Senators News & Notes

Luke-Richardson

Luke Richardson weighed in on Binghamton (briefly) and thought last season’s debacle was due to a lack of experience, which is an odd conclusion if you look at their roster (which had an abundance of veterans).  It’s such a pat answer I wonder if it’s really what Richardson believes (the best spin I can put on it is that his best players were younger).  He also suggested there might be player movement (a trade) to make room for Chris Wideman in Ottawa (which struck me as speculation, but a welcome thought); otherwise he just had some generalities about Matt O’Connor and Shane Prince.  My two cents on Binghamton’s problems, btw, is that coaching was part of the problem (playing usage in particular), with too much reliance on older players who weren’t delivering.

corey pronman

Superstar to the blogosphere Corey Pronman (sigh) has posted his latest organisational prospect rankings (why the normally discerning Nichols accepts Pronman’s pronouncements so readily is difficult to surmise, but I’d guess it’s the platform he’s given).  For those unfamiliar with these exercises, grades are assigned on the supposed quality of the prospect pool (as long as you don’t ask for details, everybody’s happy).  I might give this approach more credit if there was any reason to believe Pronman (or anyone else) had a track record of predictive success with these assessments, but really, grades are given and then everyone forgets about them–predictions are not being held to the fire, which is odd in an era of analytics.  Let me give just one example of Pronman‘s acumen (his list from 2011):
1. David Rundblad, Defense
2. Mika Zibanejad, Left Wing
3. Nikita Filatov, Right Wing
4. Stephane Da Costa, Center
5. Jared Cowen, Defense
6. Jakob Silfverberg, Right Wing
7. Patrick Wiercioch, Defense
8. Derek Grant, Left Wing
9. Matt Puempel, Left Wing
10. Robin Lehner, Goaltender
Keep in mind guys like Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman and Chris Wideman were in the organisation at this point, so RIP prognostication or an eye for talent (I could go on about this, but you get the point).  Yes, Pronman is better than the guy on the street corner for prospect info, but let’s not go overboard with his opinions.  Anyway, I’ve talked about Pronman before so let’s go back to what Nichols does with this:

The problem with Ottawa’s depth of prospects is that while many of them safely project to be NHLers, there simply is not a lot of room for them at the parent level right now.

I assume Nichols’ point here is that he wants the deadwood removed from the roster to provide that space, but that still doesn’t make having this depth of prospects a problem.  They are useful assets–always a good thing.  Then we have:

The problem therein, is that while the system does have depth at every position, it lacks projectable impact players. Although it’s entirely possible for a prospect to exceed projections and develop into a front line player, it seems unlikely.

And what is an impact player in his opinion?  The default assumption is that it refers to a top-six forward or top-four defenseman, but if that’s what he means he’s simply wrong–there’s no question that at least a couple of the current prospects have that ability (I’m sure Nichols would agree; certainly the organisation thinks they have a future #1 goaltender in O’Connor–and that’s not just blowing smoke up the ass of the public, they traded Robin Lehner to make room for him).  What I think he’s actually referring too is elite talent, a top-line or top-pairing player, which is an entirely different question and (to me) missing the point.  Very few prospects are ever at that level and they certainly spend almost no time within systems because they “graduate” from these lists in a hurry.  While I applaud Nichols for cautioning fans against getting too excited about hidden gems and the organisation pumping the tires of prospects, he’s over the top when bemoaning the lack of “impact players” in the system.  We’d all like elite players rattling around in the minors, but it really doesn’t work that way (I’d recommend checking out my draft success article, which I’ll have to update with last season in mind).  Anyway, I still love you Nichols, I just want you to apply that critical thinking of yours to Pronman a bit more critically rather than using him as a hatchet against whoever you’re having prospect arguments with.

lists-image

Hockey Prospectus (Ryan Wagman) has its own top-ten list and Callum Fraser can celebrate as they inexplicably have Ben Harpur as a Sleeper (it’s amazing how simply being big will impact opinion, “his physical gifts are immense but he is currently held back by inconsistent decision making“–I find the latter more than a little worrying).  That said, his list has no visible criteria behind it and from the information available I haven’t the slightest idea what separates the players on it.  For those of you who share the addiction to size, please read this.

travisyost

Time to cleanse the palate with the inestimable Travis Yost.  Recently he’s looked at what impacts shooting percentage and come to the preliminary conclusion that talented centers have at least some impact (previously analytics guys thought the percentage was always gravitated to the average).  On a TSN podcast he offered the opinion that NHL goalies are overpaid (starts around 9:00).  He also looked at Lou Lamoriello’s draft success with the Devils and I wish he’d examined their success after the lockout.

List making is so arbitrary for prospects I’m tempted to make one myself, although I’d be looking to apply metrics of some kind to it.  Speaking of lists, I’ll need to remember to update some of my stuff on here–feel free to offer some friendly reminders.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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8 Comments

  1. […] Senators News & Notes […]

  2. […] system.  He wants Ottawa to have more bluechip prospects (I’ve gone through the problems with this kind of thinking), but proceeded to pick five players who might become more than simply […]

  3. […] 2-0-0-0 -1 Lepine: 2-0-0-0 -2 Kostka: 1-0-0-0 even This is a guy who was being hyped in the summer (Ryan Wagman being a cheerleader among others), although as I said repeatedly at the time he’s not going […]

  4. […] harp on the depth of the Sens and it’s a puzzling thing to me (I’ve gone over this before).  The issue for Ottawa is not its lack of depth, but rather the preference of coaches to play […]

  5. […] it’s problematic (his fondness for Ben Harpur is inexplicable (maybe he’s from the Ryan Wagman school of “he’s 6’6 and…er…”)–I can only hope he’s […]

  6. […] a wall of talent).  This feeling was compounded when Richardson blamed his first difficult year on a lack of experience, despite a lineup filled with veterans, and this habitual decision to pass the blame and refuse […]

  7. […] to his own thoughts (on size); as for why I have issues with Wagman I’ll refer you here and here; Ryan tends to Google his own name, so hello Ryan).  After various first round profiles […]

  8. […] have weighed in on the Sens performance.  Nichols’ piece leans heavily on Corey Pronman (because reasons) and McKeen‘s (a little quid pro quo for Grant McCagg’s appearance on his podcast) […]


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