Senators News: June 23rd

-Today marks my second anniversary of Eye on the Sens and I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the fact.  I’ve published 861 articles (including this one) over that time, with the most popular remaining those about the NHL draft and the Sens prospects (either profiles or things like the development camp).  The coverage of prospects in the blogosphere has marginally improved since I started (greatly so in regards to the development camp), but local media remains far behind.  The site’s traffic is largely via search engines or people re-posting on HFboards (along with a solid core of regulars who come here every day–thanks to you folks, especially Sensfan90 and T-Money, who comment most frequently; Lachy buddy, who was here first, wherever you are I hope things are going well).  Here are a few things from the past two years that stand out for me:
-Lyle Richardson (the man behind Spector’s Hockey) coming to the site after I jokingly suggested he was drunk for agreeing with Don Brennan’s roster speculation back in 2012
-I used to chide The Silver Seven‘s Bobby Kelly on some unforced errors in his articles (to which he responded with good humour); he’s become that site’s best poster
-Speaking of chiding, WTYKY‘s Varada did not take kindly to some good-natured ribbing from me back in February when he was discussing the Sens rebuild; I haven’t heard from him since, but both he and WTYKY are well worth checking out so I encourage you all to do so
The 6th Sens Scott got very agitated with me back in November when I took Marc Spector to task for a sloppy opinion piece on the lockout; all three of us (five including the NHL and NHLPA) have managed to survive
Twitter followers were slow to accrue until my friend Brianne went to bat for me–anyone who doesn’t follow her should
-Back in the beginning of the blog The Silver Seven‘s Peter Raaymaker told me he was going to reference the site…and then had to be reminded of the fact a number of times before he did so; may his vowels grow like the mighty oak
-Periodically someone will find my undrafted success stories article and a slew of non-Sens fans will flood the site to check it out, which is gratifying
-The draft remains the most fun thing that I do here; I’m proud of my predictive success and I enjoy the process that goes into it–this year’s addition awaits Bob McKenzie’s list before appearing
-Lastly, there’s no point in a site like this unless people are reading it–thanks to all of you

Back to the usual Sens news:

Nichols echoes the point I made on Wednesday that there’s nothing new about Bryan Murray discussing the possibility of moving up in the draft and I like his point that Murray has taken a page out of Joe Sakic’s playbook:

At the very least, Murray’s following the Colorado Avalanche’s lead in using the mainstream media as a mechanism to let teams know they’re interested and open to making a move.

The organisation has worked hard to downplay the chances of moving up, but I’m sure the speculation will remain ripe well into draft day.

-After missing more than a season and a half due to post-concussion syndrome, Sens prospect Jarrod Maidens (3-82/12) will be ready to play in the OHL next season.  Much like Mark Stone in 2010, Maidens slide far down the draft due to injury–will he pay off in the same way?  It’s hard to say given how a player’s performance after a serious concussion is difficult to predict, but (according to the article) much like Sidney Crosby many of his issues are neck-related and that at least is being treated.

-There are still a few Sens bloggers clamoring for the team to pick up Daniel Briere and I remain mystified why they think his game is suddenly going to improve (even Don Brennan doesn’t like the idea).

Scott Burnside examines the NHL’s goofy approach to officiating and offers the following:

This from an NHL team executive with ties to the NFL competition committee: An NFL referee relays a story from a preseason meeting in which the message to football’s on-field officials was this: Don’t officiate the games like they do in the NHL, where calls change based on the time of season and situation in the game. In other words, enforce the rules regardless of calendar, clock or score.

Maybe the game isn’t the worse for this if players and coaches are on board. But here’s the problem: If it’s OK with coaches and players (and, presumably, the league), it merely adds to the notion for the casual or novice fan that hockey is an impenetrable fortress.

It’s the ultimate in passive aggressiveness to say we don’t want referees to interfere with the game and yet by not interfering referees of course sometimes play an integral role in the outcome.

It would be nice if, someday, fans didn’t have to adjust their sensibilities when watching the playoffs, just as it’d be nice for officials not to reset their meters once the puck drops in the postseason. And it would be nice if, someday, the league weren’t held up as a negative barometer by other pro sports leagues.

