Senators News & Notes

I wasn’t surprised at the Alex Chiasson arbitration ruling–it’s a good one for the team.  We can hope Mike Hoffman will be given a similarly palatable deal for the organisation if they don’t settle prior to the hearing (for those interested you can read Nichols‘ breakdown of the former).

Amidst a humdrum Pierre Dorion interview was a comment I’m happy to hear from him:

we’ve always fallen into traps that, I think we over-evaluate some guys that are decent NHL players but not great NHL players and I think Bryan (Murray) talked about it on July 1st. We’ve drafted and we’ve developed well here. We’re going to give some of our kids chances. Show us what you can do here. If you’re not good enough, we’ll just bring someone else in. But I think with what we’ve done here in the past, I don’t always see it being fruitful for us to go out and sign free agents

All that’s missing from this for a full mea culpa is an admission that the organisation hangs on to failing veterans for far too long.

Adam Coombs talks about potential red flags for prospects due to how they looked during Ottawa’s latest development camp, seeing concerns for Miles Gendron (decision-making), Ben Harpur (speed and lack of production–something I’ve brought up in the case of many players and for those who want a bit of evidence for why that’s bad go here), Alex Guptill (a plethora of reasons, and somehow I missed him being charged with assault and battery last summer).  On the flipside, Coombs looks at positives from the camp, making the obvious Max McCormick nod, along with Nick Paul (size and speed), Tobias Lindberg (size and speed), Mikael Wikstrand (consistent and does everything well), with honourable mentions for Matt O’Connor and Marcus Hogberg.  It’s important to note what a small sample size such a camp is (even though Coombs references their past seasons), but the opinions mesh with mine and most people’s (except perhaps for Harpur–there are fans of the big player out there, and honestly, almost no one knows who Gendron is).

B-Sens signings continued as they added development camp attendee Ryan Penny (LW, QMJHL 66-32-38-70) and veteran minor league defenseman Nick Tuzzolino (ECHL 55-2-21-23), who played 10-games with Binghamton last season.  I’d expect both to play in Evansville, although the organisation does like big players with no hands.

Speaking of Binghamton, Jeff Ulmer offered up a retrospective on the 2011 Calder Cup championship, which seems like an opportune time to do a “where are they now” snapshot.  I’ve left out two players who briefly suited up (Brennan Turner, now retired, and Patrick Couloumbe, now in France); the players are listed by scoring (those who have played/will play 100+ NHL games are in blue; those currently in Europe are in green; in the one case where both apply I’ve included both colours):

Ryan Potulny – went on to Hershey where after two productive seasons injury saw that drop off and after moving to Hartford last season he’s signed to play in Finland
Ryan Keller
 – went to Oklahoma and then to the NLA where he remains
Kaspars Daugavins – spent the next season in Ottawa, was then traded to Boston the following season before going to Europe (the NLA and KHL)
Zack Smith – became a full time player in Ottawa immediately following
Andre Benoit – split the next season between Ottawa and Binghamton, subsequently signed with Colorado and is coming off a miserable season in Buffalo (which meant he had to accept a two-way deal from St. Louis)
Erik Condra – immediately became an NHL player in Ottawa (now signed with Tampa)
Bobby Butler – spent the next year in Ottawa where he was a disaster; bounced between New Jersey and Nashville before returning to the AHL; signed in Sweden for the upcoming season
Corey Locke – had an injury-plagued return to Binghamton following, then bombed out of the Finnish league (getting loaned to the DEL); retuned to the AHL for one season, but then back to Germany last year
Roman Wick – returned to the NLA where he’s been dominant
Mike Hoffman – spent the bulk of three more seasons in Binghamton before finally making Ottawa full-time
Jim O’Brien – split the next season between the NHL/AHL; full-time the following year before being dumped back to Binghamton the next season; he then bounced out of the KHL and is slatted for full-time AHL action in the upcoming season
Colin Greening – three full seasons with Ottawa were followed by last year’s temporary demotion to Binghamton and the organisation expressing a desire to be rid of him–he remains under contract
Geoff Kinrade – spent most of the following season in the Czech league, then two full seasons in the NLA before splitting between it and the KHL; he’ll be back in Russia this year
Cody Bass – three years in Springfield were followed by one in Rockford last season and Milwaukee in the upcoming season
Jared Cowen – for better or for worse he’s been with Ottawa since
David Dziurzynski – has remained in Binghamton since
Derek Smith – spent two seasons on Calgary’s roster before returning to the AHL; bombed out of the NLA last season and will be with Springfield in the upcoming one
Derek Grant – remained with Binghamton until he signed with Stockton for the upcoming season
Bobby Raymond – split the next season with Binghamton before moving on to Charlotte; since then he’s bounced around the DEL
Mark Borowiecki – spent three more seasons in Binghamton before graduating to Ottawa last year
Patrick Wiercioch – spent the next season in Bingo; split the next between it and Ottawa before becoming a full time NHL-player
Craig Schira – one more year with Binghamton before going to Norway, Finland, and now to Sweden
Eric Gryba – spent another year in Binghamton, split the next between it and Ottawa before becoming a full time NHL-player; traded to Edmonton
David Sloane – retired after the championship
Robin Lehner – spent two more years in Binghamton before graduating; traded to Buffalo
Barry Brust – went to Germany, then back to Abbotsford, and since has played in the KHL

