I wanted to highlight one particular snippet from The Silver Sevens media time with Pierre Dorion:
Yes we do [have an analytics person in the organisation]. We have an independent gentleman who we use. Our management side has used him and our coaches have used him as well. A lot of people publicize what they do with hockey analytics, we like to keep it all in-house. We have someone who we think is very capable of giving us really good information in terms of hockey analytics. We don’t always agree with what he’s saying, which is good because it’s a totally different perspective than what we are used to dealing with. I think it opens our eyes and it makes us think about how we do things. I think it’s a tool we use to make ourselves better.
I hadn’t heard this before and it’s a relief to know the Sens haven’t completely lost touch with what’s current in the NHL (analytics). Given some of the players they’ve hung onto, Dorion isn’t a true believer yet, but I think in time he’ll adjust.
On the flip side we have a comment from Randy Lee (same link) that boggles the mind:
But the guys who stood out and made an impression on Bryan and the coaches were Max McCormick, Tobias Lindberg, Matt O’Connor, and Travis Ewanyk. Travis is the guy we got in the trade for Eric Gryba, he’s really feisty, he won face-offs, he was in peoples’ faces, he did a really good job. We just tell them that you have to paint a picture of who you are so management gets to know definitively what type of player you are, and those guys did that.
Maybe Lee is trying to pump the tires of a player who needs a confidence boost, but if there’s one prospect who has looked consistently bad it’s Ewanyk–he was invisible at the development camp and awful at the rookie camp. There’s a part of me that worries Lee actually liked what he saw, but we won’t really find out until Binghamton’s season starts.
Nichols has posted his Senators preview and there’s lot’s to glean from it. I want to echo his point that the idea that the Sens have some sort of “momentum” from how last season ended is ridiculous (something even the drones at TSN 1200 have echoed). I think he’s a little too kind to call Andrew Hammond‘s AHL numbers “mediocre”, but his caution is entirely appropriate. On the more questionable side we hit a staple of his:
But because Ottawa’s system lacked safely projectable high-end talent that can crack the Senators’ roster in the next year, two or maybe even three years, it creates a situation in which the Senators need continued growth from the young players on the roster.
I’ve previously discussed how vague Nichols’ notion of high-end talent is (he thinks Mark Stone needs to develop more to be one–the same guy projected to lead the team in scoring per sixty). There’s no obvious or immediate need at key positions except to round out the depth of talent; at least one of the current prospects will make an impact in the coming seasons. Nichols is a smart guy, but he’s overly reliant on Hockey Prospectus writers for his opinions on prospects–if he opens himself up to other scouting sources we’ll see more nuanced thoughts.
In another post Nichols sites an Ottawa Citizen article talking about Jared Cowen and his injury woes and it’s worth quoting:
Cowen hasn’t felt 100 per cent since the mid-point of the 2013-14 season. Late that year, the 6-5 defenceman tore something in his abdomen, but thought he was dealing with a routine hip flexor. As it turns out, he had damaged the external oblique muscle on his right side, hampering his ability to push with his right leg. Four months ago, he had surgery in Montreal to repair the problem.
This is something to keep in mind about his performance over that span, but as Nichols points out, this does mean that there are no excuses for him this season–he either demonstrates the potential that made him a top-ten pick or else he should be moved.
The Sens have already cut three players from camp as invitee Marcus Crawford was returned to junior along with Francis Perron and Filip Chlapik (no real surprise for any of them). Dave Cameron has also split the remaining players into two squads with one clearly the intended NHL lineup plus potential callups (Shane Prince, Matt Puempel, Chris Wideman, and Michael Kostka). This is a departure from the historical norm for the Senators, but it makes sense.
Ary M provides thoughts on the Sens opening exhibition games and has some interesting thoughts. I can’t help but quote one of them:
The defense didn’t show well as a group, with Borowiecki – Harpur faring the worst out of the three pairings. It was so much so that despite the team wanting to give Wiercioch – Ceci first pair minutes, they finished with two minutes less than Borowiecki – Harpur, mainly due to how much the latter got stuck in the defensive zone for an extended period of time. They were on ice for 23 shot attempts against, which is close to how many Ottawa had the entire game.
This is nothing new for Borowiecki, but may help dampen the mild but absurd hype for Harpur over the summer.
The organisation’s limited love for Guillaume Lepine reminds me of what happened to Geoff Waugh back in the day. For those who understandably have forgotten, Waugh was an ECHL-player (like Lepine) who made an impression as a call-up in the 06-07 season with Binghamton; he was subsequently rewarded with an AHL-contract and proceeded to be awful in the following season (the only full AHL season of his career), eventually moving over to Europe where he’s still playing. The major difference between the two is that there’s no real requirement for Lepine to play (unlike the talent-starved Binghamton team of Waugh‘s day), so he’s unlikely to have the same impact on the team.
Evansville announced another signing, inking defenseman Michael Trebish (DOB 1989 ECHL 70-1-8-9), who spent last season with Wichita after two in the CHL. He’s a Ferris State grad who seems to be a safe, stay-at-home player.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)