Senators News & Notes


Ross A writes a piece asking why the Sens can’t make blockbuster trades (in light of New Jersey stealing Taylor Hall from Edmonton–poor Adam Larsson!).  It’s a somewhat rhetorical question since Bryan Murray has acquired players like Dany HeatleyKyle TurrisBobby Ryan, and Dion Phaneuf, but with the exception of the Turris trade you can make arguments that the Sens did not (or will not) “win” these moves.  So what’s the problem?  To me it remains the organisation’s over (or under) evaluation of its own talent.  How many times did the org resist trading Chris NeilChris PhillipsJared Cowen, etc over the years?  How quickly did Murray pull the trigger to send emerging talents like Jakob Silverberg or Ben Bishop, or picks like the ones that became Kyle Palmieri or Vladimir Tarasenko?  I’ve spent years reading comments by the org about various players and their unending love for older players and grinders has hurt their ability to capitalize on assets over and over again.  We can only hope the Dorion regime can start to reverse the trend, although his frustration about the struggles to move the dead weight that was Alex Chiasson and the devalued Patrick Wiercioch suggests the same blindness.

It’s exactly this kind of thinking that James Mirtle addresses in the wake of the aforementioned trade:

The general manager of a Canadian NHL team, in pursuit of the old-school hockey ideal of grit or size or some other intangible, moving key pieces and/or salary-cap space out in order to change the mix. … The Canadian NHL teams have been, by and large, horribly mismanaged. They are, generally speaking, not progressive organizations, not adept at change and not finding ways to outmanoeuvre their competition. Most are well behind in areas such as analytics.

Oh how true it is.  When Mirtle talks about the Canadian teams that are starting to change for the better, Ottawa is not among them–something for fans to keep in mind.


Speaking of the aforementioned discarding pieces, Nichols wonders where the Sens go from here:

as much as I like Pageau as a player, he needs help and to be successful, he needs a smart, two-way forward who can help transition the puck and effectively move it from the defensive zone to the opposition’s end where the Senators could sustain pressure. Condra was good at this and so was Mark Stone, without either player, I don’t see someone on the current roster or within the current system who can step in and fill that role.

I agree that Stone isn’t someone whose performance you could duplicate for the benefit of his former linemates, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t another strong puck possession player available in the system.

Similarly, even though prospects like Ryan Dzingel and Nick Paul saw time down the stretch with the big club, neither player was particularly effective with their play down the stretch. There were moments, sure, but, on the whole, both players could afford to spend more time in the AHL developing their game.

I agree with Nichols about Nick Paul, but as someone who saw a lot of Ryan Dzingel at the AHL-level, there’s nothing left for him to learn there.  Along with Tobias Lindberg he was able to drive possession under Luke Richardson’s stifling regime.  Clearly his tools weren’t very apparent at the NHL-level or Nichols’ wouldn’t be so dismissive of him, but 30 games during a terrible season doesn’t dissuade me from liking him.  What I’m not a fan of are the two veterans Nichols proposes fill in for that spot: the antique Chris Kelly (35 with injury problems) and Lee Stempniak (33)–these are Bryan Murray-type signings, and if I had to pick one I’d take the latter, but I’d pass on both.


Sens prospect Filip Ahl will suit up for the Regina Pats in the WHL during the upcoming season.  It’s a good move for Ahl as he’ll truly be able to showcase himself (Tobias Lindberg made a similar move two seasons ago and that landed him his ELC, a sentiment echoed by the org).

Speaking of prospects, Callum Fraser writes a human-interest piece on Maxime Lajoie that’s worth reading.


I’ve been writing this blog for five years now and I’ve seen the landscape of the Sens blogosphere go through a lot of changes in that time.  As I’ve said before, my favourite bloggers are Nichols and Travis Yost, but I had no idea either read my stuff until this summer (for the former) and just the other day (for the latter).  It’s flattering to know.  Both are better writers than I am and both use analytics more adroitly, so they are delight to read (whether I agree with their specific opinions or not).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


Senators News & Notes


Thankfully the Alex Chiasson era is over in Ottawa, as he was shipped off to Calgary in exchange for underwhelming defensive prospect Patrick Sieloff.  The latter, a former second-round pick by Calgary (2-42/12), never had impressive numbers either when he was drafted or since (reading the scouting reports on him everything praises his strength and competitiveness rather than his skill).  He’s signed for the upcoming season, so it looks like B-Sens fans can look forward to his 10-15 points playing the left side.  That said, the fact that the Sens got anything for Chiasson is something.


I posted my review of draft prognostication (mein gott in himmel! Nichols RT’d it), as well as my thoughts on Ottawa’s draft, so those of you interested you can check them out via the links.

Speaking of the draft, both The Silver Seven and The 6th Sens have weighed in on the Sens performance.  Nichols’ piece leans heavily on Corey Pronman (because reasons) and McKeen‘s (a little quid pro quo for Grant McCagg’s appearance on his podcast) when it comes to analysis.  I’m not a big fan of either (I have more time for the latter), and Nichol’s piece would benefit from the inclusion of multiple scouting profiles on each prospect, but he does cite an SBNation profile I missed that I’ll quote about Todd Burgess:

There are a couple factors working against Burgess’ impressive point total. First, he’s already two years past his initial draft year, so he’s an older player, dominating a league where it’s traditionally tougher for a player to be drafted from. Second, he played a softer schedule even by NAHL standards. Due to travel/cost considerations, the Ice Dogs play an unbalanced schedule with 16 games against fellow Alaska team Kenai River, who only won four games this season. Burgess scored 32 of his 95 points in those 16 games. He averaged about 1.4 points per game against everybody else, so the extra Kenai games added about an extra ten points to his total

For those of you who math this would take his totals down to 47 points in 34 games, which would still lead the league in points-per-game, but not by as wide a margin.  This isn’t to say he’s a bad pick or poor prospect, but to temper expectations (perhaps he’ll be another fourth-round dud ala Ben Blood (a Pronman favourite) or Timothy Boyle), or perhaps not–we’ll have four years in the NCAA before we’ll know for sure.

Moving along Nichols echoes a point about the Sens blueline depth that I share:

the Senators don’t have a lot of good puck-moving defencemen within their system – whether it’s at the AHL level, the junior ranks or in Europe. It seems like the bulk of their defensive prospects are blue collar types who play the prototypical defensive style that is becoming more and more outmoded as the years pass

The aforementioned Sieloff certainly fits that outmoded category.

