Senators News & Notes

Tom-Pyatt

In what appears to be a nod to the new coaching staff, Ottawa signed former Ranger pick (4-107/05) Tom Pyatt, younger brother of Taylor, who spent the last two seasons playing for Geneva in the Swiss league.  Prior to his time in Europe he spent four unproductive seasons in the NHL (mostly for Tampa Bay, 205-25-24-49 PPG 0.23).  Unquestionably he’s Binghamton-bound and if there’s a potential silver lining in his middling career AHL numbers (156-32-51-83 PPG 0.53) it’s that in his final half-season in Hamilton he was on a torrid pace (41-13-22-35).  It’s worth pointing out the 09-10 Hamilton roster was stacked, so that impacted his production.  Realistically Pyatt is a borderline second-liner in the AHL and seemingly not the kind of asset Binghamton really needs, but I’ll hold off calling it a bad move until the roster is filled out.

bigrig_logo

I’m not sure what WTYKY as a site is anymore, but Luke P decided it was a good idea to attack the fanbase as a preamble to praising Chris Phillips (who not long after retired).  I don’t want to dwell on it too much, but let’s go over it briefly:

Essentially Sens fans have adopted the worst qualities of the fanbases that surround us

Luke’s evidence for this is…he offers none (just anecdotal references to radio show call-ins and social media).  The characterization is meant as a backdrop for praising the Big Rig, but it seems an odd sort of crutch to use.  I also remain puzzled by his inability to separate criticism of someone’s performance as a professional (in this case, as a hockey player) and who they are as a person (we’ve seen this in recent discussions of Luke Richardson and Mark Borowiecki, for instance).  Phillips might be a saintly human being, but that’s inconsequential to who he was as a player.  Ross A has praised the post without explanation (presumably referring to the comments on the Big Rig rather than the description of the fanbase–after all, The Silver Seven can’t get too negative).

fail

Not surprisingly we hear that the Sens are likely to move Alex Chiasson, one of the poster-boys for how badly Murray has been beaten in trades during his time in Ottawa.  Nichols goes through his time with the team, including perceptions and organisational hype, but it can be summed up best this way:

He was given ample opportunity to play on the power play and play even strength minutes alongside skilled players. He just didn’t get the job done.

Amen.

[A late add: Mikael Wikstrand signed a four-year extension with Farejestad; that his future with Ottawa was over was never in doubt, but with the length of the contract means the Sens have surrendered any ability to make use of him as an asset short-term (they continue to control his rights, but with no out-clause in the contract they can make no use of it until it ends.  A suitably botched end to a ridiculous situation.]

More free agent signings: Tim Heed was signed by San Jose (identified on my FA list from a year ago), as was Yohann Auvitu by New Jersey.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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Senators News & Notes

pierre dorion

The Nichols machine recorded some Pierre Dorion patter from last week and I have a few thoughts about it:
1) why would you bother talking to Alex Chiasson?  Wash your hands of him and move on
2) I’m glad he doesn’t want to go to arbitration with Mike Hoffman (I enjoyed this as well, “I think our fans know that the relationship between Mike and the previous coach or previous coaches wasn’t the greatest“–yes Pierre, we know that)
3) I’m happy Dorion wouldn’t commit to signing either Quentin Shore or Gabriel Gagne (although his comments suggest more interest in the latter, which makes sense)
4) unfortunately Randy Lee is going to remain Binghamton’s GM, so the hope for AHL fans is that Dorion’s influence provides the team with decent talent (and please no more Danny Hobbs)
5) they are looking at experienced coaches for Binghamton rather than someone like Luke Richardson, which is a positive step
6) I’m not entirely sure how Marc Crawford will function as a “liaison” for the AHL coaching staff–does that make him functionally an assistant GM for Binghamton or is he simply Dorion’s go-between?  The facets of this are unclear to me, although it’s easy to understand why they want to make sure Bingo doesn’t play Richardson’s system anymore (sticking with Boucher’s)
7) Nichols doesn’t dwell on the obvious conclusion (due to the aforementioned reluctance to criticise Richardson), but clearly Dorion wasn’t happy that Richardson wasn’t imitating the NHL style of play in Binghamton (otherwise there would be no need for Crawford to be a liaison to ensure it)

boucher

The early fan love for Guy Boucher is amusing (he does have the best scar among NHL head coaches).  Nichols has a hard time not gushing and there’s no question Boucher’s a great talker and as a fan I want to buy in too.  If memory serves the Sens had interest in Boucher back in 2010, but wouldn’t give the term Tampa Bay offered (four years).  I can’t say I’m nearly as excited by the presence of Marc Crawford, whose amply demonstrated at the end of his NHL tenure that he had lost touch with what works in the NHL, but as an assistant that’s not very relevant.