That’s 11 players who went on to at least 100 games of NHL action, a testament to the talent on the roster, although it’s worth noting that as few as three of them are top-end talents (for my money Lehner, Wiercioch, and Hoffman).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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Senators News & Notes

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Ross A goes through hockey stats 101 for those confused or intimidated by them.  It’s worth reading, although I don’t think the audience he’s attempting to reach are particularly receptive to olive branches.  Like most new things, younger fans will largely embrace it and as time goes on that will become the norm.

journalism

Speaking of Ross A, he tackled an excellent topic regarding media influence in sports, but unfortunately only pilloried Steve Simmons at the Toronto Star–as much as Simmons deserves it for inventing a story about Phil Kessel, I was hoping Ross would dive into the moribund journalism practiced in this city.

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Binghamton signed undersized Oshawa General defenseman Chris Carlisle (68-7-37-44); he’s almost certainly bound for Evansville.

Somewhat related, I’d speculated a couple of weeks ago that the Sens had cut ties with prospect Tim Boyle; that suspicion was confirmed today as he signed with Wichita in the ECHL.  This make’s Boyle‘s journey in becoming a pro quite bizarre, as he was drafted out of US high school, spent one year in the NCAA, returned to the junior system in the US, went to tier-2 college, and is now going to the ECHL  Ultimately he’s a wasted pick, a player that no scouting source liked prior to the draft who crashed and burned very quickly.  We can only hope the scouting staff learned something from it.

Wrong

I was surprised to discover the legendary Nichols reads this blog.  I can’t recall interacting with him before, but the truism that people gravitate towards perceived negative comments rings true as Nichols hit me up on the Twitter machine:

your comments in regards to my own analysis are ridiculously reductive

He continued his comments in his latest post (I think he liked the alliteration), apparently still blissfully unaware of why I wrote what I wrote (despite a not very subtle hint that he was taking the comments far too seriously–it’s funny how some people respond to these things–good old Bobby Kelly always took things with good humour).  One positive was Nichols spelling out his approach to prospects for anyone who wasn’t aware and the key point is this:

The thing about lower draft selections is that they’re selected lower because they have some perceived deficiency which in turn creates tempered expectations for their future because of the associated risks or lower projected ceilings. That does not mean that low draft picks aren’t valuable either. There will always be value in finding NHL-calibre talent that can play games at the highest level.

It’s admittedly a bit obvious, but clarity is a good thing.  Incidentally, he’s started up a Patreon to support The 6th Sens podcast, so if you have even a few bucks lying around I highly recommend doing so.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

The Sens Development Camp has wrapped up.  It’s always a fun event for those who get the chance to attend, although admittedly you have to love hockey, the Sens, and prospects (RIP Nichols) to get full value from it.

Randy Lee offered comments about performances in the black and white game and besides blowing the usual smoke up the asses of top-picks (and using unfortunate terms like “compete level”), he did offer some insight:

On Ryan Dzingel

Dzingel was really able to show off his speed with a couple of breakaways too. He had a good year in Binghamton last season but it was a transition year where we put him at a different position so that was a bit of a challenge for him. I thought he got better as the season went on and it was great to see how well he did last night.

Changing position in your rookie season at the pro level is not easy and worth keeping in mind in regards to Dzingel‘s occasional struggles in Bingo this past season.

On Mikael Wikstrand

is a guy that you don’t appreciate until you see him in a game. He really thinks the game at a high-level, he moves the puck really well, good offensive instincts and he’s a guy that’s going to be a pretty good player for us.

In a way this is more of the same in terms of comments made about the Swedish defenseman; there’s no question he has an NHL threshold, the only unknown is whether his offensive game will translate at that level.

On Chris Driedger

he had a different season last year but as the season went on, he got better and he played with a lot of confidence last night.

“Different” is the most polite way I can think of to describe Driedger‘s season in Evansville, but he certainly did better in Binghamton and fans can hope he continues to improve.