Nichols posted a piece in the midst of writing all this that I’ll shoehorn here because it’s draft-related and the thing that struck me is very short: Pierre Dorion gave us the “they have size” comment for Burgess and Markus Nurmi–yay?

As for Trevor Shackles writing for The Silver Seven, his piece is more about the depth in the organisation, noting the disappointing 2012 draft and middling 2013 effort (now that Tobias Lindberg is gone).  I’m less enthused with Andreas Englund than most of the fanbase (until I see signs that he can move the puck he’s just another 7th defenseman), but I do like Francis Perron.  I don’t think this draft (2016) will match the twosome from 2015 (Thomas Chabot and Colin White), but it’s a solid haul.


Sens development camp is underway as of today and I like to see who they invite as sometimes we later see these players signed by the organisation later for the AHL or ECHL:
Michael Babcock (RW) – son of the NHL coach, he’s in his first year at Merrimack (so yet another teammate of Chris Leblanc); an unimpressive USHL player, his rookie year in the NCAA was no different (38-3-4-7); at only 5’9 he’s an oddity at a Sens camp
Vito Bavaro (RW) – just graduated from high school on his way to Sacred Heart in the NCAA (28-17-20-37)
Domenic Commisso (C) – an OHLer I expected to be drafted this year (#152), he’ll be eligible next year (at 5’9 he’s not someone I’d expect the Sens to take); 66-18-24-42
Hampus Gustafsson (LW) – Chris Leblanc’s teammate from Merrimack, the 6’4 Swede is coming off another solid season in the NCAA (39-8-18-26); he’s entering his senior year
Hunter Miska (G) – after an impressive year in the BCHL he put up a middling season in the USHL (2.46 .913, tied for 11th in the league in save percentage), prior to his attending Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA
Brady Reagan (DR) – 6’3 WHLer will go through the draft again next year (71-6-14-20)
Eric Robinson (LW) – Buddy’s brother has been a pretty unremarkable NCAA player at Princeton (31-7-4-11)
Zach Saar (RW) – he’s 6’5 and that appears to be the only reason the Penn State player is in camp (25-6-3-9)


In somewhat tangential news Sportsnet shook up their hockey coverage as attempts to appeal to a younger audience with George Stroumboulopoulos were thought to have failed (the overall audience has dropped by 30% in just two years), so Ron MacLean has replaced him as a sop to older fans.  I was less interested in the host change than in the firing of the insufferable Glenn Healy along with P. J. Stock (Damien Cox was shuffled to PTS which services an even older demographic).  I won’t miss either Healy or Cox, while I’m indifferent to Stock (a feeling apparently in common with the audience).  For those who missed it, I wrote a piece back in March discussing the struggles of traditional sports in appealing to a younger demographic–the very conservative hockey powers are certainly not in a good position to stop the trend.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing the 2016 NHL Draft

It’s time to look back over the draft and assess my prognostication as well as that of the draft guides I used (I’m not interested in the declared intentions of the guides, but rather how they function as predictors).  Without further ado, here are the numbers (this isn’t about Player X at position X, so what’s below is simply the correct player by round).  Acronyms: EOTS (Eye on the Sens), FC (Future Considerations), HP (Hockey Prospects), RLR (Red Line Report), and ISS (International Scouting Service).

First Round
HP: 26/30
EOTS/ISS: 25/30
FC/RLR: 22/30
The easiest round to pick (Bob McKenzie was 27/30), it went fairly well for me.  Of the five players picked that I missed three (CholowskiJohansen, and Steel) were slotted in the first-half of the second round, so only Borgstrom and Frederic were true surprises (I had them in the third; no one had anyone other than Cholowski slotted in the first).

Second Round
EOTS/HP: 18/31
FC: 17/31
RLR/ISS: 15/31
Virtually identical numbers across the board (the third straight year of such consistency).

Third Round
HP: 8/30
EOTS/FC: 7/30
RLR/ISS: 5/30
Here’s where publication consensus starts to diverge with individual team scouting.  The first players not from my list were taken here (Peeters, Ingram, and Nassen).

Fourth Round
FC: 8/30
HP: 7/30
EOTS: 4/30
RLR/ 2/30
ISS: 1/30
The first unranked players (those appearing in no publication) were taken in this round (Golyshev, Aktell, Noel, Dostie, and Ryan Jones–the middle three were listed by CS, but not highly; three are overage).

Fifth Round
FC: 6/30
HP: 3/30
EOTS/ISS: 2/30
RLR: 0/30
Six more unranked players were taken here, including four overagers.

Sixth Round
HP: 4/30
ISS: 1/30
Ten unranked players were selected (with four overage).

Seventh Round
EOTS: 4/30
FC/HP: 2/30
RLR/ISS: 1/30
Eleven unranked players were drafted (six overagers).

Total (changes from last year noted)
HP: 68/211 (32.2%) (-1)
FC: 64/211 (30.3%) (+11)
EOTS: 62/211 (29.3%) (-4)
ISS: 50/200* (25%) (-7)
RLR: 47/211 (22.2%) (-10)
* because ISS doesn’t designate goaltenders by round they’re excluded

For the third year in a row HP was the most accurate (by round) of all the sources, although it’s worth noting if you eliminate the first round it’s still less than a quarter of all the players picked.  The more important number is how many players selected were actually taken in the draft, and here’s how we all did (with variance from last year noted):

HP: 158/211 (74.8%) (even)
EOTS: 153/211 (72.5%) (-5.5%)
FC: 148/211 (70.1%) (+1%)
RLR: 141/211 (66.8%) (-5.5%)
ISS: 140/220* (63.6%) (-4.5%)
* because of ISS’ weird goaltending listing they’re compared to a larger number

I slipped back to my average pick percentage for this draft (regressing to the mean–neither Travis Yost or Dmitri Filipovic read this blog, so that reference is wasted).  HP had their third strong year of predictions, just ever so slightly lower than last year (160 in 2015).  The other three publications are all near their usual batting average.

The highest ranked player left hanging was Maxime Fortier (#83 for me)–he was listed by all sources, but perhaps his size (5’10) played against him.  Other players universally slotted who were left out: Vladimir Kuznetsov (#93–listed as a 3rd or 4th rounder in all sources, but perhaps the Russian factor kept him out), Simon Stransky (#94), defenseman Benjamin Gleason (#96), William Knierim (#100; a second-round pick for one publication), undersized Brayden Burke (#140), Patrick Bajkov (#154), Ondrej Vala (#161), and Alan Lyszczarczyk (#165).  This tally of 9 players is slightly lower than last year (where 11 weren’t picked).  As for the publications themselves two players listed as second-rounders were left on the outside (the aforementioned Knierim as well as Russian defenseman Ilya Karpukhin).

