–Hockey’s Future has yet another new writer for the Sens (Brian Fogarty, apparently replacing the one-and-done Jason Chen) and he offers up a draft preview for the team that isn’t so much a prediction as it is a state-of-the-union for the team beforehand. He offers a brief overview of the organisation (he makes a minor error saying the Sens haven’t drafted Russians or Czech’s under Murray–I believe he means selecting from their respective leagues, given Jakub Culek and Ruslan Bashkirov are both Czech and Russian). He provides a list of where the Sens pick this year and says the organisational weaknesses are replacing graduating players and adding skill on the blueline. Let’s hope that Brian lasts a little longer than his predecessors and I look forward to more in depth pieces to come.
–Varada takes a look at Ottawa’s blueline (in the midst of which he calls Nick Foligno a good top-six forward, which I hope is tongue-in-cheek) and points out that Patrick Wiercioch played some of the softest minutes in the league this season. He reasons this means Patty can’t handle much more than that, which is an interesting assumption for a young player. Can he play tougher minutes and have success? I have no idea, but this season Paul MacLean didn’t trust that he could. A better question might be how much do the Sens need Wiercioch to play a lot more tough minutes? Varada transitions his reasoning into the Sens taking a run at free agent Grant Clitsome, who at age 27 (now 28) had his second full season (is a lockout year a full year?) as an NHL-regular. Clitsome is an undersized defenseman who plays the left side and while he had a decent year with Winnipeg (44-4-12-16 +10; he was 63-4-13-17 -9 in 11/12) I don’t quite follow the reasoning that he can come to Ottawa and play those tough minutes. This is an NCAA grad who needed three years before he could crack the Columbus Blue Jacket blueline. It’s all damning with faint praise and I’m not sure one mediocre half-season is enough to entice Bryan Murray to slot him into the lineup in place of someone else. I will say this though: he is better than Mike Lundin.
–Travis Yost tackles the Ales Hemsky–Zack Smith trade rumours and believes the Sens would throw in another piece to get the Oilers to eat some of Hemsky‘s salary. He also thinks the trade would hinge on an extension for the Czech winger with Ottawa. I’d reject the idea behind the trade outright if Murray didn’t have a track record of bringing in broken down veterans. Hemsky hasn’t played 70+ games since 08-09 and his production has slipped the past two seasons even when healthy. Senschirp suggests that deal may be part of the puzzle that see’s the Sens grab the Oilers first round draft pick, but until more information comes from more reliable sources it remains entertaining speculation.
-In the same article Yost kicks the tires on the Sens picking up Marc-Andre Bergeron (pass), Jared Spurgeon (Wild would match), and Tom Gilbert (pass), none of which seem realistic or (in the first and third cases) particularly helpful.
–Darren M believes the Sens will take Ryan Pulock as their first round selection. No draft source I’ve seen has him at that position, but Red Line Report is the closest with him at 18th. Most of the draft guides (six of eight) have him picked prior to the Sens selection.
–Jared Crozier believes the Sens will pick Robert Hagg with their first round selection. The only draft guide that comes close to this is McKeen’s, which has him 19th, while only The Hockey News has him that early (picking him 12th); three of the guides consider him second round material.
–Jesse Spector rakes the Leafs over the coals for the Jonathan Bernier trade and really, unless Bernier becomes a great #1 goaltender there’s no question in my mind that it was a bad deal.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)