It all sounds so good, but like any coach who’s introduced after his predecessor crashed and burned in the previous season, the newness and sheen of the replacement has yet to wear off. Optimism abounds and it will take some time before fans and the media can micro-analyze Boucher’s actions and identify his own shortcomings.

Exactly.  Mid-season we can take a stab at it.

negativeno

At the bottom of a Ross A piece he says something I found surprising:

There’s been a lot of complaints that we’ve been too negative as a blog this past season. I know i contributed to that.

I assume the first sentence is incomplete and should say “There have been a lot of reader complaints etc.”  Really?  The entire site strikes me as positive in tone–just how fluffy do they need to be?  Obviously The Silver Seven needs to be beholden to their readership, but it’s a sad state of affairs if that many people need a rose-coloured view of the team.  Perhaps it’s a common sentiment for fans in this city?  You’d think the incessant organisational pap from the regular media would be enough.

Speaking of Ross A, he posted the individual (as opposed to collective) grades given by The Silver Seven staff and I want to point out that my old buddy Jeff Ulmer gave Max McCormick the same grade he gave Erik Karlsson (an A)–he wasn’t asked about this oddity in the Q&A, sadly, but as someone who watched  McCormick in a Binghamton context all year I wouldn’t give him an “A” if you put a gun to my head–he’s a good grinder who tops out as a fourth liner in the NHL–nothing to get excited about.  I was also entertained by a few quotes about Mark Borowiecki:

[Adnan] There is nothing useful that Borowiecki does well compared to NHL players. I think Callum is better than Boro in some ways. I don’t think there has ever been a defenceman less deserving of an NHL roster spot since I have been a Senators fan.

[NKB] Borowiecki did nothing this year to convince me he was an NHL-calibre defenseman. He’s actually a decent skater, but he simply hasn’t improved his play with the puck and the Sens have a terrible time breaking out of their end when he’s on the ice. Taken all together, he’s just not capable at this level. I can’t give anything but an F to someone who I don’t consider to be an NHL-level player.

[Callum] Every argument I’ve ever heard in favour of Borowiecki has to do with his fighting, leadership and effort. Those are the three attributes I look at the least when evaluating a player. The arguments usually end with the other person saying “you just don’t understand.” And that’s fair. Because it’s true. I don’t understand why Borowiecki is an everyday NHLer.

This tickled the cockles of my heart–I agree with all three on the Borocop–may he fester in the pressbox throughout 2016-17.  Incidentally, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not fond of grading systems (eg here) since they almost never have an actual rubric behind them, but Ary M actually created one for himself and it’s pretty similar to what I use.

marcus sorsensen

Former Sens pick Marcus Sorensen has been signed by San Jose as a free agent–he was on my list of potential signings and it will be interesting to see how he does with the Sharks.

Minnesota signed Hungarian goaltender Adam Vay as a free agent out of the incredibly obscure Hungarian league (the Mol Liga)–before we get too excited about the selection he did spend two years playing US junior hockey and I suspect his size (6’5) is one of the major reasons behind the signing.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