I’m not sure what more needs to be said, although articles like this will continue to be produced year after year because internally the NHL prefers this system.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: June 21st

Scott Cullen offers his off-season plan for the Sens and opens with the following:

While it would be unreasonable for the Senators to expect their goaltender to be as great as they were in 2013, there are reasons for optimism, including the team’s strong possession stats and a league-worst shooting percentage. How does it benefit the Senators to have scored on just 7.0% of their shots? Well, it’s unlikely that they will have the worst shooting percentage again next season, particularly in a season that should include a healthy Spezza and Karlsson. “We need to score more goals,” GM Bryan Murray said at his season-ending press conference. “We have to find a way to create a little more offence and that may mean trying to find a player out there that will do that.” But part of it also will be counting on a couple of the younger players that showed they can play in the league to step up and do a little more with the puck than they were capable of or able to do this year.” He’s right, the Senators do need to find more scoring. The good news is that they are in position to address that need so that they are poised to be a playoff contender for years to come.

It’s a thorough, well-written article with only one tiny error (Kassian was not a waiver pick-up, but was acquired by trade–I can understand why Cullen would assume the former however).  He thinks the Sens need a top-six forward and a top-four defenseman (which is hard to argue with, although patience with younger players is another option).  Cullen believes Jim O’Brien and Cory Conacher are trade bait–I agree with the former, but I’m not sure the Sens would move the latter just after acquiring him.

Ryan Classic rates the Sens forwards (as with the previous articles I’ve ignored players who have departed the organisation): Pageau (A), Alfredsson (A-), Erik Condra (B+), Kyle Turris (B+), Mika Zibanejad (B), Colin Greening (B), Jakob Silfverberg (B), Jason Spezza (B), Milan Michalek (C), Zack Smith (C), Chris Neil (C), Cory Conacher (C), Jim O’Brien (C-), David Dziurzynski (C-), and Matt Kassian (C-).  The grades are reasonable for the most part, although Ryan’s explanation for each player varies considerably in terms of the depth of his analysis.

Travis Yost looks at Bryan Murray’s desire to move up in the draft and suggests (correctly I believe) that the glut of forward prospects is the most likely pool of players he’ll look to in order to acquire a higher draft pick (assuming anyone is willing to trade).  Yost thinks the Sens should look to draft a blueliner if they get a higher pick, but I’m not that attached to the position so long as it’s a great prospect.  It’s worth noting Murray isn’t the only GM trying to move up in the draft (Buffalo’s Darcy Regier is another).

Varada speculates on potential players the Sens could target for trade and opens with David Booth of all people.  He goes from the injury-prone, disappointing forward to Ryan Malone (I don’t see him waiving his NTC for Ottawa), Joe Pavelski (don’t see it; he’s coming off a strong playoff performance and has a reasonable contract), Devin Setoguchi (hard to imagine the Wild giving up on him, especially at his price), Dustin Brown (!), Derrick Brassard (unlikely given that the Rangers just acquired him), Ales Hemsky, Scottie Upshall, Mike Cammalleri, Chris Stewart (hard to believe the Blues would give up on the RFA), Radim Vrbata (has an NTC he won’t waive for Ottawa), Blake Wheeler (another RFA), Bryan Little (RFA), and Alex Burmistrov (not sure how high Murray is on enigmatic Russians these days).  Most of the players on the list seem very unlikely to me, but someone like Hemsky (big price tag, injury prone, on the downside of his career) is a possibility.

Ken Campbell looks at the situation in Phoenix with the Coyotes and believes they will move to Seattle (despite a variety of arena issues that exist there).  Whether that move is for this season or the next remains to be seen, but it’s how things look at the moment.  Presumably the NHL wants a big fat expansion fee payday from Quebec City rather than simply moving an existing team there.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: June 19th

Bryan Murray talked about potentially making a trade to move up in the draft:

I will call a number more [of GMs] and see if anybody wants to move. There are certain reasons to move fairly high and if you don’t do that, then maybe we’re OK where we are. I have talked and nobody has really gotten back to me. I don’t suspect that anybody will be willing to move down, but you never know. We might have an asset that would address a need. Where we are right now (at No. 17) I don’t think we’ll get the Top 6 guy, but maybe that’s a possibility if we’re patient enough in three or four years. We might be able to get a better player if we want to move up, but you have to be willing to pay a price for that as well.

