The Mike Hoffman arbitration deal was another short-term win for the organisation. The Sens get Hoffman on the cheap and if he pulls a Peter Regin they can safely eject at season’s end. The flip side of it is that if Hoffman has another excellent season he’s going to cost them an arm and a leg to lock up long-term. I’m happy to have him back in the lineup, although it remains to be seen how Dave Cameron uses him.
Apparently the Mikael Wikstrand saga has not yet reached its final chapter as there’s still disagreement between he and the Sens over where he’ll play in the upcoming season. The back and forth has been perplexing to say the least, but ultimately he’s under contract with Ottawa so as far as I can tell he can’t actually refuse to come over.
I’ve never been a fan of prolonged lists cut up into dozens of pieces; its personal taste and I understand that for daily blogs they have to create content somehow. My main issue with lists in general is that they too often aren’t grounded in any kind of criteria: what, specifically, separates player X from player Y? I wish writers would put more effort in methodology so that their rankings meant something tangible to be discussed (and where’s the self-reflection over previous lists and how they could be improved?). This all comes to mind because The Silver Seven are in the midst of their top-25 prospects and one comment stands out to me (from here):
with Chris Driedger looking like a solid AHL backup
He does? Ross A is a smart guy so I know he’s seen the goaltender’s Evansville numbers–can you really take Driedger‘s very brief stint with Binghamton as representative? It’s a smaller sample size than Andrew Hammond in the NHL. For me it’s a very dangerous assumption and the fact the organisation feels the same is signalled by them retaining Scott Greenham. Maybe Driedger is an AHL backup, but he hasn’t proven himself yet. That said, my only real quibble with the series thus far is Callum Fraser‘s effort as he offers no substantive reason for Ben Harpur (a marginal prospect) to appear on the list–junior playoff experience does not magically translate to AHL success. Harpur is a big defenseman without great hands or good hockey sense–for me (as mentioned below) he has a good chance to spend a lot of time in the ECHL or as a healthy scratch.
I was about to update signings for Evansville and realised I hadn’t posted any of them as yet, so here’s a brief overview (with rookies in italics):
–Tyson Fawcett (DOB 1993 ECHL 59-9-15-24) – coming off his rookie season with Brampton, the 5’6 forward was a fairly unremarkable OHL-forward, but looks to be a regular with Evansville
–Justin Macdonald (DOB 1990 ECHL 20-7-5-12/FHL 46-44-58-102) – brought up from the FHL towards the end of last season, the former junior-B player was among the first players given an extension; he spent four seasons in southern tier-3 leagues
–Joe Zarbo (DOB 1991 NCAA 32-12-8-20) – debuted with Evansville after graduating, he played well and should get a shot in the lineup
–Thomas Gobeil (DOB 1994 BCHL 41-25-15-40) – the former QMJHL-forward was not particularly productive in major junior, so there’s a good chance he’ll spend most of his time in a lower league like the FHL
–Spencer Humphries (DOB 1992 ECHL 67-3-24-27) – a late-season acquisition from Greenville, he’s signed an extension; this will be his third season as a pro after graduating from the WHL
–Donnie Harris (DOB 1990 ECHL 61-1-7-8) – spent all of last year with Evansville and was among the first extended; he has four pro seasons under his belt
–Chris Rumble (DOB 1990 NCAA 36-7-13-20) – son for former NHLer Darren, the NCAA grad debuted with Evansville at the end of last season
–Mike Kavanagh (DOB 1988 SPHL 54-3-25-28) – tier-2 NCAA grad slots as a career tier-3 player and likely won’t see much action in Evansville
–Christoffer Bengtsberg (DOB 1989 Allsvenskan 3-12-0 2.82 .889) – this is the Swede’s first venture across the pond, arriving after years of bouncing around the Swedish lower leagues; I have no idea how well his game will translate, but he wouldn’t sign if he wasn’t going to get a decent shot
Along with these strictly ECHL contracts we can expect Binghamton players like Danny Hobbs, Daultan Leveille, Matthew Zay, Matthew Wideman, Guillaume Lepine, Chris Carlisle, and possibly Vincent Dunn, Ben Harpur or Troy Rutkowski, and one of Scott Greenham/Chris Driedger. With what’s likely from the above that makes for eight regular forwards, four defensemen, and two goaltenders, leaving plenty of room for more players to be added.
There isn’t much to miss from last season’s Evansville roster (one of the worst in ECHL history), but some of those who had a modicum of talent have signed elsewhere (Braden Pimm in tier-2 Germany, Robin Soudek went back to the Czech league [he was just released, incidentally], and Miles Bell signed in Norway), although no one from that roster is remotely irreplaceable.
A lot of fans became invested in former prospect Corey Cowick–the hometown boy done good–could he ever become that depth NHL forward, a grinder? For myself (and others) there was never a question about his talent ceiling. Last year he signed with Springfield, but only dressed for about half the games, so he’s had to take a contract with Florida in the ECHL for the upcoming season and unfortunately for Corey that is about where his talent gets him. He should do well in the ECHL, but I don’t think he’ll ever be a regular AHL player again (if he wants money he’ll probably migrate to the DEL). The point in bringing this up is that hard work isn’t enough to make up for a lack of talent–something to keep in mind whenever the organisation gets high on a player known primarily for work ethic.
It’s a funny old world. For those who don’t know, I used to write for Sens Nation years ago, but since I gave that up I haven’t heard from them–then I happened to RT something unrelated to hockey and they RT’d it themselves. It’s such a random thing, but I appreciate that they’re still following my feed (and perhaps reading the blog).
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)