A couple of highly ranked players passed over in the 2015 draft were taken this year (Soy and Noel), while others (like Salituro) remained on the outside looking in.  Speaking of highly ranked, Central Scouting’s Europeans were again largely ignored (of those not appearing in the aforementioned publications only Oleg Sosunov (#25) and goaltender Filip Larsson (#8) were taken among the top selections (leaving players like #35 Artur Shepelkov and #3 Veini Vehvilainen on the shelf, among others)).  Conversely the highest NA player left out from CS’ rankings were Brogan O’Brien (#97) and Zach Sawchenko (#6)–perhaps we can say their goaltending picks are as ignored as their European selections.

Of the 32 players picked that weren’t on any list (a slight increase from 29 last year), 15 were from Europe (8 from Sweden, 5 from Russia, 1 from Finland and 1 from the Czech Republic), 8 are from the various US systems (3 from the NCAA), and the remaining 9 from Canadian leagues (1 from tier-2).  This group includes 15 defensemen and 4 goalies.  There are also 24 players from just one publication: 7 from Europe (4 from Sweden and 1 each from Russia, Switzerland, and Denmark), 8 from US systems (5 NCAA), and the remaining 9 from the CHL (1 from tier-2); with 8 defenseman and 2 goalies in the group.  Combined the 56 players are heavily composed of Europeans and prospects from the US (38, or 67% of the total), with a heavy emphasis on position players (23 D and 6 G, more than half the total).  There are also a lot of older players (21), most (18) from the unranked group.

Conclusions from the draft remain much as they’ve been since I’ve started doing this: there’s a very broad consensus on the top-90 or so players, with growing eccentricity the later the draft gets.  Scouting in Europe continues to lag behind (thus the wider variety of rankings and greater number of off-the-board picks).  There’s clear uncertainty behind what makes for a good goaltender, creating a lot of eccentricity in the selections; the draft also indicates a difference of opinion between NHL teams and scouting publications over what makes for an NHL blueliner once you get beyond the top-30 prospects (a lot of the late pick defenseman were big men, so taking risks on size continues to be a factor rather than skill).  As for the predictions themselves, I’m content with how this year went, although the goal remains beating the publications consistently.

[One correction from my big analysis article prior to the draft, I missed mentioning one player from two sources–as Patrick Harper–who ultimately wasn’t drafted.]

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing Ottawa’s 2016 Draft

The 2016 NHL Draft is in the books so we can take a look at how the Senators did at this year’s draft.  My predictions for who they would pick went down in flames (expectedly, although I hoped to get one or two).  Pierre Dorion’s first draft featured just one trade, sending the Sens first round pick (#12, Michael McLeod) and a third round pick (#80, Brandon Gignac), for the #11 pick.  Otherwise we saw most of the usual Bryan Murray drafting trends continue (preference for size, a player from Sweden, a player from the US junior systems, no Russians, and a (pseudo) local boy in Brown).  Things that changed from the norm include drafting a player from Finland (the first since 2005), not drafting a player from the QMJHL (the first time since 2007, but Lajoie if from Quebec so….), and drafting a player under 6’0 (first time since 2011, although 5’11 is not much of a reach).  Without further ado, here are the players (I reference my master list for when I say where they were slotted):

1-11 Logan Brown (C 6’6 OHL 59-21-53-74); Rankings 7-13; slotted #9

I expected the son of former NHLer Jeff to be gone earlier, but Clayton Keller and Olli Juolevi went early leaving him available; Dorion made a trade to move up to get the 6’6 forward which echoes the trade for Gabriel Gagne last year (also with New Jersey where they sent a 2nd and 4th to get the pick).  I echoed Trevor Shackles’ sentiment about the trade, but it will be several years before we can truly assess the move.  Brown finished second in scoring for Windsor (well behind Christian Fischer and, by points-per-game, Brendan Lemieux; both older players and both 2nd round picks).

The scouting assessments of Brown are all very similar, agreeing on the following: he’s not a physical player, has a good shot but doesn’t shoot enough, is a great passer, has a good hockey IQ, protects the puck down low and is good on the cycle, and he’s TALL.  Disagreements: one (of four) didn’t think he was very good off the rush and the same thought he needed to improve defensively; opinions on his skating are mixed.

2-42 Jonathan Dahlen (C/LW 5’11 Allsvenskan 51-15-14-29); Rankings 24-149; slotted #41

Son of former NHLer Ulf, he’s another player I expected to be gone before this pick, although it’s not like he tumbled down the draft very far.  The Sens always pick a Swede and Dahlen is the first under 6’0 player they’ve taken since 2011.  It’s worth noting that Dahlen spent the year in the tier-2 men’s league, not Swedish junior, so his numbers are quite good (he lead the lackluster Timra roster in scoring–in points-per-game he’s just ahead of Victor Ejdsell and Johan Persson, both older, undrafted players).

Scouting opinions on him are very similar: a natural goal-scorer who is very good around the net; a good forechecker; good skater (some debate about his acceleration); very competitive, but not very physical.  The only real disagreement is about his defensive abilities, which range from average to good.

4-103 Todd Burgess (C/RW 6’2 NAHL 60-38-57-95); Rankings 94-145; slotted #135

Not ranked by a couple of publications, the overage American is set to play for RPI in the NCAA next season.  Because he’s overage his numbers aren’t quite as impressive as they would be otherwise, but he lead the entire league in scoring (something that clearly caught many scouts by surprise)–Michaela Schreiter notes his totals are the highest since Pat Maroon a long time ago.

There was only one scouting profile of him and it indicated he was a good playmaker with good vision and hockey IQ; a puck-battler and decent stickhandler, but his puck skills are average for the NHL level; solid on the forecheck; he needs to improve his skating and defensive skills.

5-133 Max Lajoie (DL 6’0 WHL 62-8-29-37); Rankings 52-102; slotted #72

Tumbled considerably in the draft, perhaps because of his stature (small for a blueliner; although I have seen him listed at 6’1); he was the top scoring defenseman for Swift Current (the alma mater of Zack Smith).

Scouts largely agree on him: a good skater with above average hockey IQ, solid offensively with good puck distribution and a sneaky wrist shot; a good first pass and very calm.  There are disagreements on his defensive play (average to good) and one said he was a bit too passive.

