Comedy at the Deadline

shane_prince_ottawa

I don’t normally post twice in a day, but the Sens continue to make comical decisions.  Anyone who doesn’t understand why trading Shane Prince for a 3rd-round pick is a bad idea needs their head examined, but for those looking to have it spelled out Nichols is here for you.  Am I surprised by the move?  Absolutely not–it’s completely consistent with how the organisation does things.

pierre dorion

As frustrating as the above is (and it’s a terrible move), I was much more amused by the minor league trade that sent Conor Allen to Nashville in exchange for Finnish forward Michael Keranen.  The Finn was a European free agent signed by Minnesota last season after a career year in the Liiga with Ilves.  His offensive numbers didn’t translate as hoped (this season he’s the fourth or fifth most productive forward for Iowa), although they’re certainly good enough to help Binghamton (his contract ends this year and I think there’s no chance he’ll be retained).  My interest is less about Keranen and more about Allen going the other way.

I wasn’t impressed when Allen was acquired from Nashville for Patrick Mullen, and my surmise at the time about his limitations certainly panned out–Pierre Dorian looks a little silly having said this at the time:

In Conor Allen, we’ve added a hard, competitive player who has ability. He’s played NHL games in the past and provides us additional organization depth

Get it?  He was good in the corners–the only criteria that seems to matter.  However, the organisation revised its impression in less than two months and it must have been bad indeed for them to throw him away for a rental like Keranen, particularly given how lousy the BSens blueline is.  In essence the BSens have traded two defensemen in Mullen and Allen for 21 games of Keranen (who himself is a rental).  Utterly bizarre, but fitting for what has been an abominable season (I wonder if the move has something to do with the number of veteran contracts they have, but still, what does adding a bunch of 25-26 year old forwards really do for Binghamton this season?).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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Senators News & Notes

jared cowen

A lot of Sens fans (myself included) enjoyed a good chuckle when they heard that Jared Cowen was waived by Toronto.  This is the beginning of the end for the former first-round pick, a player we now know was carried by Jared Spurgeon when he was drafted and has ridden his size through his fruitless NHL career.  Rest in peace.

cole schneider

The BSens made a poor trade with Buffalo as Tim Murray happily fleeced them of Cole Schneider (along with Eric O’DellMichael Sdao, and Alex Guptill).  In return the BSens get a pair of undersized 25-year old reliable AHL-scorers (Jason Akeson and Phil Varone), along with failed blueline prospect Jerome Gauthier-Leduc.  All three players have their contracts up at the end of the season, but there’s no reason to doubt that local boy Akeson will be kept.  In essence the Sens gave up on Schneider, who is the only real prospect among all this minor league confetti, and in return get a player who maybe is a bit better than O’Dell (maybe)–there’s also a potential 7th-round pick for Ottawa if Schneider plays at least three NHL games.  I agree with Nichols that all-in-all there’s not much to get upset about here, but it bothers me when the team gives up on talented players and gets nothing in return.  With Schneider gone, Nick Paul and Ryan Dzingel in Ottawa, and Tobias Lindberg traded, the cupboard is truly bare.

borowiecke

You know we live in a funny world when we’re worrying about what Mark Borowiecki thinks about Erik Karlsson.  Nichols spends way too much time on this, but the key point is this:

But, is Mark Borowiecki truly held accountable for his play on the ice?  To borrow a phrase from Daniel Alfredsson, probably not.

No he’s not, but the organisation reinforces his delusions.

Regular readers have noticed I haven’t been posting my game-by-game breakdowns for both Binghamton and Evansville and for those who aren’t away I stopped because there’s simply not enough interest for me to invest my time in it (it has been suggested that I set up a patreon to do it, but until I hear from more people I’ll leave it be).  I will continue to post updates on both teams from time-to-time.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Thoughts on Randy Lee and Organisational Nonsense

I’m not a fan of Randy Lee, but he speaks for the organisation and he talked prospects recently, so here’s what he had to say:
Quentin Shore: it’s decision time to sign him, but he says nothing specific about him (in praise or criticism); his numbers aren’t remarkable (he’s only just above his rookie pace in the NCAA) and he shouldn’t be signed
Andreas Englund: willing to play in Binghamton and compares him to Fredrik Claesson (from his numbers and my viewings he has less puck skills than Freddy, which is alarming)
Francis Perron: decision-time without specifics (he has excellent numbers in the Q)
-vaguely praised Matt O’ConnorChris Driedger, and Marcus Hogberg
Ben Harpur “is a first year guy”–correct–one year down, two more to the ECHL or oblivion
-“we were pretty high on Tobias Lindberg” – something hard to tell from Lee’s comments earlier in the season (although Pierre Dorian did say: “His skill set and his skating is good NHL, not just NHL, even very good NHL (-calibre)”)
-he makes a long peon for Ryan Dzingel including the usual cliche about how they had to work on on his game before he became this good (which is ridiculous, but as a development guy he has to justify his role; a note to those dismissive about late picks: Dzingel is a 7th-rounder, just like Erik Condra–draft guys with puck skills and you get a useful asset)
-he praised Nick Paul, but because he hasn’t put up good numbers he talked about his defensive play–Lee has realised Paul needs to be stroked after his game fell apart when Luke Richardson randomly scratched him early this season (you’ll see more realistic comments from Pierre Dorian)
-he praised Cole Schneider, but said his skating has kept him from being called up (a poor excuse in my opinion)
He said player development in Binghamton is strong (!), which while self-serving is delusional as there’s no evidence to justify it.  He also came up with this canard:

some teams have a minor league system where they put a lot of proven AHL vets on that team that were never going to play pro games just so that team can win. That’s great and it’s great for the people in that city, but we’ve always had the developmental approach that we want our key guys to play important minutes and be big parts of that team