On Marcus Hogberg

you can see he’s got great feet, really good down low

I’m quite high on the Swedish goaltender, although with Matt O’Connor now as the anointed one it’s a good thing he’s going to spend another year in the SHL.

As usual, Sens TV has little vignettes about the camp, but also footage of the entire scrimmage (about which Lee’s comments above were in response too).  The 3-on-3 tournament today was won by Team Blue (Dzingel, Wikstrand, and free agents Penny and Goff).  Not surprisingly, Max McCormick was named the hardest worker for the entire camp.

I haven’t given my specific thoughts on the Sens picks at the draft, so here are my pick-by-pick thoughts:

Thomas Chabot (1-18) – selected right in the wheelhouse of the scouting consensus so I’m happy with the pick–there’s no guarantee how good he’ll be, but he has the upside to be an excellent addition
Colin White (1-21) – the pick acquired in the Robin Lehner trade (notably not Buffalo’s own pick, but one they acquired from the Islanders); he’s not related to the former NHL-defenseman; there were only two players slotted higher than him when he was selected (Merkley and Jeremy Roy), so there’s no real objection to the selection
Gabriel Gagne (2-36) – acquired from New Jersey in return for a second-rounder (the Dallas pick from the Jason Spezza trade; the Devils picked goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood); this pick has the most questionmarks around it and it’s puzzling that the Sens felt the need to trade up to grab him–no source had him listed this high which suggests they could have waited and that he’s a hit or miss selection
Filip Chlapik (2-48) – the first Czech picked by the Sens since Jakub Culek in 2010 (let’s hope that’s not foreshadowing); like him he comes from the QMJHL; he was selected slightly after projections; the two notable players ranked more highly than him were Kylington and Bracco
Christian Wolanin (4-107) – acquired from Edmonton in the Eric Gryba trade (who got the pick from Toronto via Pittsburgh); another odd player to trade for, as the overage son of the unremarkable NHL defenseman wasn’t ranked by anyone to be taken in the draft; the Sens have done pretty well with overage selections out of the USHL, but I’d take him as another hit-or-miss selection
Filip Ahl (4-109) – the only Swede taken in the draft by Ottawa, he was picked after projections (slightly after for the most part) so he’s a solid pick-up
Christian Jaros (5-139) – the first Slovak ever picked by Murray since becoming Ottawa’s GM, he comes via the Swedish league; projections for him are all over the place so he’s clearly a hit-or-miss pick
Joey Daccord (7-199) – only listed by Central Scouting; as a seventh-rounder he’s by-definition a let’s-hope selection; there were a number of higher ranked players (picked and not picked) available, granting that since the goaltender is slatted for the NCAA they can wait longer on him than (say) a player from the CHL or Europe

The Sens third-round pick wound up with the Rangers (via Edmonton in the Gryba trade), who picked Russian defenseman Sergey Zaborovskiy; Ottawa’s sixth-round pick wound up with Carolina (via Winnipeg to get the pick they used to select Kelly Summers), and they took David Cotton.

Ross A looks at the Sens history with players who file for arbitration and the main takeaway from it is that (under Bryan Murray) Ottawa has always settled prior to the hearing date.

Nichols laments the departure of Erik Condra–I bring it up simply because he’s exactly the kind of late round pick Nichols derides consistently.  Nichols’ general, dismissive attitude towards prospects is mostly sensible, but I think the shorthand of always being dismissively of later picks is a little ridiculous.

There were a number of veteran AHL signings for the BSens and here’s a look:

Matt Kostka (29, AHL 63-5-25-30) – the undrafted NCAA grad’s name may ring a bell as the Toronto media fell in love with him back in the 2012-13 season (when he played half the year with the Leafs); he was subsequently signed and waived by Chicago, picked up by Tampa, and spent last season in the Ranger organisation; a right-handed shot, I think he’s a good addition to the BSens

Eric O’Dell (25, AHL 37-14-15-29) – a former second-round pick by Anaheim (2-39/08; Brian Burke’s drafting record with the Ducks is awful); Anaheim never signed him and the Atlanta (now Winnipeg) franchise picked him up; he’s been a very productive forward for St. John’s (180-72-76-148).  Assuming he doesn’t tank like Carter Camper this past season, he’s a solid addition to the top-six in Bingo.

