Senators News & Notes


The latest news that Chris Phillips is having problems with his recovery (Bryan Murray talking about the second half of the season) is a reason for optimism–the Sens still have problems on the blueline, but less without the Big Rig.


Nichols seemed to be going down the road of reviewing Murray’s career as Ottawa’s GM up to this point (an effort I’d welcome), but stopped short of anything that heavy.  He did make a statement that interested me:

Looking at Murray’s draft record, I’m not even convinced that it is THAT good under his direction.

Why?  And why contemplate excluding Anders Forsberg’s contributions to the draft when he’s part of the team Murray put together?  It’s puzzling.  What does Nichols define as “good”, and which GM fits his criteria?  As it sits it’s a problematic statement, but behind it is a good question–Murray has a reputation for drafting well, is it deserved?  As someone who has spent a lot of time looking into draft success since the lockout, it’s something I find fascinating, but it’s a poorly discussed topic.  If I was going to assess Murray’s draft record, I’d want direct comparisons–how have other GMs done with similar picks over the same period/era?  Attached to that would be an understanding of how well GMs generally do at the draft (about which I have tentative conclusions via the link above).  I’d give Murray a pass on the horrible 2007 draft (which is essentially a Muckler draft with Murray’s face stamped on it), judging him from 2008 and beyond.  The problem with assessing his record is that you can really only judge 2008–it takes that long (sometimes longer) for prospects to boom or bust.  Here’s a quick look at the ’08 results:
1-15 Erik Karlsson – a world-class, blue chip talent
2-42 Patrick Wiercioch – analytics guys love him, but even now we can’t truly assess where he’ll top-out as a prospect; notable players taken after him: Justin Schultz (Ana #43), Derek Stepan (NYR #51), Travis Hamonic (NYI #53), Jimmy Hayes (Tor #60), Jori Lehtera (Stl #65), and Lance Bouma (Cal #78)
3-79 Zack Smith – a Murray favourite, but a player with obvious shortcomings; notables: Adam Henrique (NJ #82) and Braden Holtby (Wsh #93)
4-109 Andre Petersson – now in the KHL, notables: Dale Weiss (NYR #111) and T. J. Brodie (Cal #114)
4-119 Derek Grant – now in the Calgary organisation; notables: Gustav Nyquist (Det #121) and Matt Calvert (Clb #127)
5-139 Mark Borowiecki – hometown favourite, notables: Matt Martin (NYI #148), Jared Spurgeon (NYI #156), Cam Atkinson (Clb #157), Ben Smith (Chi #169), Tommy Wingels (SJ #177), Zach Redmond (Col #184), and Jason Demers (SJ #186)
7-199 Emil Sandin – swing and a miss, notable: Anders Lindback (Nsh #207)
Names could still be added (or deleted) from the above depending on performance.  Excluding Karlsson (where there’s no debate) the Sens have two or three NHL players above (which is good in and of itself), one of whom could be more than a depth player (Wiercioch).  Only the Islanders have three players listed above–are any of them as good or better than Wiercioch?  Perhaps.  Four other teams appear twice (Columbus, Calgary, the Rangers, and San Jose).  In terms of quality, most people would agree that Derek Stepan and Braden Holtby are the best players (with perhaps Gustav Nyquist in the conversation), but it’s not like the Sens were sandbagged by a host of other teams.  Even if you want to say, due to quality, the Rangers, Caps, Islanders, and Wings had better drafts than Ottawa after the first-round, that still puts Ottawa ahead of 25 other teams.  It’s obviously a small sample size (just one draft), but I include it because I wish there was more substance behind Nichols opinion–I hope he has clear reasons for thinking Murray hasn’t drafted well (or, at least, not “good”).


Own the Puck applies a Baseball formula for player projection (Marcels) and applies it to hockey and here’s what it produces for Sens players (points per 60min is what’s below)–keep in mind that I suspect a small sample size prejudices the numbers too much for newer players:
Mark Stone 1.98
Mike Hoffman 1.93
Bobby Ryan 1.88
Kyle Turris 1.75
Clarke MacArthur 1.67
Shane Prince 1.66
Mika Zibanejad 1.66
Matt Puempel 1.63
Jean-Gabriel Pageau 1.59
Alex Chiasson 1.50
Milan Michalek 1.49
Curtis Lazar 1.39
Colin Greening 1.13
Zack Smith 1.10
Erik Karlsson 1.03
Chris Neil 0.93
Cody Ceci 0.81
Patrick Wiercioch 0.77
Marc Methot 0.70
Jared Cowen 0.67
Mark Borowiecki 0.65
Chris Phillips 0.59

Food for thought on player productivity.


Evansville announced four more signings, one of whom (Strandberg) we already knew about:
Radoslav Illo (DOB 1990 Slovakia 37-5-8-13) – the former Anaheim draft pick (5-136/09) finished up an unremarkable career at Bemidji State (NCAA) before putting up terrible numbers in the Slovak league.  He might have the chops to do decently in Evansville, but he seems like a shot in the dark
Benjamin Dieude-Fauval (DOB 1986 ECHL 31-4-5-9/AHL 20-0-1-1) – the French-national defenseman has had a middling six-year career in the minors (including two with Binghamton’s old affiliate Elmira) and offers simple, safe play
Jonathan Carlsson (DOB 1988 Allsvenskan 44-3-3-6) – another defenseman, he’s a former Chicago draft pick (6-162/08) who has spent most of his career in Sweden (split between the SHL and the Allsvenskan), producing virtually no offense, but playing well enough to be dressed; this will be his second tour of duty in the ECHL, as he briefly played for Toledo back in 09-10 (where his numbers were somewhat better than they were in Sweden)

This means for an ECHL team there’s a lot of European content (three Swedes, a Czech, a Slovak, and a French-national).  The Swedish presence may have something to do with Swedish assistant coach Johan Lundskog, but I’m just speculating.  Incidentally, apparently Adam Stuart is simply a camp invitee (something not noted in the official press release), and clearly some of other announced signings are as well.  By my count Evansville now has 23 players on its roster (not including those who will be sent down from Binghamton), so clearly not all of them are on actual contracts.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)



  1. […] Senators News & Notes […]

  2. […] noted that Evansville has an unusually large European contingent for an ECHL team (6; there are only 40 […]

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