This is ridiculous and follows a trend of the Binghamton arm of the org making excuses rather than taking responsibility.  The organisation (including Lee himself) have made terrible decisions when it comes to signing veterans for Binghamton (back in December he blamed young players for the team’s performance–another self-serving choice for the guy who signs the veterans); the team’s poor performance is a due to coaching and the non-prospect signings, not due to how many vets they’ve dressed (even Nichols, who pays no attention to such things, was able to pick up on this).

We like Mark Frasers, we like Zach Stortinis and we like Eric O’Dells

Commiserations BSens fans! (With an exception for O’Dell).
Finally, we learned Lee is one of the reasons the awful Danny Hobbs is sometimes in the Binghamton lineup.

This kind of nonsense has made it clear to me there’s no way forward for this team until there’s an overhaul of the organisation.  Lee needs to go, Richardson needs to go, Murray needs to go–I’d keep Dorian and move on from there.  If there’s a silver lining for fans it’s that occasionally the team drafts a good player (I say “occasionally” now that Tim Murray is gone–he was clearly the impetus for drafting smaller, skilled players).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

It’s always interesting to me to see what drives people to this site.  I haven’t posted in… almost three weeks?  But with the Dion Phaneuf trade there was a sudden flood of people looking for Tobias Lindberg information–it’s gratifying to know there’s a slice of the fandom that appreciates the work I do on prospects.

dion phaneuf

What do I think of the trade?  It’s typical of Bryan Murray–trade away the future for the now (the usual 2nd round pick along with a prospect, the aforementioned Lindberg) for an aging player in Phaneuf.  Nichols has already explored the limited savings the deal accomplishes in jettisoning the useless Jared CowenColin Greening, and Milan Michalek, as well as how shortsighted the move is, but it’s exactly what you’d expect from the organisation at this stage.  Is Phaneuf the best player in the deal?  Sure he is.  Does acquiring him help the Sens moving forward?  No.  Not unless maybe getting crushed in the first round is your goal.

As for the assorted confetti Toronto threw in with the blueliner, it’s a smorgasbord of minor league garbage.  28-year old NCAA free agent bust Matt Frattin leads the crowd (he can play minutes in Binghamton), followed by another NCAA free agent in Casey Bailey (probably a bust, but at 24 you can’t be absolutely sure), QMJHL free agent Cody Donaghey, and sixth-round pick (6-157/12) Ryan Rupert (who may or may not have AHL-chops).  Frattin and Bailey are off the books at the end of the season, while Rupert is signed through next year and Donaghey through 2017-18.  Maybe Donaghey is a diamond in the rough, but CHL FA success stories are extremely rare so the odds are he’ll spend a few years in the AHL or ECHL and then disappear into the night.  This is basically the Leafs clearing a bunch of dead weight.

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I’ve seen a lot of dumb things written about Lindberg by Binghamton fans this year–along with even dumber things from the coaching staff–but he was the only prospect of any note in the minors for Ottawa and now he’s gone.  The talented Swede may or may not be able to develop into an NHL regular (for my part I believe he’ll play, it’s just a question of where his ceiling is–third or fourth line), but the organisation’s inability to do anything with skilled players continues to hamper their ability to assess players or develop them.  Even “good in the corners” Jeff Ulmer noted the BSens were 1-14 without him in the lineup and while the team won’t have a .066 winning percentage with him gone those who think those numbers are a coincidence just haven’t been paying attention to what he brings to game (possession play, basically).  He’s a great pick-up for the Leafs and the trade is ultimate better for them in the long term (with both Lindberg and the pick).

wikstrand

It’s now old news, but speaking of talented Swedes, one of the dumber episodes in Sens history came to a close when the Sens loaned Mikael Wikstrand back to Farjestad.  Did they bow to public pressure?  Murray’s press release indicated he released Wikstrand  because he wasn’t interested in playing in North America, but that’s something we knew a long time ago.  It’s difficult to see any other reason for the curmudgeonly Murray to give up on his policy other than pressure (public and private), especially after all the ridiculous rhetoric about Wikstrand.  I’m happy the Swede is free to play for his team, but you have to wonder what the Senators thought they were accomplishing with their nonsensical approach.  By loaning Wikstrand they’ve denuded their previous refusal of any and all meaning–now it appears to be nothing more than a petty temper tantrum from management which has achieved absolutely nothing.  The door remains open for Wikstrand to play somewhere in the future, but it won’t be for Ottawa.  Tying this to moving Lindberg along and I can now sadly agree with Nichols long held opinion that there’s almost nothing in Ottawa’s cupboard anymore.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)