Senators News (October 17th)

Sometimes I feel like Paul MacLean deliberately trolls fans, because after puzzling player use in the Sens opener he’s slowly but surely shifted the lineup in the way that we all think it should be.  Let’s take a quick look at the obvious signs of sanity over the last three games (all wins, although last night’s was against Colorado’s third-stringer):

Chris Neil: his ice time is down–slightly granted, but down–if he must play, less is more
Mark Stone: the converse of the above, as after playing less than ten minutes in the opener he’s been playing more and more
Patrick Wiercioch: scratched twice for no particular reason, he’s been returned to the lineup and received solid TOI
Jared Cowen: I don’t know that he has to sit (see the Nichols link below), but the fact that MacLean has shortened his leash is a good sign
Colin Greening: speaking of scratches, the man with the new contract has played in exactly one game and received fourth-line minutes

After all these positives it’s a bit odd that Bobby Ryan‘s TOI is middling the past two games, although it’s hard to argue with wins (there are some troubling signs as Nichols points out the team’s Fenwick and Corsi numbers, particularly the latter amongst the blueliners).

Binghamton is exactly one game into the schedule and the dream of a perfect season has died after dropping a 3-2 OT decision to Worcester.  Andrew Hammond took the loss (making 45 saves) while Ryan Dzingel scored both goals.  We all know to take plus/minus with a grain of salt, but it’s still impressive that Patrick Mullen was -3 on the night.

Evansville opens it’s ECHL season tomorrow, having announced their opening night roster yesterday.  Of note for Sens prospects along with curiosities: Chris Driedger will have to compete for starts with former AHL-goaltender Cal Heeter, who was sent down by Adirondack (Philadelphia’s affiliate); Evansville’s blueline is very thin so there should be ample ice time for Troy Rutkowski; former B-Sen Matt Lowry (who went from that organisation into the CIS and then back to pro hockey) joins the forward group.

While the NCAA is not fully underway, many Sens prospects have started their season so here’s a quick look at how they are performing:

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (Frolunda) 10-2-0-2
Still only 20-years old, he’s fighting for playing time with veterans Christian Backman, Elias Fasth, Christoffer Persson, and 2012 Edmonton draft pick Erik Gustafsson
Marcus Hogberg (Linkoping) 2.55 .918
The 19-year old is currently splitting duties with veteran David Rautio, despite having better stats
Andreas Englund (Djurgarden) 11-0-2-2
It’s impressive that the 18-year old defenseman is seeing regular time in the league

CHL
Francis Perron (QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 9-5-8-13
Currently third in team scoring
Nick Paul (OHL, North Bay) 5-3-3-6
It should be a banner year for him in junior
Tobias Lindberg (OHL, Oshawa) 6-2-4-6
A great start for the Swedish import
Vincent Dunn (QMJHL, Rimouski) 11-3-2-5
A middling start on his new team
Ben Harpur (OHL, Guelph) 5-1-3-4
It looks like the big man might finally be breaking out offensively

The NCAA players: Robbie Baillargeon (Boston U), Chris Leblanc (Merrimack), Quentin Shore (U Denver), Kelly Summers (Clarkson), Shane Eiserman (U New Hampshire), and Miles Gendron (U Connecticut).

An interesting note about Tim Boyle (fourth-round pick from 2012), after leaving Union College (NCAA) to play one more year of junior (USPHL) last season, he was unable to get into the top-tier of the NCAA and will be plugging away for Endicott, which does not bode well for his future as a pro.

Former draft pick Marcus Sorensen (2010) has finally hit his stride, as the 22-year old is leading Djurgarden in scoring.

Former B-Sens Wacey Hamilton (Utica) and Corey Cowick (Springfield) remain with AHL teams on tryouts.  Ludwig Karlsson (foisted upon Dallas as part of the Jason Spezza trade) was unable to stick in the AHL (just like last year) and is suiting up with Idaho in the ECHL.  Also toiling in the ECHL is discarded draft pick Jeff Costello (now with Tampa).

Not strictly related to Ottawa, but I’ve always enjoyed Hockey’s Future‘s European league previews and for those interested you can check out those for the Finnish league (just the Liiga now, part one and part two–Binghamton trivia buffs can enjoy the Tomas Kudelka and Craig Schira sightings) and the SHL in Sweden (part one and part two–homes for former B-Sen Mattias Karlsson and former Sen Chris Campoli).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)