I don’t think this approach is anything different from Murray’s norm–he’s kicking the tires to see what shakes out, but as he admits it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to move up.  The other thing I’d take from his comments is that he doesn’t see the offensive depth at forward in the short term among the prospects the Sens have now.

Ryan Classic grades the Sens defensemen (I’ve skipped the departed Sergei Gonchar and Mike Lundin): Marc Methot (A), Erik Karlsson (A-), Patrick Wiercioch (B), Chris Phillips (B), Andre Benoit (B-), Eric Gryba (C+), and Jared Cowen (C).  There’s some variance from my own grades, but my only real problem with his assessment is Phillips, who by Ryan’s own standards was as good as Gonchar this season (which makes no sense at all).

-Former Sen and Jeremy Milks/Don Brennan favourite Zenon Konopka may be on his way out of Minnesota as the Wild attempt to move money to be cap compliant for next season.  The gritty center produced zero points in 39 regular season and playoff games.

Hockey’s Future has posted its mock draft for the NHL entry draft (with their first pick apparently off-target already after Joe Sakic said he’s leaning towards not picking Seth Jones) and have Sens selecting Chris Bigras with the 17th overall pick, saying:

Ideally, the Senators want someone who can play both ends well, as current defensive prospects Cody Ceci and Patrick Wiercioch are considered more offensive-minded defensemen. Mirco Mueller, Shea Theodore and Bigras all improved their draft stock, but Bigras has the better two-way game and plays close by in Owen Sound. If there is a forward with good offensive upside that is available with the 17th pick – perhaps Andre Burakowsky, whose father played for the Senators in the 1990’s – then Ottawa may take him. But with a wide cast of forward prospects breaking through this season and in the near future, the more pressing need is defense.

A couple of notes: this has Bigras taken well ahead of every draft resource I’ve seen (the closest is Hockey Prospects who have him at #26), secondly, the Sens drafting philosophy is to take the best player available, which makes HF’s notion of need questionable.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: June 18th

fmblair examines the notion that the Sens have too many centers on their roster and dynamites the notion very effectively:

A quick look at the Boston Bruins’ depth chart reveals that Ottawa’s divisional rival mixed in 7 centres amongst their top-12 forwards. Their counterpart in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Chicago Blackhawks, carried six centres throughout the regular season. While it’s true that each individual player has a different ability to adapt to a new position, there’s certainly precedent for carrying more than 5 centres and playing one or more of them on the wing, I don’t think that Ottawa’s dealing with an unmanageable situation on their hands.

Blair doesn’t think the Sens depth at center is very strong (beyond the five aforementioned) and it’s hard to argue the fact (Stephane Da Costa and Derek Grant would stand as the top two in Binghamton, although the organisation has a number of wingers who have played the position and could slide over).

The Silver Seven has started grading Sens players, beginning with the goaltenders.  I’ll skip the departed Ben Bishop, but they award both Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner A’s, which is on target.  They wisely note that Anderson is unlikely to ever reach this year’s numbers again.

-The Sens have changed the name of their building again (this time in honour of Canadian Tire); no word on whether Canadian Tire money can be used at the arena, but I’m sure many fans are raiding their stashes in the hopes that it can.  Some of us will find the association amusing long term, but for most it will be as meaningful as every other name the arena has had (which is to say, not at all).

-While the paths of former Sens are frequently followed in blogs and elsewhere, less attention gets paid to former B-Sens who have since gone elsewhere.  Here are a few players from the recent past whose subsequent paths I find interesting:

Mike Brodeur (09-11) – given credit for saving the Sens playoff hopes in 09-10, he struggled with injuries the next season (losing his job to Barry Brust) and was allowed to walk.  He spent the bulk of the following season with Las Vegas of the ECHL and then managed only a couple of games this year where he was awful with Orlando (which likely means it’s the end of the line for his pro career)
Geoff Kinrade (09-11) – a NCAA free agent signing the Sens qualified as an RFA, the Calder Cup-winning blueliner went to Europe anyway, joining HC Plzen in the Czech Republic; he moved to the more lucrative Swiss league the following season (with Bern) where he remains
Craig Schira (09-12) – a WHL free agent signing, his play regressed in Binghamton and he was allowed to walk as an RFA; he signed with Frisk Asker in Norway and after dominating that league will now play for HPK in the SM-Liiga
Mat Robinson (09-10) – primarily an Elmira (ECHL) player, he jumped to Sparta Sarpsborg in Norway the following season and converted a dominating performance into playing for Timra in the Allsvenskan in Sweden; despite questionable defensive skills he’s parlayed his European experience into a KHL contract with Dinamo Riga
Rob Klinkhammer (11-12) – a mid-season acquisition meant to help the struggling B-Sens, he spent some time in Ottawa before the season ended and then was allowed to walk.  Phoenix signed him and he translated a strong season in Portland into time with the NHL club, earning himself a one-way deal for next season
Shaun Heshka (11-12) – picked up as an emergency replacement after the unexpected retirement of Lee Sweatt, he was traded to Peoria after only ten games due to his awful play.  This year he wound up winning the SM-Liiga’s best defenseman award which he’s converted into a KHL contract