NHL Draft Success (2005-2009)

draft

There have been a sprinkle of articles over the years reviewing draft accuracy, but I’ve always had issues with the way they are constructed. Examinations of the draft that cover a long period of time fail to account for the changes in the league and the draft itself, so they don’t really work (you’ll see 20 and 30 year swaths as if everything about those periods is the same). When articles cover more recent drafts (Hockey Futures does them at five-year intervals) they are forced to make judgement calls on players whose futures are yet to be defined (just one example, Carl Soderberg didn’t jump to the NHL until he was 27).  All this preamble is to make two key points: 1) the attitude and approach to the draft in the NHL changed seismically after the 2004-05 lockout (due to the cap), 2) the typical make-or-break moment for a draft pick varies considerably.  On top of that, the raw overview I’m about to give is simply a window into more in depth analysis, since I’m not focused on all the nuances of scouting departments and only lightly touch on management changes.  What follows is a very broad examination of levels of success within the draft by team.  I’ve cut off at 2009 because even the ’10 draft class still hasn’t completed their cycle of development (’09 could still see some slight adjustments and you’ll see below there are players in the ’06 class still up in the air).  All of this presupposes the importance of the draft, something that could not be assumed at points in NHL history (there have been times when teams could buy their way out of trouble).

My framework: what is a successful pick?  There are a lot of complicated ways to decide, but the simplest is to say any skater who has played 200+ NHL games has returned value on the investment (I also make a few judgement calls, particularly when it comes to goaltenders).  Two and a half seasons of NHL work isn’t the only metric you could use, but it’s a good place to start.

2005 (here)
First Round
18 players have played 200+ games, including 9 of the top-10 (Luc Bourdon tragically died and is the only exception).  Only 3 players never suited up in the NHL (Marek Zagrapan #13, Sasha Pokulok #14, and Alex Bourret #16)
Second Round
8 players hit 200+ games (the best are James Neal #33 and Paul Statsny ##44), with 12 never hitting the ice
Third Round
6 players hit the mark (the best are Kris Letang #62 and Jonathan Quick #72; I’m including Ben Bishop #85); 12 never played
Fourth Round
7 players have reached the plateau (the best is Keith Yandle #105); 17 never played; Chris VandeVelde is 3 games away so I’ve included him in the total
Fifth Round
5 players hit the mark (the best are Darren Helm #132 and Nathan Gerbe #142); 23 never played
Sixth Round
Only Matt D’Agostini qualifies; 22 players never played
Seventh Round
5 players reached the plateau; 26 players never played

Here’s the success by team:
4 – Columbus (MacLean), Montreal (Gainey)
3 – Detroit (Holland), Dallas (Armstrong), Pittsburgh (Patrick), St. Louis (Pleau), New York Rangers (Sather)
2 – San Jose (Wilson), Ottawa (Muckler), Los Angeles (Taylor), Arizona/Phoenix (Barnett), Toronto (Ferguson), Nashville (Poile), Buffalo (Regier), Chicago (Pulford/Tallon), Edmonton (Lowe), New Jersey (Lamoriello)
1 – Anaheim (Coates/Burke), Carolina (Rutherford), Minnesota (Risebrough), Philadelphia (Clarke), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), Colorado (Lacroix), Vancouver (Nonis), Boston (O’Connell)
0 – Washington (McPhee), New York Islanders (Milbury), Florida (Keenan), Calgary (Sutter), Tampa Bay (Feaster)

2006 (here)
First Round
20 players hit the plateau, including all of the top-ten picks; 3 players did not hit the ice for an NHL game (Mark Mitera #19, David Fischer #20, and Dennis Persson #24)
Second Round
9 players hit the mark, but I’d throw Jhonas Enroth in there (so 10); 14 players never played
Third Round
5 players have reached the plateau, but another should join them (Brian Strait #65, so 6); 16 never hit the ice
Fourth Round
2 players (Matt Beleskey #112 and James Reimer #99); 22 players never played
Fifth Round
No player has hit the 200 game-mark (or even 100); 23 never played; Chad Johnson #125 was the best player picked
Sixth Round
4 players hit the mark (Andrew MacDonald #160, Viktor Stalberg #161, and Mathieu Perreault #177), with Leo Komarov #180 likely getting there (I’ve included him); 23 prospects never played
Seventh Round
2 players qualify (Derek Dorsett #189 and Erik Condra #211); 24 players never played

