Senators News & Notes

My promised update to my Draft Success article has been posted.  It’s long, but for those interested in the draft there’s plenty of food for thought (beyond the success percentages I also touch on organizational success).  I also updated my article on undrafted European success stories.


Nichols goes through the pros and cons of having Martin Havlat on the roster (given that the Sens are apparently offering him a PTO for training camp).  I also wouldn’t mind seeing him here–assuming he’s healthy enough to perform and it means the elimination of some of the roster’s dead weight.


Before I looked into it, I thought the organisation might be starting to pull away a little from signing NCAA (and other) free agents to ELC’s (in terms of volume).  Early on in Murray’s tenure it made sense to sign free agents as there wasn’t much coming up through the system, but the organisation has continued to do so long after the cupboard was full.  Looking at the data however, my surmise doesn’t appear to hold much water:
2007: Derek Smith, Tyler Donati (OHL)
2008: Jesse Winchester
2009: Geoff Kinrade, Craig Schira (WHL)
2010: Bobby Butler, David Dziurzynski (BCHL)
2011: Stephane Da Costa, Pat Cannone, Wacey Hamilton (WHL)
2012: Cole Schneider
2013: Andrew Hammond, Buddy Robinson, Ludwig Karlsson, Troy Rutkowski (WHL)
2014: Garrett Thompson
2015: Matt O’Connor
I don’t think it’s a surprise that none of the players signed out of junior (5) have panned out (although it does happen).  The NCAA players have been a mixed bag, although whatever method the Sens use to select them seems to have flamed out badly last year with Garrett Thompson (he and Karlsson are by far the worst coming from that route).  All the college players (excepting the aforementioned) have been useful to the organisation (largely as AHL-talent), although several have been over hyped and none ever became important pieces in the NHL (the jury is still out on some, of course).  Of those now departed I could see Stephane Da Costa getting another shot in the NHL (he’s dominated the KHL), but it wouldn’t be with Ottawa.


Evansville added three more players to its roster:
-goaltender Brandon Komm returns (4-10-3 3.28 .903); while his stats don’t look remarkable, they were the best of anyone between the pipes for the team last season–the signing makes me wonder just how firm Christoffer Bengtsberg‘s roster slot is given that Scott Greenham or Chris Driedger will also be in Evansville
J. P. Labardo (ECHL 54-10-7-17); the former OHLer played with Gwinnett last season (his rookie season), but as his numbers are unremarkable I’m not sure what to make of him
Stephen Pierog (OHL 68-13-27-40); again his numbers aren’t that exciting, so presumably he’s providing depth
This means 12 players (so far) are on the pre-season roster (so that doesn’t include the various AHL-contracted players likely to be sent down).  Incidentally, Evansville’s FHL affiliate is the newly minted Berlin River Drivers (based in New Hampshire)–as far as I can tell they had no lower league affiliate last season (drawing players from various SPHL and FHL teams); at the moment the River Drivers are one of only two FHL teams with an affiliation (Dayton is the other), although being affiliated doesn’t seem that common for leagues at this level (I could only find one in the SPHL (Louisana)).  Incidentally, in looking into the FHL it doesn’t seem to have the depth or security of the SPHL, albeit I’m don’t think that’s hugely important to either Evansville or the Sens organisation.


Readers may remember that I was very high on Kurt Kleinendorst after Binghamton’s Calder Cup run in 2011; unfortunately for Kurt, he’s yet another in a long line of examples that coaching makes little difference in team performance, as since leaving Bingo he’s flamed out in the NCAA and Iowa in the AHL.  It doesn’t mean he isn’t a good coach, but it does mean he can’t magically turn bad teams into good teams.


Andrew over at WTYKY (formerly of The Silver Seven) has an important piece on masculinity and the nasty side of hockey culture.  I can’t cut his piece down into quotable snippets, but I highly recommend it (particularly emphasizing his call to take sports media to task for its complicity).

erik karlsson

Conor Tompkins goes through the stats to illustrate the increasing contribution of defencemen to offense since the dead puck era.  In something of the same vein, Justin Bourne tries to figure out which blueliners get the puck through to the net most effectively, but admits he’s hampered by a lack of good data–what he has raises as many questions as it answers (no one is going to mistake Roman Polak or Jay Bouwmeester as offensive juggernauts)–I laud his attempt however.

corey pronman

I’m beating a dead horse, but I’ll make it brief.  Craig Smith tells us:

Pronman is worth the $

Why?  He makes lists, but so does my 7-year old niece–give me a good reason (yes Smith is a colleague so he has no choice, but my question is to the blogosphere at large).  Nichols is…look, you can’t force an addict to change, you just have to be there when they are ready (he should read his own comments about Pronman from two years ago).  Using someone else’s opinion to justify your own is making an appeal to authority–that’s only valid if there’s a reason to believe the authority you are appealing too.  Anyway, moving on.

ryan wagman

Having done this for as long as I have you’d think I wouldn’t be surprised anymore, but Ryan Wagman over at Hockey Prospectus broke new ground for me.  I mentioned his prospect list for the Sens in my last post and specifically wondered why he included Ben Harpur in it (which wasn’t the main thrust of what I was talking about, but it’s what he gravitated too).  Wagman hit the Twitter machine (he doesn’t follow me, so presumably Googles his own name) to let me know that:

my Harpur placement had far more to it than his size. You can find a full report on him on the site

I was puzzled by this response (follow the link for some commentary on the addiction of some NHL exec’s with size), for obvious reasons, and gave him some friendly advice:

You should link or include the information; nothing I’ve seen in scouting reports is encouraging–just size size size

Nothing Wagman says in the piece referenced suggests anything more than size (nor do the scouting reports when he was drafted two years ago):

his physical gifts are immense but he is currently held back by inconsistent decision making

The latter is far more important than the former, as are his (unmentioned) unremarkable numbers in the CHL–as Wagman knows full well players do not magically produce more when they turn pro, so Harpur‘s only hope as a prospect is being a safe, defensive blueliner–to do so he needs to make good decisions.  What was his response?

Google: Wagman Harpur

That’s not my (or anyone else’s) prerogative.  It’s incumbent on him to justify his own narrative and analysis in the piece.  If he has a unique scouting perspective on Harpur he needs to justify it.  Anyway, that’s more than enough on the guy.

My hope is that I’ll have time to update a few other popular articles of mine; regardless, it’s worth remembering we aren’t that far away from much meatier Sens news so we have that to look forward too.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)



  1. […] is nothing new for Borowiecki, but may help dampen the mild but absurd hype for Harpur over the […]

  2. […] what the Federal Hockey League was (Evansville’s affiliate).  While I’d discussed it briefly back in August, I didn’t go into it figuring there was no interest whatsoever.  For […]

  3. […] 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 (which […]

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