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: June 17th

-Paul MacLean won the Jack Adams trophy as the NHL’s coach of the year, while Daniel Alfredsson won the Mark Messier award for leadership.  Both wins are well-deserved and it’s a nice pat on the back from the hockey establishment.

Travis Yost dives into team shooting percentage in the NHL in order to make some sense out of it.  He believes the idea of shot quality is overrated, with the evidence illustrating that puck possession and goaltending are what’s really relevant to a team’s success.

-There has been a proliferation of mock drafts, but not many by anyone notable.  NHL.com‘s latest (consisting of Adam Kimmelman, Mike G. Morreale, and Steven Hoffner) has the Sens picking: Max Domi (x2) or Kerby Rychel.  Last year Kimmelman correctly predicted the Sens would take Cody Ceci in the first round.

Dave Young wonders why there are so many UFA speculation stories surrounding the Sens and doesn’t hit on the most obvious reason: bloggers and journalists have to write about something and there’s just not that much news to report.

-Speaking of idle speculation, Mark Parisi imagines a world where Mika Zibanejad is trade bait for any top player on the St. Louis Blues.  I have no idea why he believes the Blues have an interest in Mika (or the Sens in moving him), but for those who like to dream that dream, enjoy!

-More European free agents have come off the market, with Reto Suri signing with Tampa and Joacim Eriksson going to Vancouver.

-Nashville somehow turned Ottawa castaway Bobby Butler into an asset (T. J. Brennan).  Neither Florida or Nashville have to sign their new players (both are RFA’s), but it would be odd to make the transaction without that intent.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: June 12th

Kaspars Daugavins talked about the differences between Ottawa and Boston:

Well, the first thing probably was that the guys are really serious. There is a lot on the line on this team; they want to win. I saw that right away when I came in. I knew these guys are in for a job and were more serious than Ottawa maybe. I know these guys can win. They work hard in practice. They work hard after practice in June. I knew this would be a good team to play for.

I agree with Nichols that this isn’t Daugavins taking a shot at his former teammates, but rather him contrasting where the organisations are right now (Cup contender versus rebuilding franchise).

-Lacklustre Senator Mike Lundin has read the tea leaves and seen no future in the NHL and signed a KHL deal with Barys Astana.

worsteverything contemplates potential free agent signings for the Sens, which makes for fun reading, but I don’t think any of the players mentioned is coming to the capital.

Nichols believes the Sens need a leftwinger and pitches for Patrik Elias, who fits the kind of past-his-prime talent Murray has managed to land in the past.

-Speaking of free agents, any Sens fans who are expecting Ottawa to be a successful player on the free agent market needs to reconsider.  Murray nibbled at inexpensive fill-ins this season and that’s prior to the full development/flood of top-end prospects entering the organisation.  The Sens might add an inexpensive veteran blueliner or forward this off-season, or they may sit tight and do nothing.

-Here’s my look at the Sens draft post-lockout draft success (05-08).

-Here’s my look at The Hockey Writers various draft pieces.

David Johnson offers some words on the statistical analysis wars that go on in assessing player-talent in the NHL.  I can’t condense his arguments sensibly (I suggest you read it yourself), but I will quote his conclusion:

The possession method primarily provides value when dealing with small sample sizes as it will reduce small sample size and random variance issues. Shot differential metrics are inherently a flawed metric though because shot differential isn’t the end goal of the player (goal differential is what matters in the win/loss column) and shot quality and ability to drive/suppress shooting percentages exists and are real. There is nothing wrong with using possession metrics as an evaluation tool so long as we are aware of this limitation just as there is nothing wrong with using goal based metrics as an evaluation tool so long as we are aware of its sample size, randomness and uncertainty limitations. Neither are perfect, both have their uses, both have their limitations and in reality both should be considered in any player evaluation.