Here’s the success by team (I’ve included those players destined to break the plateau):
5 – Toronto (Ferguson)
4 – Washington (McPhee)
3 – Boston (O’Connell/Gorton/Chiarelli), Columbus (MacLean), Ottawa (Muckler)
2 – St. Louis (Pleau), New York Islanders (Milbury/Smith), Minnesota (Risebrough), Los Angeles (Taylor/Lombardi), Pittsburgh (Patrick/Shero), Buffalo (Regier)
1 – Chicago (Pulford), Arizona/Phoenix (Barnett/Maloney), Florida (Keenan), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), Vancouver (Nonis), Colorado (Lacroix/Giguere), Philadelphia (Clarke), San Jose (Wilson), Edmonton (Lowe), Detroit (Holland), New York Rangers (Sather), Carolina (Rutherford), Anaheim (Burke), Montreal (Gainey)
0 – Tampa Bay (Feaster), Calgary (Sutter), New Jersey (Lamoriello), Dallas (Armstrong), Nashville (Poile)

2007 (here)
First Round
19 players hit the mark, including 9 of the top-ten; 5 picks never played a game (Alexei Cherepanov #17 died; Logan MacMillan #19, Angelo Esposito #20, Patrick White #25, and Nick Ross #30)
Second Round
4 players have reached the plateau; 14 never played a game
Third Round
3 players have reached 200 games (Yannick Weber #73, Alex Killorn #77, and Joakim Andersson #88), with Robert Bortuzzo and Corey Tropp having a slim chance to get there (I didn’t include them in the totals); 16 players never hit the ice
Fourth Round
3 players qualify, with Steven Kampfer #93, Brad Malone #105, and Colton Sceviour #112 getting there (so 6); 16 never played
Fifth Round
2 players (Jamie Benn #159 and Jake Muzzin #141) reach the mark; Chris Terry #132 has a shot to join them (not included); 23 have never played
Sixth Round
4 players qualify; Anthony Peluso #160 could join them (not included); 17 prospects never played
Seventh Round
2 players (Carl Gunnarsson #194 and Justin Braun #201) reached the mark; 24 have never played; there’s a chance Paul Postma #205 will eventually get there (not included)

Here’s the success by team (I’ve included those players destined to break the plateau):
4 – Los Angeles (Lombardi), Montreal (Gainey)
3 – San Jose (Wilson), St. Louis (Pleau), Colorado (Giguere)
2 – Edmonton (Lowe), Philadelphia (Holmgren), Detroit (Holland), Dallas (Armstrong)
1 – Chicago (Pulford), Carolina (Rutherford), Pittsburgh (Shero), Buffalo (Regier), Arizona/Phoenix (Maloney), Washington (McPhee), Columbus (Howson/MacLean), Florida (Martin), Nashville (Poile), Tampa Bay (Feaster), Calgary (Sutter), New Jersey (Lamoriello), New York Rangers (Sather), Toronto (Ferguson), Anaheim (Burke)
0 – Ottawa (Br.Murray/Muckler), Boston (Chiarelli), Vancouver (Nonis), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), New York Islanders (Snow), Minnesota (Risebrough)

2008 (here)
First Round
18 players have reached 200 games, including 9 of the top-ten; four prospects never played (Kyle Beach #11, Chet Pickard #18, Anton Gustafsson #21, and Daultan Leveille #29)
Second Round
7 players have reached the plateau, with Vyacheslav Voinov (#32) joining them absent his legal problems–I’d also include Jake Allen (#34), so 9; 7 players have never suited up
Third Round
4 players (Michael Stone #69, Lance Bouma #78, Zack Smith #79, Adam Henrique #82), and Jori Lehtera #65 if he can stay healthy (so 5); 17 prospects never made it
Fourth Round
Four have reached 200 games; 15 players never suited up
Fifth Round
Two players (Matt Martin #148 and Matt Calvert #127) qualify, but Philip Larsen (#149) should join them this season (so 3); Mark Borowiecki (#139) could join them, but is not included; 18 prospects never played
Sixth Round
4 players qualify (Jared Spurgeon #156, Cam Atkinson #157, Tommy Wingels #177, and Zac Rinaldo #178), with Ben Smith #169 likely joining them in the upcoming season (so 5); Mark Barbeiro (#152) has a shot to make it; 19 players never suited up
Seventh Round
2 players make it (Jason Demers (#186) and Matt Bartkowski (#190)); I’ll include Anders Lindback (#207) as well (so 3)

