Senators News (January 21st)

The Sens have announced they are parting ways with Colin Greening, burying him in the AHL barring a trade, but it’s an incredible admission of failure by Bryan Murray given that he just signed Cyborg to his absurd deal less than a year ago.  I don’t think dumping him improves the team much–making room for Chris Neil is not an upgrade–but it’s good for Greening to get a fresh start elsewhere.

Along with the Greening news and the lamentable return to the lineup of both Chris Phillips and Neil, Murray continued to talk about adding a top forward.  I can’t figure out how serious Murray is about this–who would trade such a player, and what could he offer them that he’s willing to give up?  Most of the Sens disposable prize assets were dispatched to land Bobby Ryan and there are few teams willing to give up a player of his caliber.  I wonder how much the talk is simply press material to encourage fans to show up and have hope.  Nichols (via the link) points out that even if such a trade occurred the Sens would still be a couple of pieces away from being an elite team.

Nichols also says some confusing things about the Sens prospects in his article:

With the exception of a Cody Ceci or a Curtis Lazar and possibly a Robin Lehner, I cannot say with any kind of confidence that this team’s youth is going to get significantly better than the level that they are performing at right now.  That, of course, isn’t to say that there isn’t young value here, there is. Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone in particular have demonstrated themselves to be efficient and reliable players who probably warrant more playing time than they’re currently receiving, but the bulk of Ottawa’s youth projects second or third line players. I know that it’s beating a drum at this point and it’s easy to say, but this team needs an injection of elite talent. Without it, I just don’t see how this organization can escape, especially with its budget, being anything more than a playoff bubble team that relies heavily upon its goaltenders to carry them through the season.

I’m not sure what he means here, which makes commenting on it difficult.  Youth (other than the three cited) is not getting better…and then he references Stone and Hoffman who are both young players who got better.  Nichols then disses second and third line players, which implies that the only prospects he thinks are significant are front line players, but I don’t think Lazar or Ceci qualify as either, so…?  I feel like either I’m either missing the point or Nichols is engaging in hyperbole.  Regardless, sure, Ottawa could use elite talent (all teams could), but realistically that comes from top draft picks and the Sens have had few and far between of those.

I do like Nichols providing some of the litany of useless veteran players Murray has added over the years–his addiction to players well past their prime is something that hasn’t been fully tackled and must relate to ideas of “leadership” Murray has absorbed.  My annual review of Murray has the full list–view at your peril.

Speaking of Phillips, the guys at TSN 1200 need to stop giving me hope that the franchise will ever move Big Rig.  Stop playing with my heart boys, we know it’s not going to happen.

Todd Bertuzzi‘s debut with Binghamton was underwhelming, but it will take a few more games to find out if the veterans has any gas left in the tank.  There are other (current) additions to the lineup in Bingo.  Shawn Szydlowski (who was at Ottawa’s 09-10 training camp) was called up from Fort Wayne; David Marshall from Reading; and defenseman Guillaume Lepine from Evansville.  Don’t expect any of these players to push their way onto the roster ala Daniel New.

Prospect update (players signed are in green, those for whom decisions must be made this year are in red)

SHL (Sweden)
Mikael Wikstrand (DOB 1993, DL, 7-196/12, Frolunda) 32-4-9-13
Two points in his last two games
Andreas Englund (DOB 1996, DL, 2-40/14, Djurgarden) 33-1-3-4
No points in his last two games
Marcus Hogberg (DOB 1994, GL, 3-78/13, Linkoping) 8-8-0 2.54 .907
Hasn’t started since last time

CHL
Francis Perron (DOB 1996, C/LW, 7-190/14, QMJHL, Rouyn-Noranda) 41-18-35-53
One point in his last two; 17th in overall scoring
Tobias Lindberg (DOB 1995, C/RW, 4-102/13, OHL, Oshawa) 42-19-31-50
Three points in his last three games; 17th in overall scoring
Nick Paul (DOB 1995, LW, 4-101/13 Dallas, OHL, North Bay) 32-20-17-37
One point in his last three games
Vincent Dunn (DOB 1995, CL, 5-138/13, QMJHL, Rimouski) 35-15-10-25
One point in his last two games
Ben Harpur (DOB 1995, DL, 4-108/13, OHL, Guelph/Barrie) 32-4-18-22
One point in his last three games
Miles Gendron (DOB 1996, DL, 3-70/14, BCHL, Penticton) 40-4-11-15
No points in his last game

NCAA
Quentin Shore (DOB 1994, C/RW, 6-168/13, U Denver) 20-6-9-15
Two points in his last two games
Shane Eiserman (DOB 1995, LW, 4-100/14, U New Hampshire) 18-3-4-7
One point in his last three games
Chris Leblanc (DOB 1993, RW, 6-161/13, Merrimack) 12-3-3-6
One point in his last two games
Robbie Baillargeon (DOB 1993, CR, 5-136/12, Boston U) 12-1-3-4
No points in his last two games
 Kelly Summers (DOB 1996, DR, 7-189/14, Clarkson) 20-3-1-4
One point in his last two games

NCAA-III
Tim Boyle (DOB 1993, DR, 4-106/12, Endicott) 15-3-8-11
His next game is on Friday

Joshua Weissbock thinks the NHL has a scouting problem, citing an old Scott Cullen column where he ranks picks from the pre-cap era (which seems pretty pointless, but at the time of the column, 2009, I don’t think he had much choice).  Interestingly, Weissbock says:

On average teams hope to select at least 1 future NHLer, but 2 or more is considered a success.

He doesn’t cite any sources for that conclusion, but it’s the same as mine from last year.  Unfortunately, Weissbock starts making his conclusions about scouting that includes data before the cap–prior to that change, scouting wasn’t accepted as important across the NHL and big budget teams really could spend their way out of trouble if managed right, so those results don’t reflect current practice.  That being said, he does hit on one issue that still exists: the addiction to the size of players.  It’s the only specific he mentions, but it’s true that most of the players missed by NHL scouts are smaller, as I’ve shown in the past.  That being said, I disagree with his conclusion that there’s a serious problem with scouting in general as scouts pick the overwhelming majority of NHL players.  For my part, other than the reluctance to pick smaller players, the only need I see for NHL teams is a willingness to scout Europe more thoroughly.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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