I agree with Johnson that one method does not dismiss the other when making assessments.

-A number of European free agents have been signed over the last month or two and the number may be fairly high this year with the cap shrinking.  Here’s the current list of signees: Antti Raanta (Chicago), Reto Berra (Calgary), Ilari Melart (Columbus), Anton Belov (Edmonton), Michael Raffl (Philadelphia), and Petter Emanuelsson (San Jose).

-The Penguins threw my prediction for a loop by re-signing Dan Bylsma.  To my mind this puts Ray Shero on the firing line if things don’t work out, although it’s worth keeping in mind a new contract doesn’t guarantee much for a head coach.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Looking at Ottawa’s Draft Success (2005-08)

There are many articles reviewing draft accuracy (like TSN’s Scott Cullen‘s last year) and as engaging as they are I’ve always had problems with the way they are defined and presented. Examinations of the draft that cover a long period of time fail to account for the changes in the league and the draft itself, so the comparisons often aren’t apt. When articles cover more recent drafts (Hockey Futures does them at five-year intervals) they are forced to make judgements on players whose futures are yet to be defined (for example, Colin Greening had not started his pro career by that time). All this preamble is to make two key points: 1) the attitude and approach to the NHL draft changed seismically after the 2004-05 lockout, 2) the typical make-or-break moment for a draft pick varies considerably, with the most basic level depending on what league they were drafted from. To expand on the second point: CHL draftees generally take five-years to develop (allowing for two more years of junior and then the full length of their ELC); college-bound players can take six to eight years, depending on how much time they spend in the NCAA; European players used to be even more varied when teams kept their rights forever, but with transfer deals signed with the DEL, SEL, and the SM-Liiga (where rights are only retained for two years) their usual range is now like the CHL (five years), but there are exceptions (like the KHL or players like Carl Soderberg who didn’t sign with Boston until he was 27).

Given the above, how have the Sens done with their selections? I think I can make judgements on John Muckler’s last two drafts and Bryan Murray’s first (along with a look at his second). How am I defining a successful pick?  Any skater who has played 200+ NHL games (along with some judgement calls; goaltenders are particularly difficult).  With that many games the player has managed at least two and a half seasons of NHL work and that’s a decent return on the investment.  So, without further adieu:

2005
Muckler clearly had a hard-on for international tournaments, as every player except the one still with the Sens (Greening) played in those tournaments. Pre-KHL Muckler gambled on taking Russians who slid down the draft, but only one (Zubov) ever suited up for the organisation. It was not a great draft for the Sens by any standard. A few stats: there are 49/230 (21.3%) number of regular NHLers from the draft (you can judge for yourself here). By round: 1st 19/30, 2nd 8/31, 3rd 5/30, 4th 6/34, 5th 5/36, 6th 1/31, 7th 5/36. Players who have played over 200 games: 36 (15 1st, 7 2nd, 4 3rd, 6 4th, 2 5th, 1 6th, 3 7th); played 100-199 games: 19 (5 1st, 2 2nd, 2 3rd, 1 4th, 5 5th, 1 6th, 3 7th).

