team’s blueline.  Sdao was easily able to push Ben Blood out of Binghamton’s lineup.

Jakub Culek, LW, 6’4, DOB 1992, 3-76/10
2010-11 QMJHL Rimouski 55-7-15-22 +2 37pim (11th)
2011-12 QMJHL Rimouski 55-13-27-40 +3 58pim (5th)
2012-13 QMJHL Cape Breton 9-3-4-7 -2 5pim (t-13th)
2012-13 AHL Binghamton 3-0-0-0 Even 10pim

It was a weird year for Culek, who was returned to Rimouski by Binghamton, but they had no room on their roster for him so he remained in limbo for weeks before being traded to Cape Breton.  Culek proceeded to suffer an injury and miss most of the rest of the season, eventually joining Binghamton in time to play a few games.  I’m not sure what the upside of Culek is, but he’s envisioned as a depth, checking forward and he’ll get his chance to be that next season.

Bryce Aneloski, RD, 6’2, DOB 1990, 7-196/10
2010-11 NCAA Nebraska-Omaha 39-2-17-19 +15 14pim (2nd)
2011-12 NCAA Nebraska-Omaha 38-6-14-20 -5 12pim (1st)
2012-13 NCAA Nebraska-Omaha 38-5-16-21 +8 10pim (2nd)
2012-13 CHL Americans 7-2-1-3 +3 2pim

Aneloski‘s production has remained consistent throughout his time at Nebraska-Omaha.  Because he played a semester with Providence the year before he was drafted, his collegiate career is over and he signed with the CHL’s Allen Americans.  This means either that the Sens have cut him loose or else he was a victim of Ottawa being so close to their contract ceiling.  Given the blueliners likely to be in Binghamton next year (Ceci, one of Borowiecki/Gryba, Eckford, Claesson, Sdao, Wideman, Rutkowski, and possibly Blood) I’m leaning towards the former.

Stefan Noesen, RW, 6’1, DOB 1993, 1-21/11
2011-12 OHL Plymouth 63-38-44-82 +18 74pim (1st)
2012-13 OHL Plymouth 51-25-28-53 +7 43pim (6th)

Injury and playing on a stacked team slowed down Noesen‘s production this year, but he remains a dominant player.  Binghamton’s post-season didn’t last long enough for him to join them, but there’s no doubt that Noesen will be an important member of the B-Sens next season.

Matt Puempel, LW, 6’0, DOB 1993, 1-24/11
2011-12 OHL Peterborough 30-17-16-33 -3 31pim (6th)
2011-12 AHL Binghamton 9-1-0-1 +1 2pim
2012-13 OHL Kitchener 51-35-11-46 +5 43pim (3rd)
2012-13 AHL Binghamton 2-0-0-0 +1 0pim

After forcing a trade to Kitchener, Puempel enjoyed a strong season with the Rangers (his goals to assist ratio is ridiculous).  Puempel joined Binghamton after his OHL season was over and enjoyed a strong performance in the B-Sens loss against Wilkes-Barre in the playoffs.  Top minutes await him in the AHL in the fall.

Max McCormick, LW, 5’11, DOB 1992, 6-171/11
2011-12 NCAA Ohio 27-10-12-22 -6 31pim (t-3rd)
2012-13 NCAA Ohio 40-15-16-31 -1 26pim (3rd)

It was s strong sophomore season for the gritty McCormick, who set highs in goals, assists and points.  He’s a couple of years away, but appears to be well on target.

Jordan Fransoo, RD, 6’2, DOB 1993, 7-186/11
2011-12 WHL Brandon/Victoria 71-3-18-21 -2 45pim (2nd)
2012-13 WHL Victoria 67-8-14-22 -21 80pim (t-3rd)

Fransoo did not have a great season for Victoria and appears to be one of the few busts from Murray’s scouting staff.  Despite establishing a career high in goals and improving his points-per-game, he does not seem to have improved (a team worst -21).  I would be shocked if he was offered a contract.

Ryan Dzingel, CL, 6’0, DOB 1992, 7-204/11
2011-12 NCAA Ohio 33-7-17-24 +4 32pim (2nd)
2012-13 NCAA Ohio 40-16-22-38 -9 22pim (1st)

It was a great sophomore season for Dzingel, who lead his team in points while establishing new highs in goals and assists.  Like his teammate McCormick, he is a couple of years away from turning pro.

Cody Ceci, DR, DOB 1993, 1-15/12
2012-13 OHL 69-19-45-64 -8 12pim (1st)
2012-13 Binghamton 3-1-1-2 +2 0pim

With the Ottawa 67s season crashing and burning early, Ceci was traded to Owen Sound.  He did not look out of place in limited action with Binghamton, where I expect him to play next season.  For scouting reports on Ceci and the other 2012 picks go here.

Chris Driedger, GL, DOB 1994, 3-76/12
2012-13 36-14-4 2.51 .915

Made significant improvement in all categories (GAA, save percentage, and wins), but remains at least a year away from turning pro.

Jarrod Maidens, CR, DOB 1994, 3-82/12
2012-13 did not play (injured)

He missed the entire season recovering from concussion symptoms.

Tim Boyle, DR, DOB 1993, 4-106/12
2012-13 NCAA 15-0-2-2 -4 25pim

Limited play in his rookie season in the NCAA, but the fact that he played at all is a complement to his play (in comparison, Brad Peltz did not dress for a game in his first year at Yale).

Robbie Baillargeon, CR, DOB 1993, 5-136/12
2012-13 USHL 55-18-23-41 -15 48pim (1st)

Somewhat buried on Indiana’s roster, a mid-season trade to Omaha did wonders for him.  He will begin his collegiate career next season.