Here’s the success by team (I’ve included those players destined to break the plateau):
4 – New York Islanders (Snow)
3 – Nashville (Poile), Ottawa (Br.Murray), New York Rangers (Sather), St. Louis (Pleau)
2 – Buffalo (Regier), Anaheim (Burke/Bo.Murray), Washington (McPhee), Columbus (Howson), San Jose (Wilson), Los Angeles (Lombardi), Calgary (Sutter), Philadelphia (Holmgren), Arizona/Phoenix (Maloney), Toronto (Ferguson/Burke)
1 – Tampa Bay (Feaster), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell), Vancouver (Nonis/Gillis), Edmonton (Lowe), Minnesota (Risebrough), New Jersey (Lamoriello), Detroit (Holland), Chicago (Pulford), Florida (Martin), Dallas (Armstrong/Hull-Jackson), Boston (Chiarelli)
0 – Colorado (Giguere), Carolina (Rutherford), Montreal (Gainey), Pittsburgh (Shero)

2009 (here)
First Round
18 players have hit the threshold (including 9 of the top-10), with another 3 who will get there (so 21); only one player never played (Philippe Paradise #27), with Scott Glennie (#8) as the only top-10 bust
Second Round
6 have reached the threshold, with another 4 on their way (so 10), with a chance Richard Panik (#52) will join them (not included); 9 players never made it
Third Round
3 players hit the mark, with Brayden McNabb #66, Andrej Nestrasil (#75), Kevin Connauton (#83), and Nicolas Deslauriers (#84) likely to make it (so 7); 12 prospects never made it
Fourth Round
6 reach the threshold (including Sami Vatanen); Linden Vey (#96) and Ben Chiarot (#120) have a solid chance to get there (so 8); 13 players never suited up
Fifth Round
3 players hit the mark (including Mike Hoffman); 21 players never suited up
Sixth Round
Anders Lee #152 should get there; 18 players didn’t make it
Seventh Round
2 players have or will hit the mark (Jordan Nolan #186 and Erik Haula #182)

Success by team:
5- Los Angeles (Lombardi)
4 – Ottawa (Br.Murray), New York Islanders (Snow), Nashville (Poile)
3 – Buffalo (Regier), Anaheim (Bo.Murray), Colorado (Giguere/Sherman), Washington (McPhee)
2 – Minnesota (Risebrough), Columbus (Howson), Dallas (Hull-Jackson/Nieuwendyk), Edmonton (Tambellini), Chicago (Pulford), New Jersey (Lamoriello), Detroit (Holland), Atlanta/Winnipeg (Waddell)
1 – Tampa Bay (Lawton), Arizona/Phoenix (Maloney), Toronto (Burke), Florida (Martin/Sexton), New York Rangers (Sather), Pittsburgh (Shero), Vancouver (Gillis)
0 – Boston (Chiarelli), St. Louis (Pleau), Calgary (Sutter), Carolina (Rutherford), Montreal (Gainey), Philadelphia (Holmgren), and San Jose (Wilson) with 0

I’ve been writing this piece for years in the hope that others will dig deeper, but as yet I’ve seen nothing like it.  A few things continue to be true: coverage of Europe still lags behind North America (likely due to cost) and smaller players still need to do more to be selected (both these categories are where the majority of undrafted success stories come from).

Overview
Round-by-round success rate (with year-by-year in brackets):
First: 96/150 (64%) (18/20/19/18/21)
Second: 41/154 (26%) (8/10/4/8/10)
Third: 27/150 (18%) (6/6/3/5/7)
Fourth: 26/153 (16%) (7/2/5/4/8)
Fifth: 13/157 (8%) (5/0/2/3/3)
Sixth: 15/153 (9%) (1/4/4/5/1)
Seventh: 14/158 (8%) (5/2/2/3/2)

The scaling between rounds is not surprising.  Of the 49 top-ten picks (excluding Bourdon for obvious reasons), only 3 were misses (HamillFilatov, and Glennie), making them 94% reliable.  Excluding the top-ten, the first round is still significantly stronger than the second round (50/99, 50%, excluding Cherepanov for the same obvious reason).  There should be a steady decline throughout the rounds, but between the fifth-seventh it’s a crapshoot with no meaningful difference in terms of success (this could be due to sample size or there may be something else going on–my guess is either the fifth is where they start swinging for the fences or it’s the last round where team’s are conservative).