1-9 Brian Lee (DR, US high school/USHL; WJC) – NHL (Tampa Bay); 209 NHL games played; marginal NHLer (6-7 d-man)
An enigmatic player who still hasn’t defined what kind of pro player he is (if he is one). He’s big, but not physical. He makes a solid first pass, but is unable to produce offensively. He can play a limited role in the NHL, but does not dominate in the AHL. His career, for however long it goes, will likely remain on the margins. Many Sens fans groused about Lee because of the fantastic players taken after him (Anze Kopitar and Marc Staal in particular), but he’s not the worst player taken in the first round (3 never played a game, 6 more played less than 50), and one can argue whether he’s better or worse than Jack Skille who was taken by Chicago at #7. To me, the pick isn’t a complete failure, but it’s several steps removed from what it could or should have been.
3-70 Vitali Anikeyenko (DR, Russia tier-3; U-18) – deceased (Lokomotiv plane crash); bust
Other than attending one development camp (in 2005), the Sens didn’t get a sniff of Anikeyenko, who spent the bulk of his career playing for Lokomotiv (which tragically cost him his life). Whether he had NHL potential or not remains an open question, but judging by his KHL numbers I’d suggest he projected at best a bottom-pairing defender. Naturally there were better picks available, including Conn Smyth winner Jonathan Quick (#72), but between his selection and the Sens next pick, only 3 (of 24) NHL regulars were selected. The pick has to be viewed as a failure, both for the Sens inability to anticipate the problems of signing Russian players and also for not ascertaining just how interested Anikeyenko was in coming to North America.
4-95 Cody Bass (CR, OHL; U-18) – two-way contract (Columbus); 48 NHL games; AHLer
He spent four years in the Senators organisation where he helped Binghamton win a Calder Cup, but Bass remains a fringe player. Not productive or durable enough for full-time fourth line duty in the NHL, he’s destined to bounce back and forth between leagues as a “character guy”. Players like Bass are good for their organisations, but not the kind that’s worth a draft pick. In terms of who was available between his pick and the Sens next there was depth blueliner Chris Butler (#96). In terms of style of play, the Sens would have been better off picking Jared Boll (#101).
4-98 Ilya Zubov (C/LW, Russia tier-2; U-18); – KHL (Moscow); 11 NHL games; AHLer
The most successful of Muckler’s Russian picks, he spent two years in the organisation where he established himself as a productive AHLer. Like Bass he probably could have stayed in North America and been an occasional call-up, but he clearly did not have the talent to become a regular NHLer. There were 5 regular NHL players over the next 17 picks (the best is Keith Yandle at #105), so plenty of better talent was available.
4-115 Janne Kolehmainen (LW, SM-Liiga; WJC) – SM-Liiga (KalPa) – bust
The last Finn selected by the Senators organisation, there’s never been any interest expressed by the Sens to sign the big winger, whose performance flatlined the year after he was drafted. If there’s any solace in the wasted pick it’s that only 1 NHL regular was selected over the following 21 picks (Darren Helm at #132).
5-136 Tomas Kudelka (DL, Czech junior; U-18) – Czech Elite League (HC Vitkovice) – marginal AHLer
The second-last Czech picked by the Sens (Jakub Culek was the last), he was a solid junior player in the WHL who did not excel in his three years in the AHL. In a lot of ways he is a less-talented Brian Lee, as he has good size, but isn’t overly physical and his offensive game did not translate at a higher level. There are 5 NHL regulars over the next 50 picks, but none of those players match the talent of those missed earlier.
6-186 Dmitri Megalinsky (DL, Russia tier-3; WJC) – KHL (Novokuznetsk) – bust
Here again the Sens can be criticised for not doing their homework, because unlike Anikeyenko (one development camp) or Zubov (two years in the AHL) they never got a sniff of Megalinsky, who became a KHL regular. There were 2 NHL regulars selected through the next 18 picks and Sergei Kostitsyn (#200) certainly would have been a better role of the dice. Whether Megalinsky had the chops to play in the NHL remains an unresolved, but doubtful proposition.
7-204 Colin Greening (C/LW, CISAA) – NHL (Ottawa); 150 NHL games – NHL regular (top-9 forward)
The final role of the dice was the only true payoff in the draft. I suspect Greening is the only player drafted right out of Upper Canada College. He spent five years developing before joining the organisation and the result is more than could have been expected, as Greening will have a long career as a solid top-nine forward. Two other NHL regulars came after his selection, with the best being the last (Patric Hornqvist at #230).

2006
Muckler’s last draft. He broke his obsession with international tournament players and Russians, with all North American selections save Daugavins. In Ottawa terms this is a much better draft with potentially 3 regular NHLers coming out of it. A few stats: there are 39/213 (18.3%) number of regular NHLers from the draft (you can judge for yourself here). By round: 1st 19/30, 2nd 10/33, 3rd 3/30, 4th 2/30, 5th 0/30, 6th 3/30, 7th 2/30. Players who played 200 or more games: 31 (18 1st, 6 2nd, 3 3rd, 1 4th, 2 6th, 1 7th); played 100-199 games: 10 (1 1st, 5 2nd, 1 3rd, 1 4th, 1 6th, 1 7th).