Francois Brassard, GL, DOB 1994, 6-166/12
2012-13 QMJHL 33-18-4 2.73 .909

Made slight improvements statistically (GAA and save percentage), but won and played many more games than in his draft year.  Like Dreidger he will spend at least one more year in junior.

Mikael Wikstrand, DL, DOB 1993, 7-196/12
2012-13 Allsvenskan 45-11-14-25 +9 35pim

Almost all his unexpected offensive production occurred while the NHL lockout was on and he had teammates like Anze Kopitar.  Showed well in the WJC, but will spend at least one more season in Sweden.

Troy Rutkowski, DL, DOB 1992, FA 2013
2012-13 WHL 72-20-46-66 +32 43pim (1st)

Unsigned by Colorado (5-137/10), Rutkowski was the Sens lone CHL free agent acquisition this season.  Binghamton’s season did not last long enough for Rutkowski to make his pro debut, but his addition creates a logjam of blueliners who will join the AHL ranks next season.  An offensive-minded player, he set career highs in goals and assists in his final season of junior.

Buddy Robinson, RW, DOB 1991, FA 2013
2012-13 NCAA 38-8-8-16 60pim (7th)
2012-13 Binghamton 6-2-2-4 +2 8pim

A collegiate free agent who left after his sophomore season (just like Cole Schneider last year), the 6’5 Robinson seemed to have no trouble adjusting to the pro game, appearing in two of the three playoff games with Binghamton.  His offensive numbers in the NCAA aren’t overwhelming, so he seems to be in the mould of a David Dziurzynski.

Andrew Hammond, GL, DOB 1988, FA 2013
2012-13 NCAA 10-15-3 2.47 .917

Something of an odd signing, Hammond‘s collegiate numbers aren’t overwhelming, but he held the fort on a bad Bowling Green team.  His competitiveness is his distinguishing feature and he’ll be part of Binghamton’s rotation next season.

This is a massive list of prospects, but the numbers are going to drop significantly next season (through graduation or by letting players walk).  Sdao, Culek, Noesen, Pumpel, Ceci, Rutkowski, Robinson, and Hammond will all be in the pro ranks, while (possibly) Bryce Aneloski and Jordan Fransoo will drop from the organisation.  The players that remain are all currently on track (except Maidens who hasn’t played).  The pipeline remains open as the organisation continues to do a great job keeping it stocking its prospect pool.


Senators News: May 10th; Ottawa 6 Montreal 1

-Ottawa beat Montreal 6-1 last night to close out the series and move on to the second round.  Craig Anderson made 33 saves for the win, while Cory Conacher (2), Zack Smith, Kyle Turris, Daniel Alfredsson, and Erik Condra scored the goals.  The Habs dominated the first period, but fell behind 2-1 regardless.  Just like in the last game, Ottawa slowly took control of the play and ran over the Habs in the third period (Matt Kassian finished the game on the powerplay and had two assists in the game!).  I thought there might be a chippy ending in a lopsided victory, but the Habs simply had nothing left to give by the end.  Here’s the boxscore.

-I think Erik Condra summed up last night (and the series) succinctly:

Until we get going, he [Anderson] has kept us in games and that’s all a credit to him.

-Speaking of Anderson, he said all the right things after the victory:

I can’t do it alone. I can’t score goals. I can’t be the guy that wins game for the team. The team has got to win games for each other. That feels good.

Sylvain St-Laurent offers his views of the series as a whole and believes game three was a watershed moment–Ottawa winning the kind of gritty game they never have before in the playoffs.

Mark Parisi offers up his summation of the series and among his “what went wrong” notes I’ll quibble with one: variable intensity.  For the first time that I can remember there was no questioning the intensity the Sens brought throughout each and every game.  From Mark’s specific comments I think he’s actually referring to the quality of their play, but to me that’s quite distinctive from playing intensely.

Allan Muir thought that when it mattered most–in the third periods–the Sens dominated and that in the end that made them the better and more deserving team.

Varada‘s post-mortem’s includes the spot-on point that Michel Therrien did himself and his reputation no favours.  Initially I thought Therrien was effective in deflecting criticism of his team by creating a sideshow, but eventually that sideshow overwhelmed everything else and created a conduit for excuses.  Even in defeat Therrian couldn’t help himself, making an excuse before saying he wasn’t making excuses:

The last two weeks we had a lot of bad luck. My approach with the team and our approach since day one [has been injuries] are not an excuse. I don’t think the players with their attitude used that as an excuse.

Calling anything bad luck is making an excuse.  It’s not like a single play determined the series, so luck shouldn’t be a factor.  Andrei Markov‘s comments seem a lot more sensible:

Yeah we played hard and sometimes we played better than them, but the final score is we lost the series. We can only blame ourselves.

Postmedia News credits the Sens goaltending and depth for winning them the series.

-The Sens might get Jason Spezza back for the second round.  Spezza is now practicing with the black aces, but there’s no time table for his return to action.  It’s exciting news for Ottawa, but even a fully healthy roster is going to struggle against the juggernaut that is the Pittsburgh Penguins (their most likely opponent).

Steve Simmons speculates that Hockey Night in Canada won’t be happy if the Sens are the only Canadian team to make it to the second round (as seems likely).  I think he’s right, but that’s largely because HNIC has made no investment in Ottawa, approaching the team with distasteful indifference.

-The NHL is trying to finalize a transfer agreement with the various professional leagues, with the KHL (as usual) posing the biggest stumbling block.

-In unsurprising news, the NHL is nearing an agreement for their players to participate in the Olympics.  I’ve never doubted that would happen and it appears as though the formal arrangement will soon be made.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)