It has been a couple of weeks since my last post, enough time for the slow trickle of Sens news to accumulate. Among the various organisational bits and pieces has come Bryan Murray’s announcement that this upcoming season will be his last. It will be interesting to see how he wants it to go. Does he push hard and go crazy aiming for an unexpected playoff run, or does he attempt to grow and build the organisation for it to be good in the long-term? Time will tell. He’s certainly in a position to make unpopular moves, although the fear has to be what kind of unpopular moves he could make.
Amongst a lot of bitterness Nichols notes that Murray has indicated he’ll try to package a bad contract with whatever goaltender he moves. The notion makes it even more likely that Robin Lehner is the goalie to be moved, as it’s unlikely that the aging and more expensive Craig Anderson could have a Colin Greening attached to him. I’m not sure it’s worth beating a dead horse over how badly trading Lehner could turn out, so I’ll just say I’m not a fan of the move if that’s what happens.
I was happy to hear Pierre Dorion acknowledge that Andrew Hammond could implode (comparing him to Steve Penny). You’d think the organisation would be a bit more cautious with the term of his contract if that’s a possibility they acknowledge; if Hammond implodes next season he’s going to be impossible to trade with two more years on his contract.
Speaking of Dorion, he seems confident that the team will get a top-six forward or top-four defenseman with the 18th overall pick. It’s entirely possible, although that’s the stage of the first-round where prospects get dicey (in terms of recent draft numbers, the top-ten are 89.7% reliable, whereas the rest of the first round is at 35%).
Binghamton signed a bunch of spare parts recently: failed Atlanta draft pick Daultan Leveille (who was dithering around in France), Guilaume Lepine (pressed into service from Evansville this past season–much like Daniel New the past three seasons), Matthew Zay (who played a few games this past season after leaving Mercyhurst in the NCAA), and Alex Wideman (Chris‘ brother). All of these players signed AHL contracts, so barring injuries or a major turnover in Binghamton’s roster, they’re likely headed to Evansville. Regardless, here’s a snapshot of each:
Daultan Leveille (1-29/08 Atlanta; C, 6’0, DOB 90)
2013-14 Evansville (ECHL) 66-22-25-47
2014-15 Rouen (France) 26-9-8-17
Drafting a player like this is one of the many reasons Atlanta GM Don Waddell was fired (his draft status is enough to get Jeff Ulmer excited about him); while it’s not unusual for first-round picks to fail to become NHL players, it’s almost unheard of for them to fail to become AHL players. The fact that Leveille is coming off a bad season in France makes me think there’s some personal connection with the Sens organisation to give him a break to return to Evansville (the place he’s had the most success in his professional career).
Guillaume Lepine (undrafted; D, 6’4, DOB 87)
2013-14 Evansvile (ECHL) 48-2-11-13
2014-15 Evansville (ECHL) 35-0-12-12, Binghamton (AHL) 38-1-3-4
An unremarkable blueliner who came out of the QMJHL, he’s bounced between the ECHL, the EIHL (England), and now had his longest look in the AHL this past season. He has no offensive tools at any level, so all he can provide is minimal minutes of safe, physical play–something useful for the ECHL, but I hope he’s not a regular in Binghamton again.
Matthew Zay (undrafted; F, 6’1, DOB 91)
2013-14 Mercyhurst (NCAA) 35-17-26-43
2014-15 Mercyhurst (NCAA) 39-12-20-32
Played for the Pembroke Lumber Kings (10-11) before going to the NCAA; he put up consistent numbers in college, although looking at how some of his teammates have performed in the minors he looks to be an ECHL talent.
Alex Wideman (undrafted; LW, 5’8, DOB 91)
2013-14 Miami (NCAA) 36-7-9-16
2014-15 Miami (NCAA) 39-7-11-18
Signed perhaps as a favour to his more talented older brother, Alex‘s college numbers are not impressive and I expect he’ll need to make his mark in Evansville if he’s going to see ice time in Binghamton.
These players are literally the flotsam and jetsam of the minor leagues, but perhaps they can raise some excitement in Evansville if (as hoped) that’s where they will be plying their trade.
Tobias Lindberg, the last Sens prospect who was still in action, won the Memorial Cup. The unsigned Swede finished tied for third in team scoring during Oshawa’s OHL run (behind Cole Cassels and Michael Dal Colle), but was tied for first with the latter during the Memorial Cup itself. His performance this year was enough to wake up the moribund (and star to the blogosphere) Corey Pronman to the fact that he’s a decent prospect. I’d give Corey a Taeja-clap, but none of you would get the reference, so moving on.
A final note: as regular readers know, I like to keep my eye on undrafted players who sign NHL contracts, so here’s those thus far who were not from my list from April. From Europe: Dean Kukan (Columbus), Sergei Kalinin (NJ), Matthias Plachta (Arizona), Joonas Kemppainen (Boston), Yvgeni Medvedev (Philadelphia), Jakub Nakladal (Calgary), Christian Marti (Philadelphia); from the NCAA: Noel Acciari (Boston), Evan Rodrigues (Buffalo).
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)