Team Performance (the average is 8)
15 – Los Angeles
12 – Columbus, Ottawa
11 – Toronto, St. Louis
10 – Nashville, New York Islanders, Washington, Buffalo
9 – Detroit, Montreal, New York Rangers
8 – Colorado, Edmonton, San Jose, Anaheim, Dallas
7 – Arizona, Chicago, Philadelphia
6 – Minnesota, New Jersey, Pittsburgh
5 – Winnipeg/Atlanta, Boston
4 – Florida, Vancouver
3 – Calgary, Carolina, Tampa Bay

It’s difficult to imagine any scouting staff completely whiffing on an entire year, but it happens (an average of 5 per season (5/5/6/5/7)).  It’s important to note these numbers don’t distinguish the quality of players and there are certainly a number of prospects who were in the NHL much longer than made any sense.  The average successful pick by team per year is c.1.5, so a good year for scouts is 2 NHL players, while there should always be at least one.

There’s plenty of room to assess GM’s independent of their teams (from 05-09 thirteen teams have had the same management in place).  A quick glance at the variance in performance for those with GM changes:

LA: Taylor 2/1; Lombardi 13/4 (the 2006 draft would have included some or all of Taylor’s scouting staff, with 2 panning out)
Columbus: MacLean 7/2, Howson 5/3 (the above caveat for 2007, where 1 player panned out)
Ottawa: Muckler 5/2, Br.Murray 7/3 (the above for 2007, with 0)
Toronto: Ferguson 8/3, Burke 3/2 (the above caveat for 2008, with 2)
New York Islanders: Milbury 0/1, Smith 2/1 (the above for 2006, with 2), Snow 8/3
Colorado: Lacroix 1/1 Giguere 4/3 (the above for 2006, with 1), Sherman 3/1 (the above for 2009, with 3)
Edmonton: Lowe 6/4, Tambellini 2/1
Arizona/Phoenix: Barnett 1/1, Maloney 6/4 (the above for 2006, with 1)
Anaheim: Burke 3/3 Bo.Murray 5/2 (the above for 2005 via Coates, with 1; the same for 2008 with 2)
Philadelphia: Clarke 2/2, Holmgren 5/3
Chicago: Tallon 5/4 (the above for 2005 via Pulford, with 2), Pulford 2/1
Dallas: Armstrong 5/3 Hull-Jackson 1/1 (the above for 2008, with 1), Nieuwendyk 2/1 (the above for 2009)
Pittsburgh: Patrick 3/1, Shero 3/4 (the above for 2006, with 2)
Boston: O’Connell 1/1, Chiarelli 4/4 (the above for 2006, plus interim GM Gorton, with 3)
Vancouver: Nonis 2/3 Gillis 2/2 (the above for 2008, with 1)
Florida: Keenan 1/2 Martin 2/2, Sexton 1/1 (the above for 2009 with 1)
Tampa Bay: Feaster 2/4, Lawton 1/1

The teams where the GM remained the same:
St. Louis (Pleau) 11/5
Nashville (Poille) 10/5
Washington (McPhee) 10/5
Buffalo (Regier) 10/5
Detroit (Holland) 9/5
New York Rangers (Sather) 9/5
Montreal (Gainey) 9/5
San Jose (Wilson) 8/5
Minnesota (Risebrough) 6/5
New Jersey (Lamoriello) 6/5
Winnipeg/Atlanta (Waddell) 5/5
Calgary (Sutter) 3/5
Carolina (Rutherford) 3/5

Since top-ten picks are essentially gimmies, GMs who have those picks have their numbers inflated, so in terms of what they can do outside of that here are the adjusted numbers:

(Average is 6)
12 – Los Angeles (-3)
10 – Ottawa (-2), Buffalo
9 – Columbus (-3), Toronto (-2), Nashville (-1), Washington (-1), Detroit, New York Rangers, St. Louis (-2)
8 – Montreal (-1), Dallas
7 – New York Islanders (-3), Colorado (-1), Anaheim (-1)
6 – Edmonton (-2), San Jose (-2), Philadelphia (-1), New Jersey
4 – Chicago (-3), Minnesota (-2), Pittsburgh (-2), Boston (-1)
3 – Arizona (-4), Winnipeg/Atlanta (-2), Vancouver (-1), Calgary
2 – Florida (-2), Carolina (-1)
1 – Tampa Bay (-2)

Arizona had the most top-ten picks (with 4), which forms the majority of their success; Los Angeles (which had 3), still produced a huge number of successful prospects, so those are the two clearest examples of teams whose scouts true colours are revealed this way.