6-163 Markus Nurmi (RW/LW 6’4 Finnish Jr 49-19-17-36); Rankings 69-185; slotted #128

Another player who fell from where I slotted him; the big Finn finished third in scoring on TPS (just behind Juho Virtanen, but well behind Matias Lehtonen in points-per-game; both slightly older, undrafted players).  I’m curious what prompted the Sens to finally draft from Finland, since they haven’t done so in over a decade (Janne Kolehmainen in 2005).  His size is obviously appealing, but there have been plenty of big Finns available over the intervening period, so clearly something changed–maybe they finally had bus fare for scout Mikko Ruutu to tour in his own country (jk).

There were only two scouting reports on him and they are pretty harmonious: he’s a straight-line player, a good forechecker who is very competitive; one said he had good hockey IQ; he’s very raw and there are some differences over where he tops out (either as a depth checker or a more productive two-way forward).

Overall I’m pretty happy with the picks.  In studying the draft we can expect at least one of these picks to pan out, but we can hope for two.  From an AHL-perspective the hope is higher as it’s likely most or all of these players will eventually suit up.  It’s a much better draft for the Sens than 2014, but not with the top-end of 2015–likely similar in value to 2013.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa Senators Draft Preview

One of the fun things about the draft is making predictions.  Despite the Ottawa organisation having many of the same pieces since Bryan Murray became GM (back in 2007), deciding on who they will pick is a devilish task.  Due to various constraints on my time I didn’t make predictions for last year’s draft, but I’ve managed to squeeze it in this time around.

The framework of how I’ll do this is: 1) look at Ottawa’s trends, 2) use my master list to determine who will be available, 3) provide potential options for each pick and predict which is the best.


Craig Smith quite rightly looks at picks after Tim Murray left for Buffalo (although since that was mid-season his fingerprints remain on the 2014 draft; I made a comparison between Tim’s drafts and Ottawa’s not long ago).  With that said there are older trends that indicate the preferences of the Sens since Bryan Murray was hired as GM.  Without further ado, and skipping over the 2007 draft as that’s John Muckler’s draft in all but name, here’s what we have:
2008: Sweden 3, WHL 2, BCHL/CCHL 2
2009: USHL/USHS 3, Sweden 2, WHL 1, QMJHL 1, OHL 1, NCAA 1
2010: QMJHL 1, WHL 1, USHL 1, Sweden 1
2011: OHL 3, Sweden 2, WHL 2, USHL 2, QMJHL 1
2012: OHL 2, USHL/USHS 2, QMJHL 1, WHL 1, Sweden 1
2013: Sweden 2, WHL 1, OHL 1, QMJHL 1, NCAA 1, EJHL 1
2014: USHL/USHS 2, QMJHL 1, Sweden 1, CCHL 1
2015: QMJHL 3, USHL/USHS 3, Sweden 2

NCAA/USHL/USHS/EJHL 16 (0-4-1-2-2-2-2-3)
Sweden 14 (3-2-1-2-1-2-1-2)
QMJHL 9 (0-1-1-1-1-1-1-3)
WHL 8 (2-1-1-2-1-1-0-0)
OHL 7 (0-1-0-3-2-1-0-0)
BCHL/CCHL 3 (2-0-0-0-0-0-1-0)

Note: Ottawa has not drafted a player under 6’0 since 2011

Notable organisation changes:
-Pierre Dorion was added after the 2007 draft as head scout (arriving from the Rangers)
-Tim Murray left mid-season in 2014, having come to Ottawa at the same time as Dorion (and also from the Rangers)
-Swedish scout Anders Forsberg (now with Buffalo) was with the org for the 08-10 drafts


In terms of CHL activity the QMJHL has remained steady while both the WHL and OHL have fallen off–I think some of this (particularly the WHL) is purely coincidence as head scout Bob Lowes is a western guy; there’s been a consistent emphasis on American leagues; the org always picks at least one player from Sweden, but no players from any other European league outside of Sweden and no Russians in any context (for example, the Sens gave up the chance to draft Vladimir Tarasenko to acquire David Rundblad in 2010).

What can we expect?  We’re guaranteed at least one QMJHL player, one Swede (what other option do the European scouts have?), and one player from the various US systems.  With that said, here are my predictions:

1-12 – the rankings puts Clayton Keller here, but given his size (5’10) either defenseman Dante Fabbro or Jake Bean (Smith’s choice above) are strong possibilities (despite being on the short side for defensemen, both around 6’0)–both are western players (BCHL and WHL) and I’m inclined to agree with Smith’s pick
2-42 – rankings have WHL defenseman Lucas Johansen here, but I don’t see back-to-back WHL blueliners (or blueliners in general) being selected, so Taylor Raddysh (the OHL rightwinger) is my guess
3-80 – I have another defenseman here (OHLer Sean Day), but I think QMJHL center/RW Maxime Fortier (who isn’t much further down) is more likely despite his size (at 5’10 he would break the 6’0 obsession)
4-103 – WHL center Beck Malenstyn slots here, although I think 6’5 WHLer Hudson Elynuik is more likely (Swedish forward Jesper Bratt is a possibility, but at 5’10 this is a bit of a stretch)
5-133 – 6’7 OHL Belarussian overage defenseman Stepan Falkovksy slots here, but I don’t see him being taken (he’s almost Russian and his numbers aren’t that impressive); USHL defenseman Samuel Rossini is next up, but USDP RW William Lockwood looks more likely to me (the former has traditional size, but his numbers aren’t remarkable)
6-163 – USHS forward Michael Graham slots here, but we’re due for at least one Swede so I like 6’3 overage defenseman Filip Berglund

This leaves me with:
Jake Bean (WHL)
Taylor Raddysh (OHL)
Maxime Fortier (QMJHL)
Hudson Elynuik (WHL)
William Lockwood (USDP)
Filip Berglund (Sweden)

This is a bit light on the US-system side of things and includes two players below the Sens usual height-minimum (Fortier and Lockwood), but it’s close enough to organisational trends to be reasonable.  Ottawa is notorious for taking players who aren’t well known or regarded however, so at least one pick is likely to be a player no one expects.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes


The 6th Sens’ latest podcast was posted a few days ago and had Elliotte Friedman on and he had a number of things to say of which the following interested me:
-he admitted his inclusion of Ottawa as a possible target to move to Quebec was simply speculation (he apparently doesn’t like to use that word to describe it, but that’s what it is)
-he indicated that he believed Bryan Murray did not want to leave his position, implying he was pushed out internally
-he talked about how he thinks getting a coach like Guy Boucher after his first stint in the NHL is a good thing–he’s learned what works and what doesn’t–and as vague as this is it does fit the limited analysis of coaching success that I’ve seen (as I mentioned when Boucher was hired)
-when asked if he thought Ottawa’s talent was too middling to succeed (so they should rebuild), Friedman countered that he thought given the team-friendly contracts the core players were signed on the organisation has to go for it–push for success–which is certainly the sentiment that management has shared; Friedman thinks the Sens have the talent to win, but thinks their style of play has been the problem (which basically boils down to coaching, although that’s not how he framed it)
-on Mike Hoffman: suggested there’s something we can’t see on the ice that’s caused him to get pushed to the fourth line–my guess is friction with his coaches, assuming that’s true, because as Friedman points out Hoffman has incredibly rare skills in today’s NHL; he also added he thought that Boucher’s prior relationship with Hoffman was part of the reason why he was hired
-he said many NHL teams are reluctant to depend on analytics when it comes to big decisions (he said he didn’t think they paid attention to Corsi, but used other metrics to measure the same thing); he echoed a Tweet from Nate Silver that said “I’m not sure that hockey is that much different than random,” which I think is way too flippant and vague to take seriously

Sens logo

A few other Sens items of note:
-Tim Pattyson was moved from his position as the video coach to oversee analytics for the team; it’s an interesting move about which I have mixed feelings: 1) as a trusted voice in the organisation whatever information he brings to the staff should be respected, but 2) as part of the group-think in Ottawa that’s rejected analytics, what will he bring?  (You can read Nichols thoughts on the move here)
-For the first time in a long time the Sens choose not to bring any top picks to the city (I like the move–don’t create room for disappointment in the fanbase)
-Pierre Dorion seems to have moved away (at least publically) from Bryan Murray’s never ending search for a top-six forward, expressing the belief that the team has nine players who could potentially score 20-goals–unless he has a time machine that takes him back to the 1980s I agree with Nichols that this is a pure flight of fancy, but I do like that he’s pulling back from echoing Murray’s unending desire
-Dorion confirmed that Clarke MacArthur is 100% healthy
-Like Nichols I’m puzzled that the Sens are (publically at least) expressing an interest in bringing back Alex Chiasson


Nichols invited Craig Smith to predict who the Sens might pick at the draft this year (as Smith did for Senschirp last year).  Smith does the right thing by looking at the team’s picks since Tim Murray left and noting the Sens interest in size (something I mentioned not long ago), as well as the limitations in where they draft from (nowhere in Europe outside of Sweden, always someone from the Q, etc).  Unfortunately Smith mentions a pretty terrible piece written by his colleague Ryan Wagman (which Craig must not have re-read as it includes an erroneous contradiction to his own thoughts (on size); as for why I have issues with Wagman I’ll refer you here and here; Ryan tends to Google his own name, so hello Ryan).  After various first round profiles (which seem pointless in context, but without them the piece would be extremely short), he eventually concludes the Sens will pick defenseman Jake Bean (no relation to Sean Bean).  He then suggests four potential players as second-round selections (defenseman Cam Dineen, defenseman Adam Fox, winger Cameron Morrison, and forward Jordan Kyrou).

What do I think about the predictions?  I posted my ultimate 2016 draft list yesterday and certainly all the players should be an option at that time, so they’re reasonable suggestions.  I’ll post a brief Sens draft preview to offer my predictions separately.


Erik Karlsson lost the Norris vote and while I think the decision was wrong I don’t really care–I’m not attached to awards–but for those who want some sympathetic outrage Ross A breaks it all down.

matt o'connor

Nick Valentino argues that Sens fans should be patient with Matt O’Connor and not give up after his atrocious rookie season.  He makes the argument his struggles were largely a product of the team in front of him and while he has a point I do think more of an explanation should be offered over why he had so many more problems than the other goaltenders who played in Binghamton (rookie nerves is a possibility).


Former Sens prospect Darren Kramer was tasered and arrested recently.  The story (via the link) is a fascinating display of Kramer‘s apparent lack of common sense, although until the case goes to court (I imagine it will be settled before that) nothing has been proven.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Analysis and Predictions for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft

The 2016 NHL draft is around the corner so it’s time to put on my prediction hat and take a look at who will be selected.  What follows is a long preamble, so for those simply interested in the list just scroll down.  It’s worth noting that I am not a scout, simply someone who enjoys the draft (a part of the NHL system that lacks good comparative data; it’s also fun to make predictions).  Before we get into my list I’ll explain my methodology.

With the advent of the salary cap in the NHL (2005) it became paramount for all organisations to invest in their scouting operations and draft well. Teams could no longer simply buy their way out of trouble or plug holes with expensive free agents. That change has helped drive the cottage industry that is draft prediction.  The wide variety of sources covering the draft are not created equal and few of those who provide their opinions will reflect on their subsequent accuracy. My purpose is to collate the best sources and provide insight into who will be selected.

This is my seventh year predicting the draft (beginning with the now defunct Hockey Herald back in 2010). That year I picked 72% of the entire class.  When I talk about predicting the draft class, I don’t mean player X went in X round at X position–that kind of precision simply isn’t practical (in the years I tracked it the number was a little higher than a quarter and when you subtracted the first round it bottomed out completely).  These numbers and percentages reflect which players were selected in the draft, period.  Back to the totals: in 2011 I picked 70%; 75% in 2012 (two points up on Red Line Report); 69% in 2013 (tied with Hockey Prospect‘s); 2014 71% (again tied with HP), then hitting a high of 78% in 2015 (ahead of HP by three points).  Overall I’m batting 72%.  Here’s the average of sources used over those years (excluding 2010 when I didn’t track it):
Me: 70%, 75%, 69%, 71%, 78% (avg 72%)
HP: 47%, 72%, 69%, 71%, 75% (avg 66%)
ISS: 60%, 70%, 65%, 62%, 68% (avg 65%)
FC: 44%, 71%, 68%, 69%, 69% (avg 64%)
RLR: 44%, 74%, 67%, 64%, 72% (avg 64%)

My method is to take the sum of reliable sources and produce a number (player X is ranked 15, 24, and 32, those numbers are then averaged to create his aggregate total). This gives me a number I can use for comparison. I then engage in comparative analysis—for instance, if player X has a higher aggregate score, but player Y wins the head-to-head comparison, the latter is given the higher position (so 11, 30, 31, 38 loses to 12, 13, 16, 69, because the latter’s number is sunk by one bad score). It’s worth noting that there is a difference between trying to assess who is the best player versus who will be drafted.  My interest is in figuring out who will be taken given the available data draft guides provide–the percentages above aren’t critiques of the guides (that’s a separate proposition), instead simply showing how closely their assessments match those of NHL teams.

