Nichols states the obvious: Zack Smith won’t maintain this level of production in the future (comparing him to Patrick Eaves). Nichols follows Sylvain St-Laurent on Twitter (who used to follow me once upon a time) and learned that the Sens are interested in NCAA free agent Drake Caggiula (33-19-23-42) at North Dakota (second on the team in scoring behind Vancouver’s first-round pick Brock Boeser; also teammates with Sens prospect Christian Wolanin). It would be a shock if the Sens didn’t sign at least one NCAA free agent.
The BSens signed NCAA FA Mike Borkowski to a PO and he’s already suited up for a game. He’s yet another local boy (Kanata) who had steady numbers at Colgate (his career year was his sophomore season). This year he was 37-13-9-22, which put him third on the team in scoring. His numbers are not very remarkable, and although he has better pedigree than (say) Nick Craven from a few years back; his numbers are a lot like Garrett Thompson‘s.
Evansville made a move I wholeheartedly approve of, as they moved out the disappointing defenseman Spencer Humphries for Brendan Ellis (from the South Carolina Stingrays).
Prospect update time, with college and European regular seasons over:
Marcus Hogberg (3-78/13, G DOB 94) SHL Linkoping 14-7-5 2.31 .911
He’s split time with David Rautio, with the 30-year old benefiting from some good fortune (he’s GAA is much better at 1.96, but his save percentage is similar at .916); overall his numbers are similar to last season (2.30 and .917); he’s a good prospect and one I’m interested to see in North America
Andreas Englund (2-40/14, D DOB 96) SHL Djurgardens 45-2-4-6
Virtually identical numbers to last year (49-2-3-5); I’m not excited by him at all (his limitations with the puck are a major concern), but the org likes him
Christian Jaros (5-139/15, D 96) SHL Lulea 24-0-4-4
With Asploven in the Allsvenskan he was 25-2-3-5; his numbers are a slight improvement over last year (25-0-1-1); he needs another year before I feel strongly about him one way or another, but he tops out as a depth player
Filip Ahl (4-109/15, LW DOB 97) SuperElit HV71 18-18-13-31
With Sundsvall in the Allsvenskan he put up 16-4-2-6 and with HV71 in the SHL he was 17-0-0-0; overall some improvement with his numbers, but like Jaros he needs another season before I really form a strong opinion
Colin White (1-21/15, C DOB 97) Boston College 30-17-22-39
As you’d expect from the first-rounder he leads his team in points-per-game (he’s just behind Ryan Fitzgerald for the scoring lead); a genuinely good prospect to be excited about
Quentin Shore (6-168/13, C DOB 94) U Denver 34-11-9-20
Unremarkable numbers in his final year, behind all three players on the top line; I wouldn’t sign him
Christian Wolanin (4-107/15, D DOB 95) North Dakota 27-4-10-14
Wound up third on the blueline in points-per game (behind Tucker Poolman and Troy Stecher), which is a solid first season at this level
Kelly Summers (7-189/14, D DOB 96) Clarkson 35-3-10-13
Fourth in defensive scoring, with slightly better numbers than the previous season (33-6-4-10); doesn’t blow me out of the water, but there’s still time for him to blossom
Robert Baillargeon (5-136/12, C DOB 93) Boston U 33-6-6-12
An ugly season for him, as he continues to decline from the heights of his rookie season in the NCAA (he’s eighth in scoring among forwards); looks like a bust
Chris Leblanc (6-161/13, RW DOB 93) Merrimack 33-6-6-12
Continues his unremarkable career with his third season identical to all the others (he’s seventh in scoring among forwards); another bust
Shane Eiserman (4-100/14, RW DOB 95) U New Hampshire 32-3-9-12
About the same level of production as last year (seventh among forwards); still too early to call where he’s going, but depth is the best you can hope
Miles Gendron (3-70/14, D DOB 96) Connecticut 28-2-4-6
It still amazes me that he was a third-round pick; regardless, he’s had an adequate rookie campaign (among U Conn’s moribund defensecorps he’s third in production); plenty of time left on this one
Francis Perron (7-190/14, RW DOB 96) QMJHL Rouyn-Noranda 61-41-66-107
Incredibly productive, so management will hesitate–how good is he in the corners? He’s well ahead of all his teammates in scoring and a distant second in the league (behind Arizona pick Conor Garland)
Filip Chlapik (2-48/15, C DOB 97) QMJHL Charlottetown 50-12-40-52
These are lower numbers than his draft year (66-33-42-75), but scoring on the team is down and he’s still second on his team in points-per-game behind Pittsburgh pick Daniel Sprong
Thomas Chabot (1-18/15, D DOB 97) QMJHL Saint John 45-10-34-44
