The Nichols stenography machine was in action again and his analysis of Bryan Murray’s patter is excellent. It’s baffling that Murray thought this team was playoff worthy (on the bubble maybe), but an indicator of how poorly the organisation assesses talent these days. It’s also bizarre that the man responsible for this mess is being put in charge of fixing it. Let me quote a related point by the inestimable stenographer:
I don’t think there’s any question that the Senators could use an upgrade on Dave Cameron, but if this offseason goes by without introducing any significant changes to the hockey operations department that will allow for self-improvement or help mitigate the risk of making mistakes, then it’s a wasted season that should have brought about positive change.
Amen. I am a bit higher than Nichols is on Ryan Dzingel and Nick Paul, and he’s kinder to Matt O’Connor than I would be, but that’s largely splitting hairs.
Ary M has a good memory and referenced my exploration of the success of NCAA free agents from a couple of years ago, drawing a large number of people to the site. It’s one of a number of pieces I’ve written about on topics that remain largely unexplored and I’m glad he remembered it. Updates to it and other things like it have been slowed due to a lack of time, albeit I did set up a Patreon in the hopes that it might free things up to allow me to go full bore with articles like that.
Kristopher Bras posted a Senators prospect piece for Hockey’s Future and it’s problematic (his fondness for Ben Harpur is inexplicable (maybe he’s from the Ryan Wagman school of “he’s 6’6 and…er…”)–I can only hope he’s never seen him play; Chris Driedger‘s rating fell despite having a better season, Gabriel Gagne went up despite showing no improvement, etc). I’m not sure what it is about HF, but their Ottawa coverage has been poor for a very long time.
Since my last update the BSens have gone 5-5-3 through garbage time as they play out the string. Their 188 GF for the season continues to see a drop in production (2.68 from 2.75), while their 229 GA represents a slight improvement (while still being awful); their powerplay has correspondingly dropped (17.6 from 18.2), while their PK has also dropped (80.4 from 81.1). There are some who want to blame roster moves for these results, but this isn’t just an organisational flop, but also a sign of abysmal coaching (as you can see in the precipice the best newly acquired talent has gone over since fully under Richardson’s thumb). Here’s the individual performances over this period:
Jason Akeson 13-2-11-13 (3 points in his last 7)
Phil Varone 13-4-8-12 (1 point in his last 6)
Casey Bailey 13-3-6-9
Max McCormick 13-2-6-8
Ryan Rupert 13-4-3-7
Kyle Flanagan 6-1-5-6
Michael Keranen 13-4-1-5 (1 point in his last 8)
Jerome Leduc 13-2-2-4
Guillaume Lepine 13-1-3-4
Mike Borkowski 10-2-1-3
Chris Carlisle 13-0-2-2
Ben Harpur 11-0-2-2
Mark Fraser 4-1-0-1
David Dziurzynski 7-1-0-1
Zack Stortini 12-1-0-1
Buddy Robinson 13-0-1-1
Travis Ewanyk 13-1-0-1
Danny Hobbs 13-0-1-1
Nathan Todd 1-0-0-0
Nicholas Trecapelli 1-0-0-0
Kevin Tansey 6-0-0-0
Nick Tuzzolino 10-0-0-0
Matt O’Connor 3-3-1 3.41 .890
Chris Driedger 2-2-2 2.93 .906
It’s the usual routine in a Luke Richardson world–talented players are stifled while unproductive grinders clutter the lineup. The team has other options (Troy Rutkowski or Chris Rumble are better than a number of the blueliners above, for example), but there’s no ability to judge talent in Binghamton, so it is what it is.
The BSens signed defenseman and local hero Kevin Tansey to an ATO. He spent four unremarkable seasons at Clarkson in the NCAA (151-12-22-34) showing no signs of improvement (he actually regressed). He attended one of the Sens development camps and one of the things he’s noted for is poor puckhandling skills. Fortunately he’s on an ATO, not actually signed, and we can hope the 6’4 defender will fade off into the sunset.
Speaking of ATO’s, CIS grad Nick Trecapelli was called up from Evansville to aid Binghamton’s moribund blueline. He had good numbers at Guelph, but it’s highly unlikely his skills will translate at this level.
Another local hero, Ottawa 67 Nathan Todd, signed an ATO (the center has decent OHL numbers, 53-17-33-50, but is nothing to get excited about).
There was also an ELC signing out of the CHL as Ottawa inked Macoy Erkamps from Brandon in the WHL (where Sens scout Bob Lowes has deep roots). The 21-year old attended Ottawa’s 2013 development camp; he was ranked for that draft (expected to be a late round pick), but was passed over. Smallish for a defender (6’0), he put up consistent but unremarkable numbers in the WHL until this season when he set career highs (72-13-58-71) across the board. He got to ride shotgun with top draft pick Ivan Provorov and there’s little reason to doubt that he (and Erkamps being an overager) contributed to the offensive explosion (as Nichols echoes). Ottawa under Murray hasn’t often handed out ELC’s to CHL players, but it has happened before: Craig Schira (09), David Dziurzynski (10), Wacey Hamilton (11), and Troy Rutkowski (13). This is not an impressive list and indeed the CHL is a poor way to find NHL talent.
Binghamton seems to largely ignore it’s affiliate, but I figured I’d update it anyway. The team is 6-6-1 as they tread water towards oblivion. Their 198 GF is about the pace they’ve been on for awhile (2.86), while their 230 GA is a slight improvement (3.33 vs 3.39); their powerplay continues to be in free-fall (10.1 from 11.9), while their PK remains abysmal (79%). A look at the players:
Nathan Moon 13-2-8-10
Alex Wideman 13-4-8-12
Jordan Sims 13-4-5-9
Chris Rumble 13-2-7-9
Spencer Humphries 8-0-6-6 (2-0-0-0 with Evansville)
Matthew Zay 12-3-3-6
Tyson Fawcett 13-2-4-6
Andrew Harrison 13-5-1-6
Ryan Penny 8-3-2-5
Sebastian Strandberg 8-1-4-5
Mike Duco 4-3-0-3
Daniel Turgeon 10-1-2-3
Troy Rutkowski 12-1-2-3
Andrew Himelson 13-1-2-3
Curtis Leonard 13-1-2-3
Vincent Dunn 12-1-1-2
Nick Trecapelli 2-1-0-1 (in Binghamton)
Michael Trebish 4-0-1-1
Casey Thrush 5-1-0-1 (3-1-0-1 with Evansville)
Mychal Monteith 8-0-1-1
Scott Morongell 8-0-1-1
Daultan Leveille 1-0-0-0 (in Binghamton)
Mac Olson 3-0-0-0
Frank Schumacher 7-0-0-0
Scott Greenham 4-3-1 2.63 .923
Christoffer Bengtsberg 2-3-0 2.99 .905
There’s not a whole lot to say here; the team has suffered through injury problems, but above and beyond that they’ve had a weak blueline and inconsistent scoring from their depth players.
On the FA signing front: Ethan Prowe (Pittsburgh), Kevin Boyle (Anaheim), Kalle Kossila (Anaheim), Brandon Tanev (Winnipeg), Adam Chapie (Rangers), and Charlie Lindgren (Montreal)
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)