Determining my Sources of Data

A wide variety of media and bloggers produce draft predictions (especially for the first round), but not all are created equal. My preference is for guides covering the entire draft (as that’s my purpose here), but otherwise simply based on results. For that purpose I use the International Scouting Service (ISS), Red Line Report (RLR), Future Considerations (FC), Hockey Prospect‘s (HP), and Central Scouting (CS). I have used other sources in the past (Corey Pronman, McKeen’sThe Hockey Writers, The Hockey News, etc), but due to their limitations I no longer do so.

An important note: both ISS and CS have inherent comparative problems. Central Scouting does not create a master list—players are divided into North American and European regions, then further subdivided into skaters and goaltenders.  As such I don’t integrate CS into the aggregate number (it’s simply not possible), instead it’s simply a point of reference (it’s also worth noting NHL teams and draft guides show little interest in CS’ European assessments). ISS, on the other hand, separates only their goaltenders into a separate ranking. This separation used to have draft positions associated with them (by round), but for whatever reason ISS no longer provides that, making it impossible to include them in the aggregate score.


-Acronyms: ISS (International Scouting Service), CS (Central Scouting), RLR (Red Line Report), HP (Hockey Prospect), and FC (Future Considerations)
-For convenience I’ve identified goaltenders (G) and defenseman (D); any player listed as “undersized” means they are officially listed as 5’9 or shorter; players with an asterisk (*) are overage

First Round
1. Auston Matthews (1.0) – the consensus pick across the board
2. Patrik Laine (2.0) – picked #2 across the board
3. Jesse Puljujarvi (3.0) – as above
4. Pierre-Luc Dubois (4.5) – opinion between he and Tkachuk is split, but CS provides the tiebreaker
5. Matthew Tkachuk (4.5) – son of the former NHL star
6. Alexander Nylander (8.5) – although his aggregate is close to four other players, he beats them all head-to-head; son of the former NHLer
7. Jakob Chychrun (D) (9.25) – hurt by his HP rating, he beats Jost and Sergachev head-to-head; he’s the son of former NHLer and the highest defenseman listed
8. Tyson Jost (9.0) – it’s rare for a BCHL player to be so highly touted, but everyone has him in their top-10
9. Logan Brown (9.75) – it’s essentially a wash between he and Sergachev, but his threshold is higher giving him the edge; his father is former NHL defenseman Jeff Brown
10. Mikhail Sergachev/Sergachyov (D) (9.5) – perhaps hurt by the Russian factor, his ratings are in a very tight band
11. Olli Juolevi (D) (10.0) – HP has him higher, but on aggregate he comfortably slots here
12. Clayton Keller (11.5) – undersized; FC and HP put him in the top-ten
13. Dante Fabbro (D) (13.25) – another BCHL player
14. Jake Bean (D) (13.75) – very close between he and McLeod below
15. Michael McLeod (D) (15.25)
16. German Rubstov (18.5) – beats Bellows head-to-head, although the Russian factor could slip him further down
17. Kieffer Bellows (17.5) – son of the former NHLer
18. Luke Kunin (19.25) – beats Jones head-to-head and has a very tight range of rankings
19. Charlie McAvoy (D) (20.5) – the comparison to Jones is a bit of a toss-up, but he’s given a higher ceiling
20. Max Jones (18.75)
21. Riley Tufte (20.5)
22. Julien Gauthier (20.75)
23. Vitali Abramov (25.75) – undersized; Russian factor a consideration
24. Alex DeBrincat (26.0) – undersized
25. Brett Howden (27.0)
26. Boris Katchouk (28.75)
27. Rasmus Asplund (29.75)
28. Pascal Laberge (31.5)
29. Tage Thompson (38.25) – his number is sunk by one bad ranking; son of former NHLer Brent Thompson
30. Logan Stanley (D) (31.75)

Eleven other players are slotted in the first round, but none by more than one source (which I believe is a first since I’ve done this–there’s usually one or two players with a couple of first-round picks that fall out by the ratings).

Second Round

31. Kale Clague (D) (37.75)
32. Libor Hajek (D) (38.0)
33. Nathans Bastien (39.0)
34. Adam Mascherin (40.75) – undersized; number hurt by a single ranking
35. William Bitten (44.0) – undersized; as above (from the same source as well)
36. Dennis Cholowski (D) (39.75) – another BCHLer
37. Carl Grundstrom (41.0) – Swede beats Hart head-to-head
38. Filip Gustavsson (G) (42.66) – also beats Hart head-to-head; top-ranked goaltender
39. Carter Hart (G) (40.66)
40. Tyler Benson (44.25) – opinions are split over whether he’s a borderline first-rounder or a late second-rounder
41. Jonathan Dahlen (68.5) – his number is tanked by one rating; he’s the last player on this list with a first-round selection; son of the former NHLer
42. Lucas Johansen (D) (44.25)
43. Taylor Raddysh (44.25)
44. Samuel Girard (D) (45.5) – as an undersized defenseman this is high ranking
45. Sam Steel (48.0)
46. Ryan Lindgren (D) (50.0) – score sunk by one rating
47. Markus Niemelainen (D) (48.5) – very split opinions on him
48. Adam Fox (D) (49.0)
49. Dillon Dube (50.75) – beats Parsons head-to-head
50. Tyler Parsons (G) (50.0)
51. Janne Kuokkanen (73.25) – his number sunk by one ranking
52. Jordan Kyrou (56.5)
53. Cameron Morrison (53.5) – wildly divergent opinions on him
54. Noah Gregor (61.0) – far more consistent rankings than Moverare
55. Jacob Moverare (D) (57.25) – floated by one ranking
56. Cameron Dineen (D) (62.5) – split opinions on him
57. Evan Fitzpatrick (G) (64.66)
58. Tim Gettinger (64.75) – beats Pu and Anderson head-to-head
59. Cliff Pu (62.5)
60. Joseph (Joey) Anderson (63.5)
61. Frederic Allard (80.75) – number wrecked by one ranking

Three players with two second-round picks do not appear above.