The first-rounder comfortably leads the team’s blueline and he sits fifth in the Q in points-per-game by a defenseman; a good prospect, but it’s always hard to translate Q numbers to the pro level
Cody Donaghey (FA Tor 14, D DOB 96) QMJHL Halifax/Moncton 49-10-24-34
Production has exploded since being traded to Moncton; overall he’s fourteenth in blueline scoring in the Q
Gabriel Gagne (2-36/15, RW DOB 96) QMJHL Victoriaville/Shawinigan 40-17-18-35
The Sens did a lot of wheeling and dealing to get him, but the 6’5 power forward has seen his production drop with Shawinigan (he’s fifth on the team in points-per-game); how much his injury problems early in the season have impacted his play remains to be seen
Joel Daccord (7-199/15, G DOB 96) USHL Muskegon 17-18-3 3.16 .901
Much better numbers than his backup, but he’s very far down the list of USHL goaltenders (still far too early to make judgments about him)
Two more free agents were signed by NHL teams: Detroit signed CHL FA defenseman Daniel Renouf, while Edmonton signed former Minnesota draft pick and current mid-tier KHL forward Jere Sallinen, despite the fact his career year in Europe was three years ago (good enough at the time that he was included in my European FA’s of interest).
I’ve wondered for the last few years how healthy the traditional sports scene is–I’ve had a general sense of an aging, declining audience, but gut feelings are pretty useless so I decided to look for numbers related to it, having the pet theory that younger fans were being channeled into eSports. Here’s a look into the demographics of sport along with the trends (most of the numbers are via ESPN) for the average age of the fanbase:
Golf: old (exact average isn’t given, simply emphasized)
NCAA: 50ish (40% are 55+)
Ten years ago the average age for MLB was just 41. Participation overall in baseball (and other sports) is shrinking. Looking into the numbers, it wasn’t surprising that the NHL has the wealthiest audience among professional sports (it’s not surprising given the cost of playing hockey), and the second whitest audience behind NASCAR (92% and 94% respectively). What you can draw in general about these numbers is that those watching professional sports are an aging, gradually shrinking group. You could try and relate that to an aging population, but as we’ll see below, that’s not enough of an explanation.
Where is the youth going? One of the places, as I’d surmised, is eSports, which is experiencing exponential growth. Originally an phenomena restricted to Asia, it experienced 100% growth in the US over the past two years, with 18% of video game players watching (70% of Americans play video games). Viewership is fairly diverse, with an estimated audience of about 226 millon (either 38% of 44% female, which is better than traditional sports, perhaps helped by the lack of a barrier to entry on the professional side).
Assuming we are in the midst of a transition (a reasonable assumption, even if it’s not all going to one place), why is it occurring? I haven’t seen data related to the question (or even seen the question asked), so I’m left to speculate:
1) mainstream sports are anchored in dying mediums (radio and television), with extremely poor streaming options
2) the games are long and (with the exception of basketball) within them not much happens
3) limited content (long off-seasons; long gaps between games; huge gaps between championships and playoffs; even the gaps within games are long)
4) repetitive (there’s limited variety in what you’ll see on the field of play)
None of this is to suggest that sport is going anywhere, but I do think the shrinkage will continue–the hard question is at what state we strike equilibrium and it’s far too early in the process to even hazard a guess.
I was going to call this “Blogger Power Rankings”, but it seemed a little too ridiculous. Regardless, I was curious which blogs were the most frequented, so I took a look at the numbers via Alexa (red is declining, green is increasing, with a few comparables included):
Hockey’s Future 13,420
Elite Prospects 24,726
Hockey Writers 47,751
1. The Silver Seven 780,461
2. SensChirp 1,311,595
3. 6th Sens 3,884,315
4. SensNation 7,361,845
5. Welcome to Your Karlsson Years 9,015,235
6. SenShot 15,729,919
7. Eye on the Sens 15,888,297
It’s worth pointing out that only the top two blogs actually post regular, daily content, and that the difference between, say, SenShot and WTYKY (or the latter with SensNation) is very small in terms of actual viewership numbers, despite the millions of places separating them. The only results which surprised me were #6 and #4, as neither site seems particularly active.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)