1-28 Nick Foligno (LW, OHL) – NHL (Columbus); 394 NHL games – NHL regular (top-9 forward)
Arguably the second best pick of the draft from that point onward (behind Milan Lucic at #50), he also trumps a number of players taken before him (3 never played in the NHL, 5 have played fewer than 30 NHL games and he’s clearly better than James Sheppard (#9)). Given that, he is a very successful selection despite his inability to firmly nail down a top-six role.
3-68 Eric Gryba (DR, USHL) – NHL/AHL (Ottawa/Binghamton); 31 NHL games – NHL prospect (5-6 D)
The big blueliner spent four full years in the NCAA before graduating and helping Binghamton to their first Calder Cup. He is on the horizon for full NHL duty coming into next season, with Mark Borowiecki as his biggest competition on the depth chart.  Three regular NHLers were picked over the next 23 selections, with Brad Marchand (#71) the best.
3-91 Kaspars Daugavins (LW, Belarus; WJC) – NHL (Boston); 91 NHL games – marginal NHL prospect (fourth-liner)
It has been a long road for the undersized forward to get to the NHL. He spent three season in the CHL and then two more in Binghamton before becoming a marginal roster player. His upside is limited. Only two NHL regulars occur over the next 30 picks (James Reimer at #99 and Matt Beleskey at #112).
4-121 Pierre-Luc Lessard (DL, QMJHL) – CIS (Trois-Rivieres) bust
A high-scoring blueliner from the Q, he was never offered a contract and only had a cup of coffee as a pro (ECHL). He’s a complete miss as a pick, but none of the next 30 selections have become regular NHLers.
5-151 Ryan Daniels (G, OHL) – CIS (Laurier) – bust
A rare goalie selection for the Sens, he is another player who was not offered a contract, but unlike Lessard didn’t even get that professional cup of coffee. There are three regular NHLers over the next 30 picks, with Viktor Stalberg (#161) being the most prominent.
6-181 Kevin Koopman (DR, KIJHL) – ACHA II (Brown) – bust
The scouts did not do their homework here, as Koopman retired to become a doctor before the Sens could think about offering him a contract. One NHL player was selected over the next 30 picks (Derek Dorsett at #189).
7-211 Erik Condra (RW, NCAA) – NHL (Ottawa); 152 NHL games – NHL regular (bottom-6 forward)
The third last pick of the draft, he finished up his college career and then earned rookie of the year honours in Binghamton before becoming a solid addition to the NHL lineup. Even though Condra has limited upside, to get a roster player this late in the draft is clearly a home run.

2007
Muckler was fired two weeks before the draft, so while this is nominally a Bryan Murray draft it’s basically following Muckler’s scouting philosophy. Not surprisingly, Murray traded away the team’s late round picks so that the next draft could fully follow his direction. Less time has passed to truly assess how many hits and misses this draft had, but it’s clearly a weak draft.  Only Jim O’Brien might be a regular NHL player from Ottawa’s selections and even that is no guarantee.  A few stats: there are 31/211 (14.6%) number of regular NHLers from the draft (you can judge for yourself here). By round: 1st 16/30, 2nd 4/31, 3rd 1/30, 4th 5/30, 5th 1/30, 6th 2/30, 7th 2/30. Players who played 200 or more games: 17 (11 1st, 4 2nd, 1 5th, 1 7th); played 100-199 games: 15 (5 1st, 1 2nd, 2 3rd, 4 4th, 2 6th, 1 7th).