Zack Stortini (29, AHL 76-13-12-25) – picked by the Oilers in the Dead Puck Era (3-94/03), when the one-dimensional goon was finally let go by Edmonton he’s bounced around the AHL (this will be his fifth team in five seasons); I’m not a fan of this kind of player, but the one good thing he does (or should do) is take some of the fighting pressure off of players like Max McCormick and Michael Sdao and give space for them to develop their game.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing the 2015 NHL Draft

It’s time to look back over the draft and assess my prognostication as well as that of the draft guides I used (I’m not interested in the declared intentions of the guides, but rather how they function as predictors).  Without further ado, here are the numbers (this isn’t about Player X at position X, so what’s below is simply the correct player by round).  Acronyms: EOTS (Eye on the Sens), FC (Future Considerations), HP (Hockey Prospects), RLR (Red Line Report), and ISS (International Scouting Service).

First Round
HP: 26/30
EOTS/FC/Bob McKenzie: 25/30
ISS/RLR: 24/30

As I’ve mentioned before, picking first round players is quite easy–there’s a general consensus on most of them and these numbers are typical.

Second Round
EOTS: 18/31
HP: 17/31
ISS: 16/31
FC/RLR: 14/31

These are very similar numbers to last year.

Third Round
EOTS/RLR/ISS: 8/30
HP: 7/30
FC: 6/30
Also typical numbers (as they are for the remaining rounds).  This first player not on my list (goaltender Mike Robinson).

Fourth Round
EOTS: 7/30
ISS/HP: 6/30
RLR: 3/30
FC: 2/30
Three players were taken who were not on my list (Andrei Mironov, Christian Wolanin, and Daniel Bernhardt).

Fifth Round
EOTS: 4/30
RLR/HP/FC: 3/30
ISS: 2/30
Team eccentricity began to hit here and 11 players were taken who did not appear on my list.

Sixth Round
HP: 5/30
RLR: 3/30
EOTS: 2/30
FC: 1/30
ISS: 0/30
Another 16 players were selected who don’t appear on my list.

Seventh Round
HP: 5/30
EOTS/RLR/FC: 2/30
ISS: 0/30
A final 15 players were selected that did not appear on my list.

Total (change from last year noted)
HP: 69/211 (-2)
EOTS: 66/211 (+6)
RLR/ISS: 57/211 (+4/+4)
FC: 53/211 (no change)

Despite a slight decrease, HP again had the most accurate by-round predictions (32%).  I improved in this regard (to 31%), but the more important number is how many players selected were actually taken in the draft, and here’s how we all did (with variance from last year noted; ISS’ weird number has to do with the way their guide is structured):
EOTS: 165/211 (78%) +7%
HP: 160/211 (75%) +4%
RLR: 154/211 (72%) +8%
ISS: 151/220 (68%) +6%
FC: 146/211 (69%) +0%
I achieved my goal of picking the most players this year, which is gratifying (it’s also the highest percentage since I started doing this).  My sources and I had 29 players in common that none of us picked to be in the draft (close to 14% of the draft).

The highest ranked player not to be selected was mighty-midget (5’8) Dante Salituro; he was followed by center Nathan Noel, Swiss center Pius Suter (his second time through the draftm perhaps influenced by him signing with ZSC in the NLA in May), and center Tyler Soy.  In all eleven players selected by all sources for the draft were not selected (Lalonde, McBride, Huska, Kielly, Askew, McNiven, Hunt, Leveille, along with Soy, Suter, and Noel).  In terms of source ratings, Salituro and Chebykin were second-round talents for one guide each.  Virtually none of the CS catalogue of European players were taken after the top-30 or so.

For those who like completeness, here’s all the players selected who weren’t on my list: Mike Robinson (R3), Andrei Mironov (R4), Christian Wolanin (R4), Daniel Bernhardt (R4), Luke Stevens (R5), Niko Mikkola (R5), Sam Ruopp (R5), Karlis Cukste (R5), Matt Schmalz (R5), Dominik Simon (R5), Spencer Smallman (R5), Rudolfs Balcers (R5), Carl Neill (R5), Karel Vejmelka (R5), Luke Opilka (R5), Kris Oldman (R6), Brett Seney (R6), Adam Parsells (R6), Sergei Boikov (R6), Markus Ruusu (R6), Cameron Hughes (R6), Frederik Tiffels (R6), Mason Appleton (R6), Patrick Holloway (R6), Andong Song (R6), Colby Williams (R6), Tyler Moy (R6), Liam Dunda (R6), Steven Ruggiero (R6), Garrett Metcalf (R6), Bokondji Imama (R6), Ivan Chukarov (R7), Erik Kallgren (R7), Steven Lorentz (R7), Ivan Fedotov (R7), Markus Nutivaara (R7), Gustav Olhaver (R7), Jake Kupsky (R7), Matthew Roy (R7), Jack Becker (R7), Riley Bruce (R7), Joey Daccord (R7), Evan Smith (R7), Miroslav Svoboda (R7), Ziyat Paygin (R7), and John Dahlstrom (R7).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)