Nichols talks about the recent report that teams are calling the Sens about Jared Cowen and wonders:
Maybe teams are calling the Senators. Maybe they’re not.
As he points out, the Sens have planted interest in the media before in the hopes of generating actual interest. The question is, if that’s the case, what’s the motivation? Do the Sens genuinely want to move Cowen, or do they want to motivate him by threatening him with a move? As Nichols points out, maybe there’s more to Cowen than what we’ve seen so far, but this truly is a make or break year for him.
Kristopher Bras has written HF’s prospect list for Ottawa, but it makes little sense (the most egregious example is he suggests Thomas Chabot could potentially replace Erik Karlsson).
The song remains the same, it seems, for Mikael Wikstrand, who has reiterated his disinterest in playing in the AHL. Given that the Sens have control over where he plays it’s really up to them, although at this point I’m not sure what more he can learn from the SHL.
The latest 6th Sens podcast is up and one thing that stood out to me was their belief that the Sens need a strong number three defenseman to stabilize the blueline. It’s not a radical or new thought (although it presupposes that either Cody Ceci and Patrick Wiercioch aren’t ready for that role or will never be ready for it), but deserves emphasis. The second half of the podcast included Corey Pronman who discussed his methodology (a mix of understandably limited personal viewings with added video and then talking to scouts) before talking about Ottawa’s 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 depth prospects. I give credit to Nichols for asking Pronman’s about some of his misses in prior assessments of Ottawa (perhaps he’ll be a bit more guarded the next time he lauds the former’s opinions). Other notes: Pronman doesn’t see Matt O’Connor as top-goaltending material (interestingly, he likes Marcus Hogberg), although it’s worth remembering what Travis Yost noted recently: predicting the development of goaltenders is still poorly understood, albeit the pure percentages mean most prospects between the pipes don’t turn out. Pronman is also a big fan of Filip Chlapik, given how often he brought him up. The whole cast is worth listening to and if you have a couple of pucks you should definitely support the The 6th Sens Patreon.
James Gordon has started up a blog covering Ottawa/Winnipeg and his first post looks at Stanley Cup predictions. Gordon is one of the few (now former) newspaper reporters who embraces analytics, so I’m happy he’s putting his hockey thoughts somewhere since he’s no longer on the Sens beat. Gordon likes looking at Fenwick numbers, but also uses Bodog’s betting site to make his calls for this reason:
I think Bodog probably best reflects market wisdom is because it’s heavily advertised in Canada and, I’m assuming, is drawing a fairly sophisticated crowd of hockey bettors (I’ve seen some futures elsewhere that are really out of whack — Calgary and LA both at +1700, for example).
Bodog has Ottawa 17th, which Gordon agrees with. He likes LA beating Tampa Bay in the finals. Whether you agree with him or not, I’m glad he’s looking to justify his predictions quantifiably rather than simply looking at last year’s standings or going from his “gut”.
Travis Yost looks at analytics ability to forecast mean reversion well in advance of the rest of the industry:
Simple understanding of what is and isn’t repeatable talent can go a long way in forecasting future success/failure, and it’s one of the big reasons why so much attention is paid to stats like Corsi%. Controlling possession at even-strength correlates well with winning long-term and, most importantly, is a repeatable skill. Scoring on a high percentage of shots also correlates well with winning, but it’s prone to major fluctuations and exhibits very little repeatability over long samples.
It’s well worth reading the whole piece.
A bit more Evansville news as via the Icemen Maniac’s blog: a number of as-yet unannounced and/or unconfirmed signings for the team (the ones with “R” next to them are via Jim Riggs (see below); rookies in italics):
Mark Anthoine (R) (DOB 1990 ECHL 34-8-9-17/SPHL 22-4-5-9) – the former University of Maine grad put up semi-reasonable numbers in a half-season of work for the Icemen last year
Sebastian Strandberg (DOB 1992 SHL 24-0-0-0/Allsvenskan 24-2-3-5) – after being released by Vasteras (Allsvenskan) a few weeks ago, Johan Svensson reports that he’s signed with Evansville; a decent scorer in junior in Sweden (a point per game in his last full season), he has yet to show that at the pro level, so it will be interesting to see how he does here
Kyle Just (R) (DOB 1991 NCAA 38-13-21-34) – this will be the Arnprior native’s first professional season in the ECHL and his track record at Mercyhurst was solid
Matt Harlow (DOB 1992 NCAA 30-3-3-6) – with unremarkable stats at Brown University there’s little reason to doubt he’ll be SPHL or FHL-bound
Robin Soudek (DOB 1991 ECHL 62-18-21-39) – after failing to earn a contract with HC Olomouc in the Czech league he’ll be returning to Evansville who acquired him from Rapid City last year (his third team of the season); he’s a lock to play regularly
Dan Sova (R) (DOB 1990 SPHL 31-0-8-8/ECHL 11-0-1-1) – coming off his rookie season, largely spent in the SPHL; with an unremarkable NCAA background I think he’s unlikely to spend much time in the ECHL
Evansville’s Jim Riggs (chief operating officer) and Al Sims (head coach) also made some comments to the blog of note:
Ottawa was scouting [Christoffer] Bengtsberg, and the Sens are really high on him. [Riggs and Sims are] still expecting [Scott] Greenham and [Nick] Tuzzolino to end up in Evansville, Troy Rutkowski is a distinct possibility too, and Daultan Leveille could be in the IceMen mix as well.
The roster speculation seems on-point and I’m not surprised that the Sens had a hand in getting Bengtsberg to Evansville, as he adds a bit more injury depth should the dominos start to fall (negating the need to sign someone mid-season like the moribund Peter Mannino).
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)