Third Round

62. Victor Mete (D) (72.0) – undersized; his number is sunk by a single rating
63. Wade Allison (88.75) – another player whose number is sunk by one rating
64. Luke Green (D) (66.5) – the final prospect with two second-round rankings
65. Filip Hronek (D) (68.25)
66. Josh Mahura (D) (69.5) – beats Lindstrom head-to-head
67. Andrew Peeke (D) (71.0) – as above
68. Linus Lindstrom (69.33) – unlisted by one source
69. Eetu Tuulola (100.0) – his ranking is thrown off by one rating
70. Brandon Gignac (77.66) – beats Krys and Lajoie head-to-head; unlisted by one source
71. Chad Krys (D) (76.66) – not listed by one source
72. Max Lajoie (D) (76.75) – wide ranging rankings for him (second through fourth)
73. Jacob Cederholm (D) (78.75) – split opinions on him (second through fourth)
74. Joseph Woll (G) (84.33) – highest ceiling of those remaining
75. James Greenway (87.75) – his number takes a beating from one ranking
76. Artur Kayumov (91.0) – wide range of opinions; Russian factor could be in play
77. Mitchell Mattson (92.0) – split opinions on him (second through fifth), but beats Borgstrom head-to-head
78. Henrik Borgstrom* (91.5) – split opinions as well (as above)
79. Trent Frederic (84.0)
80. Sean Day (D) (84.75)
81. Jack Kopacka (92.0) – wins head-to-head against the better aggregates below
82. Vojtech Budik (D) (87.25) – beats Middleton head-to-head
83. Maxime Fortier (103.0) – score hurt by one rating
84. Keaton Middleton (D) (83.0) – not listed by one source
85. Jordy Stallard (105.75) – score sunk by one source
86. Otto Somppi (91.0) – has a higher ceiling than Kaspick
87. Tanner Kaspick (89.25)
88. Matt Filipe (92.25)
89. Connor Bunnaman (95.75)
90. Jordan Sambrook (D) (100.75) – wide range of opinion (second to fifth)
91. Dmitri Sokolov (95.25)

Six players with two third-round (or lower) selections don’t make the list (Mathias From in particular is hurt by not being listed by two sources).

Fourth Round

92. Artyom Maltsev (96.75) – rating hurt by one ranking
93. Vladimir Kuznetsov (93.75)
94. Simon Stransky (107.25) – his ranking takes a pounding from one source
95. David Bernhardt (D) (97.75) – a second-rounder according to one source
96. Benjamin Gleason (D) (98.0)
97. Mathias From (80.0) – being listed by just two sources makes him hard to slot
98. Connor Hall (D) (99.5) – a second-rounder via one source
99. Matthew Cairns (D) (100.66) – not listed by one source; OJHLer
100. William Knierim (117.5) – ranked all over the place (second to seventh)
101. Ty Ronning (114.75) – undersized; number is thrown off by one rating, but otherwise has the tightest ranking; son of the former NHLer
102. Yegor Korshkov (104.75) – one second-round nod
103. Beck Malenstyn (105.25) – one second-round nod
104. Hudson Elynuik (116.75) – score hurt by one ranking; son of the former NHLer
105. Jesper Bratt (110.5)
106. Dylan Wells (G) (104.33)
107. Michael Pezzetta (110.0) – rankings are all over the place (third to sixth)
108. Josh Anderson (120.25) – ranked everywhere (third to seventh)
109. Max Zimmer (114.0) – tight rankings
110. Tim Wahlgreen (107.33)
111. Zach Sawchenko (G) (109.66)
112. Mikhail Berdin (G) (103.0) – not listed by one source
113. Marco Miranda (103.5) – not listed by two sources
114. Lucas Carlsson* (D) (119.0) – has a higher threshold than Candella
115. Cole Candella (D) (117.75)
116. Brett Murray (128.75) – number hurt by a single ranking; CCHLer
117. David Quenneville (D) (120.25) – undersized
118. Dylan Coghlan (D) (122.0) – not ranked by one source
119. Rem Pitlick* (121.75) – undersized; son of the former NHLer
120. Nicholas Caamano (123.66) – not ranked by one source
121. Carsen Twarynski (126.5)

Four players with two-fourth round selections do not appear above.

Fifth Round

122. Nick Pastujov (134.0) – number hurt by one ranking
123. Oskar Steen (120.0) – undersized; unranked by one source
124. Aapeli Rasanen (131.5) – gets a second-round nod
125. Adam Brooks* (130.0) – has a second-round selection
126. Dmitri Alexeyev (D) (133.0) – rankings all over the place (third to seventh)
127. Tobias Eder (125.66) – similar to the above; injuries hurt his season; only player listed from the German leagues
128. Markus Nurmi (125.33) – rankings third to seventh
129. Travis Barron (124.25) – fairly tight range of predictions
130. Dylan Gambrell* (123.66) – not listed by one source
131. Evan Cormier (G) (131.33)
132. Matthew Murray (G) (129.0) – not listed by one source; AJHLer
133. Stepan Falkovsky* (D) (127.5) – not listed by two sources (ahead due to threshold)
134. Samuel Rossini (D) (117.5) – as above
135. Todd Burgess* (119.5) – as above
136. Ross Colton* (127.5) – as above (higher threshold than Koppanen)
137. Hayden Verbeek* (132.0) – as above (ibid)
138. Joona Koppanen (126.5) – as above
139. William Lockwood (137.5) – number hurt by one ranking; has two-fourth round placements
140. Brayden Burke* (148.75) – undersized; rankings all over the place, but ranked by everyone and tops out in the third-round
141. Riley Stillman (D) (149.75) – very similar to Burke above; son of the former NHLer
142. Matthew Phillips (141.0) – undersized; relatively tight range (3rd-5th), but absent from one source
143. Otto Makinen (141.0) – as above
144. Graham McPhee (135.25) – picked in all sources with a fairly tight range (4th-6th); son of former NHLer George
145. Jonathan Ang (141.75) – as above
146. Ondrej Najman (134.33) – extremely tight range (just 17 spots in this round); not picked by one source
147. Jeff de Witt (140.0) – wide range (3rd-7th); not picked by one source
148. Colby Sissons (D) (148.) – as above
149. Brandon Hagel (150.0) – as above
150. Hugo Danielsson (D) (144.33) – highest threshold of a group of three similarly ranked players
151. Jack LaFontaine (G) (145.33) – second of the aforementioned group

Nine players with two fifth-round (or higher) selections did not make the above list.