1-29 Jim O’Brien (CR, NCAA; U-18) – NHL (Ottawa); 63 NHL games – marginal NHLer (fourth-liner)
After two mediocre years in the WHL and a terrible rookie season in the AHL, many thought O’Brien‘s days were numbered. However, he turned his game around in the minors, won a Calder Cup, and managed to earn himself a one-way contract. The sample size is small, but it appears as though he can take a regular shift with the big boys, albeit in a supporting role. Compared to the players taken before him, 5 have never played in the NHL (keeping in mind that Cherepanov tragically died), and 6 have played fewer games thus far. Three regular NHLers were taken over the next 31 picks, with P. K. Subban (#43) the best of them.
2-60 Ruslan Bashkirov (LW, QMJHL) – VHL (Ryazan) – bust
The only Russian taken by Murray at the draft, Bashkirov is such a bust that he can’t even play in the KHL. This is the definition of a bad pick with Wayne Simmonds taken immediately after him (#61).
3-90 Louie Caporusso (C/LW, OPJHL) – ECHL/AHL (Elmira/Binghamton) – bust
Despite a strong NCAA resume Caporusso struggled at the AHL level. He may have it in him to become a regular AHLer, but his NHL potential seems non-existent. There may be as many as five NHLers taken over the next 30 picks, making the pick look much worse.
4-120 Ben Blood (DL, USUS) – ECHL/AHL (Elmira/Binghamton) – AHL prospect
There was a long wait for Blood, as he spent a year in the USHL and then four more at college before turning pro. He was thought to have the potential to be a bruising bottom-pairing NHLer, but was unable to be a regular AHLer in his rookie year. As Ottawa’s last pick in the draft he has to be compared to the rest of the selections (91 picks), where Jamie Benn (#129) stands out as the biggest miss.

2008
Bryan Murray’s first true draft and it was a good.  Emil Sandin is the only pick unsigned and all the rest of the players have played at least one NHL game.  It’s too early to fully vet the success of the draft overall, so I’ll simply list players who have played the most thus far (for the list go here). Players who played 200 or more games: 17 (13 1st, 1 2nd, 1 3rd, 1 5th, 1 7th); played 100-199 games: 11 (4 1st, 3 2nd, 1 3rd, 2 4th, 1 6th).

1-15 Erik Karlsson (DR, SuperElit) – NHL (Ottawa); 233 games – NHL star
The Sens sent a pair of picks to Nashville in order to move up to take Karlsson; the slender Swede has a Norris trophy under his belt and as long as he can stay healthy should drive the offence for years to come.  The first definitive home run by Murray
2-42 Patrick Wiercioch (DL, USHL) – NHL (Ottawa); 50 games – NHL regular (top-four)
It might be a little early to call him a regular, but after two mediocre AHL seasons the gifted blueliner seems to have finally made the transition to the pro game; other prominent selections prior to the Sens next pick include Justin Schultz (#43) and Derek Stepan (#51)
3-79 Zack Smith (C, WHL) – NHL (Ottawa); 200 games – NHL regular (bottom-six)
Gritty center had been passed over in the previous draft but has proven a solid investment by the Sens (only two other players taken after him have played more games); the best player over the next 30 picks is Adam Henrique (#82)
4-109 Andre Petersson (RW, SuperElit) – AHL (Binghamton); 1 game – NHL prospect (top-nine)
Small Swedish forward was a solid WJC performer who enjoyed a good rookie season in the AHL last year, but injury cost him his sophomore campaign; between he and the next Sens pick Dale Weiss (#111) and T. J. Brodie (#114) stand out
4-119 Derek Grant (C/LW, BCHL) – AHL (Binghamton); 5 games – NHL prospect (bottom-six)
Lanky tier-2 pick left college early to turn pro and has been solid (if unspectacular) in his first two AHL seasons; the twenty picks between he and the next selection include Gustav Nyquist (#121), Andrei Loktionov (#123), and Matt Calvert (#127)
5-139 Mark Borowiecki (DL, CJHL) – AHL (Binghamton); 8 games – NHL prospect (5-6 D)
Gritty blueliner has all the intangibles, but hasn’t been ready for prime time just yet; among the next 60 picks are Matt Martin (#148), Philip Larsen (#149), Jared Spurgeon (#156), Cam Atkinson (#157), and Jason Demers (#186)
7-199 Emil Sandin (LW/RW, SuperElit) – Allsvenskan – bust
The diminutive forward was a late round flyer coming off an excellent season in the SuperElit, success he translated into an SEL contract with Brynas.  Unfortunately, he could never fully adjust to the Swedish premier league which meant he had no chance whatsoever at the NHL level and he went unsigned.  He currently plays in the Allsvenskan.  His story is almost exactly the same as 2010 draft pick Marcus Sorensen.  The only pick worth mentioning after this is Anders Lindback (#207)

Although the verdict on 2008 can’t be fully made yet, the contrast between the value of Muckler’s drafts versus Murray’s is stark.  It will be interesting to see (going forward) how the Murray era prospects success unfolds.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)