All of this just scratches the surface.  Further analysis and time is required to draw conclusions, but it sheds some interesting light on the draft in the current era.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

cartoon-report-card

Nichols posted a great (and long) State of the Union piece on where the Sens are and what their year was like.  There’s a lot to absorb, but virtually nothing to disagree with (perhaps he could have included the insanity of Mikael Wikstrand‘s situation, but I suppose that would make the article even longer).  In essence we stand on the precipice of whether or not Pierre Dorion will truly be his own man as GM (in a positive, progressive sense), or not, along with how much Eugene Melnyk’s insanity will impact what happens.

fail

It’s not surprisingly the Sens lost out on the Drake Caggiula sweepstakes–despite the opportunities the Sens soft lineup offers, it makes a ton of sense for the NCAA free agent to want to play with the staggering forward talent available to him in Edmonton.  There’s no guarantee Caggiula will be a great NHL player–it’s a rare thing even for hyped NCAA forwards–but for the prospect-starved Sens he would have been a great addition.

boucher

Just as unsurprising as the above was Bruce Boudreau choosing greener pastures (Minnesota), as the Sens balked at the term he wanted (4 years).  I mentioned a few weeks ago when the coaching search started that I wasn’t going to get excited by who the Sens interviewed, so never spent time speculating on what he could or couldn’t do if he was hired.  As it turned out the Sens have landed Guy Boucher (giving him 3 years), a highly touted coach back in the day who has been plying his trade in Europe since getting bounced out of Tampa Bay.  Nichols dives deep on who Boucher was in his first head coaching gig–after one good season he fell off the rails on the heels of defensive struggles (some of which can be blamed on goaltending).  Damian Cristodero talks about Boucher’s infamous 1-3-1 style, believing that after his first season teams adapted to it.  When I researched coaching success back in March I came up with this:

hiring younger, more inexperienced coaches has a more positive impact (presumably a more adaptive group); coaches with historical losing records also provide as boost, as do (paradoxically) those who have won a Stanley Cup

At 44 Boucher is young and with less than 3-seasons in the NHL he’s not heavily experienced, but you have to take all these things with a grain of salt.  Ultimately the impact of a coach is limited by the talent available to him, so that’s the next challenge for Pierre Dorion.

curtis lazar

It has been clear to me since he was drafted that Curtis Lazar is an underwhelming player given his pedigree (first-round pick).  Trevor Shackles does a deep dive to look at the comparables and arrives at the horror show you’d expect for someone with no hands (if you read through the scouting reports prior to him being drafted none of his offensive struggles are a surprise).  He’s basically a Senators special: a physical, hard-worker who struggles to generate offence.  There was no reason to rush him into the NHL, but Bryan Murray’s inconsistent attitude towards prospects struck here.  There’s always hope for him to blossom I suppose, but I think he’ll remain a third or fourth line forward.

Binghamton_Senators_svg

A little Binghamton note in relation to the potential move of the franchise to Belleville via Jeff Ulmer transcription:

All I know is that the AHL is committed to being here for not only the three years we have right now but we’re working on adding another six. The AHL is very, very committed to Broome County, I’m not even, I’m not worried about having an AHL team here, I know we will.

The key here is that Tom Mitchell didn’t say the Senators are committed to being in Binghamton, but the AHL.  I take this as a tacit admission that he’s aware that the Sens are interested in moving, but confident if that happens another franchise will take their place.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

pierre dorion

Nichols goes over the unintended comedy of Pierre Dorion saying he has carte blanche to hire the best coach available with Eugene Melnyk immediately walking the comment back including this canard:

To put that kind of money out for one single person, that’s tough, even from a  management point of view. You wouldn’t do that with an executive, why go crazy in the business of hockey to do that?

