-The Sens traded Sergei Gonchar to the Dallas Stars for a conditional 6th round pick; the Stars subsequently signed Gonchar to a two-year deal. I applaud the Sens for getting something for the veteran (Scott Cullen agrees; they essentially retrieve the pick they wasted on Matt Kassian, albeit it’s a 2013 they acquired versus a 2014 they surrendered) and the move fits with my assumption that Gonchar was never part of Ottawa’s plans going forward.
–Chris Lund looks at the Sens shooting percentage this season and breaks down the numbers. He concludes that the Sens were with the NHL pack when it came to the quality of the opportunities, but (in his estimation) simply suffered from bad luck to finish at the bottom of the scoring efficiency barrel. He reminds us that this season is a small sample size and thus hard to judge from (which is entirely sensible).
-Speaking of shots, Corey Sznajder Tweets zone-entry plus shot-generation stats for the Sens in the Montreal series, which illustrates how effective Kyle Turris, Erik Karlsson, Milan Michalek, and Erik Condra were in that regard.
–Mark Parisi wonders about Bryan Murray’s future. The beginning of the article describes what lead to the rebuild and goes over some of the moves Murray made (for a full overview of Murray’s time as Sens GM go here). He wonders whether Tim Murray or Pierre Dorion would take over if Bryan decides that (at age seventy) it’s time to retire or move to a less stressful position. My feeling has long been that Tim will take over for his uncle when the time comes, but I agree with Mark that at this stage Bryan can punch his own ticket whenever he feels like it.
-Here’s my look at Red Line Report’s NHL draft guide.
-Here’s my comparison of the various NHL draft guides.
–Travis Yost documents the inconsistency of the Brendan Shanahan-fronted NHL disciplinary decisions. I’m not sure what more can be said about the NHL’s inability (or unwillingness) to police itself, but Travis does a nice job looking at the face of the current era.
-The conference finals were both short series’ this season, with the Bruins bouncing the Penguins in four straight while Chicago knocked off the defending cup champs in five. I was happy with both results and the NHL will be pleased in having two big markets in the finals. Hopefully the final will be more contested than it was last year. I prefer the Blackhawks style of play over Boston’s, but otherwise have no strong feeling either way for who I want to win. Incidentally, I wonder where writers who thought Jonathan Quick was on his way to another Conn Smythe will jump too now that the Kings have been eliminated.
-The debate about whether Penguins coach Dan Bylsma should be fired or not doesn’t seem like a difficult call to me. Other than yanking the overrated Marc-Andre Fleury, he didn’t make a lot of coaching adjustments during their playoff run. The Penguins simply overwhelmed the Islanders and Sens with talent, something they were unable to do against the defence-first Bruins. He has to pay the price, otherwise the blame moves upstairs to the GM.
–Ken Campbell reminds us that officiating continues to be awful in the playoffs. As much as I agree and sympathise with Campbell, I can’t remember a single time where the league has tried to officiate the playoffs with something resembling regular season form (maybe some language to that effect in Carolina’s cup run, but otherwise the NHL embraces the chaos).
-Corey Pronman has posted his 2013 NHL draft rankings and here’s his top-30 (keep in mind Pronman takes a dim view of goaltenders and defensemen at the draft–he explains his reasons if you click on his introduction link; I gave my opinion of his rating model last year):
1. Jonathan Drouin, Left Wing, Halifax-QMJHL
2. Nathan MacKinnon, Center, Halifax-QMJHL
3. Seth Jones, Defense, Portland-WHL
4. Valeri Nichushkin, Right Wing, Traktor-KHL
5. Aleksander Barkov, Center, Tappara-SM-Liiga
6. Elias Lindholm, Center, Brynas-SEL
7. Sean Monahan, Center, Ottawa-OHL
8. Rasmus Ristolainen, Defense, TPS-SM-Liiga
9. Max Domi, Center, London-OHL
10. Hunter Shinkaruk, Center, Medicine Hat-WHL
11. Darnell Nurse, Defense, Sault Ste. Marie-OHL
12. Ryan Pulock, Defense, Brandon-WHL
13. Andre Burakowsky, Left Wing, Malmo-Allsvenskan
14. Bo Horvat, Center, London-OHL
15. Alexander Wennberg, Center, Djurgardens-Allsvenskan
16. Nikita Zadorov, Defense, London-OHL
17. Pavel Buchnevich, Left Wing, Severstal-KHL
18. Adam Erne, Left Wing, Quebec-QMJHL
19. Valentin Zykov, Right Wing, Baie-Comeau-QMJHL
20. Josh Morrissey, Defense, Prince Albert-WHL
21. Robert Hagg, Defense, MODO-SEL
22. Anthony Mantha, Left Wing, Val-d’Or-QMJHL
23. Madison Bowey, Defense, Kelowna-WHL
24. Artturi Lehkonen, Left Wing, KalPa-SM-Liiga
25. J.T. Compher, Center, USA Under-18-USHL
26. Mirco Mueller, Defense, Everett-WHL
27. Jacob De La Rose, Left Wing, Leksands-Allsvenskan
28. Steven Santini, Defense, USA Under-18-USHL
29. Curtis Lazar, Center, Edmonton-WHL
30. Shea Theodore, Defense, Seattle-WHL
His list this year isn’t as unorthodox as 2012’s with Pavel Buchnevich as the only player Pronman picks in the first round that isn’t echoed elsewhere. I didn’t specifically break down his predictive success in 2012 as I didn’t use him as a source (he also only listed 125 players in 2012, unlike the 250 this year), but in terms of player X at position X he was 3/30 which was actually good for last year (only Bob McKenzie did better).
-In non-hockey news, I have no idea what Ottawa’s CFL franchise was thinking in picking the name “Redblacks” for the franchise–the only thing it brings to mind for me is a racial slur, but even if that doesn’t resonate with others it’s neither catchy nor iconic. Hopefully the team will be better than the name.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)
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