I’ve been lost in the world of Dragon Age Inquisition for awhile, but I have kept my eye on the Sens and there’s a lot to talk about.
The return and official retirement of Daniel Alfredsson was well-handled and it’s great to have Alfie back in the city and involved. I never doubted he’d return, and whatever misgivings Eugene Melynk may or may not have had he’s too acute a businessman to not roll out the welcoming mat and bring the franchise’s most important player back in the fold. It’s clear Alfie left in the hopes of winning a Cup and it’s unfortunate for him that Detroit’s window was not open last year. What impact he’ll have on the team day-to-day is hard to say, but it can only help the franchise now that he’s back.
Paul MacLean’s firing wasn’t particularly surprising (Nichols offers a great breakdown; Travis Yost has thoughts as well). I saw this season as yet another rebuilding year, but the franchise either can’t accept or admit the fact so team performance was going to knock MacLean out no matter what he did. I don’t see Dave Cameron as an NHL coach, but it’s a results oriented business and one never knows (I’m sure Luke Richardson rumours will start soon, if they haven’t already). He’s certainly the person Melnyk wants on the bench (as it seems everyone is aware), and Cameron is getting his shot, even if I don’t think he has the pieces to do much more than finish on the outside looking in. I’m keen to see how he distributes ice time, but don’t anticipate there will be significant changes in that regard (and on that note, here’s more on just how awful Chris Phillips is).
In terms of player performances, there’s been crying over Erik Karlsson‘s defensive play, but given the anchors he’s saddled with every night, I don’t empathise with the complainers. As expected, Mika Zibanejad has come out of his shell offensively since I last posted, Curtis Lazar has fallen off the map (as has Zack Smith). Phillips is awful, Cowen is awful, etc. We know that plus/minus is largely meaningless, but it’s worth noting just how far ahead of his teammates Mike Hoffman is (at +10 he’s six up on second-placer Patrick Wiercioch). Many of you are wondering what Colin Greening is getting paid for, but remember Colin is a smart guy and that money will let him build a time machine to go back to 2011-12 where he can find his game (and maybe Peter Regin‘s too–why not?).
Binghamton has been on fire of late, climbing back to a respectable 11-9-3 record on the season (which, granted, only puts them 11th in the conference). I’ll have a comprehensive update specific to roster performance shortly, but the major difference has been a number of players rounding into form (Shane Prince, Cole Schneider, and others). Jeff Ulmer has offered grades for the team (and here), but as he provides no criteria I’m not sure what those grades tangibly mean.
Evansville has played 19 games now and sits at 8-9-1 (11th in the Conference, just like Binghamton) and we can take a look at the play of the Sens prospects there:
–Troy Rutkowski (19-1-7-8) is enjoying a much better sophomore season in the ECHL, which is faint praise for the FA signee, but at least there’s been some improvement
–Jakub Culek (5-0-1-1) has been a spare part in Binghamton most of the year and his limited playing time can’t really be judged other than its lack is a bad sign
–Chris Driedger (5-6-1 3.26 .901) buried behind Cal Heeter to start the season, after early struggles (1-4-1 with terrible numbers) he’s turned it around posting a pair of shutouts while all his numbers are improving (he’s also won both starts with Bingo)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 23-3-6-9
Over the last 10 games he’s picked up a goal and four assists and sits third in defensive scoring on the team
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 28-1-3-4
Over his last ten games he has an assist; he’s at the Swedish WJC camp
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 4-5-0 2.43 .914
His numbers have improved substantially (especially GAA) over the past month
Francis Perron (DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 29-15-24-39
Has fourteen points over his last eleven games and is 17th in overall scoring in the Q
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 27-13-22-35
Over his last 10 games he has thirteen points and sits 16th in OHL scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 27-19-15-34
Has sixteen points in his last eleven games and is 18th in OHL scoring; he’s at Canada’s WJC camp
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 26-11-6-17
Over his last six games he has four points
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph) 18-4-15-19
Continues on a surprisingly torrid pace, with nine points in his last eight games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 31-4-9-13
After initial struggles he seems to be turning it around, with seven points in his last ten games
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 12-5-6-11
Has six points in his last five games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 8-3-0-3
Three goals in his last seven games
Shane Eiserman (DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 10-2-1-3
No points in his three games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 7-1-1-2
Has not played since my last update
Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 14-0-1-1
No points in his last seven game
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 12-3-7-10
Has six points in his last five games
I’m hesitant to include Boyle in the list as playing at Endicott indicates to me that his pro aspirations are all but over, but at least for now I’ll still list him.
Finally, I’m fond of “where are they now” tidbits and thought I’d check in on some former Sens prospects:
–Roman Wick: the Calder Cup winning (and Sens rights retaining) Swiss player is in the midst of his second consecutive season at a point-per-game pace with ZSC; I don’t think we’ll see the 28-year old cross the pond any time soon
–Kaspars Daugavins: another Calder Cup winner, the Latvian is putting up good numbers in the KHL and could (if he desired) return to the NHL as a fourth-liner or spare forward
–Andre Petersson: the fellow StarCraft-fan is putting up solid KHL numbers; at only 24 he’ll likely take another stab at the NHL, but probably only after a strong enough season in Europe to ensure a real shot
–Corey Cowick: landed on his feet with Springfield, turning a PTO into an actual contract
–Bryce Aneloski: never offered a contract after finishing his NCAA career, he’s managed to be a regular AHL call-up his first two pro seasons, but is still primarily an ECHL player
–Jeff Costello: never suited up for Ottawa and is toiling away in the ECHL during his rookie season
–Marcus Sorensen; never signed, now that he’s twenty-two he seems to have established himself as an SHL-regular and with strong enough numbers could turn that into an ELC with someone on this side of the Atlantic
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)