This is so absurd not even Melnyk believes it–an executive often does make absurd amounts of money in business (Melnyk seems to embrace Donald Trump’s emphasis on verbal diarrhea).  The point is less about the specific comment and more about Melnyk’s refusal to spend money on his hockey operations (season tickets available folks!), so with Dorion’s hands tied it’s hard to imagine a top coach with a brain wanting to handcuff themselves into Ottawa’s situation.  My guess is Dorion will roll the dice with an assistant coach (ala Paul MacLean).  Incidentally, I never went into how much of a slap in the face it was to Luke Richardson to tell him he won’t even be considered for Ottawa’s head coach position–while it’s the right decision, often teams will at least formally go through the motions with their AHL coach when a change is being made–not so here, which is a welcome acknowledgement of how bad Richardson was in Binghamton.

Speaking of Nichols, it’s interesting to see someone as disinterested in prospects as he is noticing the Sens going big (as in size) since Tim Murray left.  I agree with him wholeheartedly that skill is what should matter.  One interesting thing Pierre Dorion said (via the same link):

did the guy that we had slotted 10 and he wasn’t in our top-12, well, why did he go there? And did the guy that went 14, he wasn’t in our top-10 and should we have had him there? And why is that? As staffs, we sit back and always reflect on, ‘Why didn’t we like this guy that’s turned out to be a player?’ or, ‘Why did we like this guy who hasn’t turned out to be a player?’ So it’s something that we do as an exercise quite often

This is excellent to hear, but I’ve seen no evidence that the Sens have shifted their drafting philosophy due to such exercises.  There is an almost mindnumbing sameness to their drafts from 2008-2015 (with minor variations when Tim Murray was around).  Dorian also mentions that they had Cody Ceci in the top-5 or 6 of the 2012 draft and it’s difficult to make sense of that in retrospect (for those who remember my 2012 draft preview no scouting service had Ceci any higher than 10th).

Luke-Richardson

Worsteverything has a four-part series on the Sens, but what I wanted to address are his comments on Luke Richardson (which echo those around the blogosphere, as I went over previously):

Luke Richardson is an awesome and inspirational person who has been through unimaginable stuff. My respect for him and his family almost makes writing stuff like this objectively quite challenging … Luke seems like a positive guy and a very good communicator from what I can gather from interviews … I hate that the organization loses such a quality person but ultimately I support both a full coaching changeover as well as giving Richardson his best chance to advance his career

I really wish bloggers who are unfamiliar with something would leave it alone (or, at least, not try to assess it).  Richardson seems like a good communicator from interviews?  Wat?  It’s the written equivalent of throwing up your hands and saying “I haven’t a clue!”–so why bother?  I’m not sure what purpose is being served here, but I suppose at the least I can repeat: he’s a bad coach (as is clear from the statistical evidence available to everyone or by hitting up Google to find an assessment), but his charity work and personal tragedy seems to overwhelm anyone’s efforts to assess him as a professional.

christian wolanin

DJ Powers wrote a piece about Ottawa prospect Christian Wolanin–it’s a basic Q&A, although it does cover who his primary defensive partners were this season (Tucker Poolman and Keaton Thompson–both drafted players and both with better numbers than the rookie, albeit not overwhelmingly so).

hogberg

Chapin Landvogt puts Marcus Hogberg at the top of drafted goaltending talent in Sweden, although there’s not a ton of substance to this, but he does say:

Taking these decent, yet not entirely uncommon, SHL numbers into account, one must note that he manned the nets behind a defensive group that featured three regulars aged 19 or younger

And then wonders if he’d be better off with another season in Sweden.  The Sens would have to sign him first for that to be a question (they lose his rights this year if they don’t), but currently there’s no place for him anywhere else, so that seems entirely probable.

My psychic powers paid off as Michael Keranen signed with Jokerit as fast as humanly possible (not, incidentally, his previous Liiga team–he was with Ilves when Minnesota signed him).

More FA signings: Sergei Zaitsev (aka Sergei Zaytsev; Toronto), Lukas Bengtsson (Pittsburgh), Linus Hultstrom (Florida), Michael Garteig (Vancouver), and Daniel Pribyl (former Montreal pick; Calgary).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)