Senators News (May 5th)

chris-lee-and-brad-watson

It has been a month or so since I last posted a news update.  In the interim the Sens finished their remarkable run to make the playoffs (leaving a little egg on the face of a snarky Bob McKenzie from a few days before the end of the season), before falling 4-2 to the Habs in the first round.  The accolades came pouring down before the season’s end (and after), and it’s a season that has to be viewed as a success (I didn’t see the Sens as a playoff team even before the season started).  Clearly Dave Cameron benefitted from injuries to useless veterans, along with the improbable run of Andrew Hammond.  Has the organisation finally figured out that they are saddled with useless players?  There are small signs the message is finally getting through.  As Nichols says:

Pundits will be quick to point out how Ottawa’s success cannot be sustained and that eventually they’ll regress. The pundits are right, but no one in Ottawa really cares.

As Luke Peristy says:

By far the weirdest thing about this whole “improbable run to make the playoffs” thing is the knowledge that we’ve already seen the most absurd thing the Senators are going to do this year.

Going back to does the organisation get it question, caution has to be exercised–Dave Cameron dumping Mike Hoffman onto the fourth line is a worrying sign.  This is also the same brain trust that tried to sign David Clarkson, give Jared Cowen an enormous seven-year deal, signed David Legwand, and so on and so forth.  Bryan Murray has an addiction to aging veterans and “tough guys” that’s clogging his internal budget.

Prior to the playoffs, Scott Cullen offered his thoughts on potential edges in the series via shooting percentage and found that Ottawa has a slight one over Montreal, which as determinants go did not amount to much in the series itself.

matt o'connor

Nichols notes that the Sens promised NCAA free agent Matt O’Connor that if he signed with them they would move a goaltender.  Nichols wonders if the space promised would be in the NHL or AHL, but I think it’s safe to say it would be the latter (and despite comments from his agent I take that posturing to get more teams to bid for his services).  I still don’t think any team can offer O’Connor as clear an opportunity as Edmonton and that’s where I imagine he’ll sign (especially with Peter Chiarelli as the new GM).  It’s still concerning that the Sens are apparently prepared to move Robin Lehner (or Craig Anderson) to make room for an unproven NCAA goaltender and (presumably) Andrew Hammond (although I’m less certain of that).  As I’ve said before, I’d rather they move Hammond and stick with the current tandem.

Speaking of roster decisions, the Sens have apparently pre-emptively loaned Mikael Wikstrand back to Sweden for next season.  This is truly bizarre, as it would burn the second year of his ELC (the first already went up in smoke this season).  I’d like to think he has an opt-out in his contract, but without further details I can’t say.  Given how weak Binghamton’s blueline was this past season, I have no idea why they wouldn’t bring him over.

Prospects

miles gendron

Nearly all the Sens prospects have wrapped up their seasons, but Tobias Lindberg and Vincent Dunn are still playing (Miles Gendron won the BCHL championship).

Three players from my free agent list have already been signed: Columbus inked Markus Hannikainen, Nashville signed Kristian Nakyva, and Artemi Panarin signed with Chicago.

One major chestnuts in the fires of traditional hockey commentators is the importance of faceoffs.  You need a good faceoff guy, right?  So the analytics guys at TSN took a look at numbers and it turns out faceoffs don’t actually mean much in terms of generating goals (the best number they could find over the last eight years was Patrice Bergeron whose totals equal four goals throughout the entire season–no one else was even close to that).  Presumably on the defensive side this also means that losing faceoffs has an almost meaningless impact as well when it comes to goals against.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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3 Comments

  1. I think you can look at this season as a positive. The Sens had a lot of growth in their young players. Hoffman, Stone, Zibanejad and JGP proved they all belong in the NHL and can play significant roles for the team. And now the Sens know they can depend on their young core and not go sign more older veterans past their prime.

    Hammond may be a flash in the pan but I think he could be a steady back-up on a reasonable contract. Especially with Lehner’s injury, I think the Sens need to sign him as insurance and then worry later about who to trade later.

    O’Connor has signed since your post went up so I think that is a huge win for the Sens. He can develop for at least two years in the AHL and can be re-evaluated then about his NHL potential. With O’Connor on board, Ottawa does not need to draft a goalie this upcoming draft and also won’t have to depend on Diedger to be their starter in Bingo.

    Very weird about Wikstrand. To my knowledge is was booked in to come to North America next season and most likely play in the AHL. Hopefully he has an out clause. If not, it seems like he has done all he can in Sweden. At least we have him under contract with no threat of losing him.

    Any projections on Gendron? I know he is a good skater but has only played D for a few years. Did he play a huge role in his team winning the championship? Where is he expected to play next year?

    Lindberg’s team won the OHL title. On to the Memorial Cup. That Bishop trade might work out for us. haha.

    • There were definitely lot’s of positives, although many of them were forced upon the team due to injury–hopefully learning has occurred.

      I’m not sure who the Sens will move to make room for O’Connor in the organisation–I’d like it to be Hammond, but I suspect it will be Lehner or Anderson (probably the former). How good O’Connor will be remains to be seen–the Sens have a mixed track record with NCAA free agents. They also could have signed Hogberg to play in Bingo this upcoming season, but now there’s no pressure to do so.

      Wikstrand’s agent implied he had an “out” clause, but it depends on what kind of clause it is–he had one this season as well, but it was hinged on him making the NHL roster.

      Gendron wasn’t that impressive during the regular season in the BCHL, but played well in the playoffs. He’s off to the NCAA–for how long remains to be seen.

      They have to sign Lindberg first, although I think that’s a foregone conclusion.

  2. […] Senators News (May 5th) […]


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