Sixth Round

152. Domenic Commisso (144.66) – last of the aforementioned group
153. Yegor Rykov (D) (146.66) – one of the last players with a 4th and 5th round ranking
154. Patrick Bajkov (157.0) – another player with 4th-5th selections (higher threshold than Neveu)
155. Jacob Neveu (142.0) – the final player from at least three sources with 4th-5th round picks
156. Griffin Luce (168.75) – while most put him as a late round pick, he has a 3rd round selection and is one of the last players placed by all sources
157. Casey Fitzgerald* (154.33) – the last player picked by three-sources slotted in the 3rd round; son of the former NHLer
158. Garrett Pilon (169.75) – a fourth-round high and appears in all sources; son of the former NHLer
159. Kyle Maksimovich (151.66) – undersized; fourth-round selection
160. Jaime Armstrong (152.33) – has a fourth-round nod; son of former AHL pugulist Bill
161. Ondrej Vala (D) (161.75) – fourth-round selection and appears in all sources
162. Vojtech Zelenak (D) (161.66) – fourth-round pick and beats Graham head-to-head
163. Michael Graham (170.33) – the last player to appear in three-sources with a fourth-round selection
164. Kasper Bjorkqvist* (144.0)
165. Alan Lyszczarczyk (163.75) – the last player to appear in all sources with two fifth-round selections
166. Jake Ryczek (D) (156.66)
167. Andrei Svetlakov* (157.66) – the last player to appear in three sources with two fifth-round selections
168. Jake Kryski (163.66)
169. Grant Jozefek (161.33) – the last player from three sources to have a 5th and 6th selection
170. Otto Koivula (168.5) – his number is skewed by one ranking
171. Kristian Reichel (180.75) – despite some underwhelming scores he appears in all sources and does get a 5th-round pick; son of the former NHLer
172. Colin Grannary (183.5) – the last player to appear in all four sources; BCHLer
173. Tanner Laczynski* (174.33) – second last player from three sources with a 5th-round pick
174. Gabriel Sylvestre (D) (169.33) – last player from three sources with a 5th
175. Joseph Raaymakers (G) (174.0)
176. Daniil Miromanov* (179.0) – among the final players from three sources
177. Filip Lestan (186.66) – as above
178. Jiri Karafiat (190.66) – the last player to appear in three sources
179. Jakob Stukel* (137.5) – a 3rd-round pick to one source
180. Filip Berglund* (D) (139.0) – as above
181. Dante Salituro* (136.0) – undersized; a fourth-rounder to one source; decent ranking in last year’s draft

This round exhausts the supply of prospects picked by all or three of my sources.

Seventh Round

182. Dawson Davidson (D) (139.5) – as above
183. Colton Point (G) (140.0) – as above; CCHLer
184. James Sanchez (140.5) – as above
185. Frederik Karlstrom (148.5) – as above
186. Tyler Steenbergen (153.0) – as above
187. Josh Dickinson (128.5) – gets a fifth-round nods where he appears; OJHLer
188. Tyler Soy* (134.0) – as above; was fairly highly ranked in the previous draft
189. Brandon Duhaime* (137.5) – as above
190. Max Gerlach (141.5) – undersized; the last player with two fifth-round nods where he appears
191. Samuel Solenksy (146.5) – undersized
192. Brandon Saigeon (149.0)
193. Austin Osmanski (D) (150.0)
194. Mathieu Sevigny (151.0)
195. Greg Printz (152.0)
196. Mitch Eliot (D) (154.0)
197. Luke Coleman (154.5)
198. Noah Carroll (D) (156.0)
199. Tarmo Reunanen (D) (161.5)
200. Yevgeni Mityakin (162.0)
201. Matthew Boucher (169.0) – undersized; son of former NHLer Philippe
202. Dean Stewart (D) (173.0) – MJHLer
203. Casey Staum (D) (173.5)
204. Olivier Galipeau* (D) (171.5) – the last player with a fifth-round selection
205. Zach Walker (155.5)
206. Cameron Clarke* (D) (166.5)
207. Brinson Pasichnuk (D) (173.5) – AJHLer
208. Gustaf Westlund (176.0)
209. Dmitri Zaitsev (D) (181.5)
210. Evan Sarthou (G) (186.5)
211. Kristians Rubins (D) (187.0) – the final player to appear in two sources

This is the first draft since I started doing this where I’ve had no players with two scores left off the list (last year there were six).  I’ve felt that scouting opinions have gradually been moving towards consensus and this is evidence of that.  There are four goaltenders who appear somewhere other than ISS (including the delightfully obscure Belgian goaltender Wouter Peeters), but given that publication’s insistence on not providing metrics for those selections I can’t use them practically (the highest appears as a fourth-rounder elsewhere).

As for individual picks left out, the highest is a late second-rounder, followed by three third-rounders.  Central Scouting’s European selections were (again) largely ignored, as 13 of the top-50 skaters/top-10 goaltenders were ignored, including Pius Suter and Veini Vehvilainen who were both ranked in last year’s draft.  Given how NHL teams like bloodlines Tony Amonte’s son Ty, Paul Coffey’s son Blake, Dale Hawerchuk’s son Ben, or Petr Klima’s son Kevin could be picked, although none are ranked by any of my sources.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Reviewing NHL Draft Guides

With the draft just a week away it’s time to take a look at this year’s guides.  As I’ve done for the last few years I’m only looking at guides covering the entire draft, so in that light: Future Considerations (FC), Hockey Prospects (HP), International Scouting Service (ISS), and Red Line Report (RLR) are on the menu.  The top-30 lists for the first three are all publically available (you can see them on their various websites or posted up elsewhere).

The four publications have 129 prospects in common–that is to say, 128 players they all agree should (or will) be taken in the draft.  That’s 61% of the total, which represents a very small drop from last year (-3 players).  As you would expect the further we get into the draft the greater the variance.  As for unique selections, ISS leads the way with 39 (RLR 31, FC 28, and HP 24).  This represents an increase from 2015, but its on par for 2014.  As for what leagues the common group comes from, it’s no surprise the CHL dominates: 82 CHL (5 via tier-2), 27 Europe (9 Sweden, 7 Finland, 3 Russia, 2 Czech, 1 Swiss), and 25 US (3 via NCAA).

As for those unique selections, the vast majority are mid-to-late selections (only one player hits the second round, and just five in the third).  These unique picks are much less commonly CHL players (just 39% vs the 60% they represent among common selections).  The breakdown (123): CHL 49, US junior 27, Russia 12, Sweden 11, NCAA 6, tier-2 6, Czech 5, Finland/Switzerland 2, Slovakia/Denmark 1.  As per usual the guides ignore some highly ranked Central Scouting European players (you can see their lists here), as Oleg Sosunov (#25), Artur Shepelkov (#35), Pius Suter (#40), Ivan Kovalev (#41), Artur Lauta (#43), Sebastian Repo (#44), Alexander Bjurstrom (#45), Andrei Kuzmenko (#47), Alexander Yakovenko (#50), Veini Vehvilainen (#G3), Sergei Bolshakov (#G8), and Filip Larsson (#G10) are completely absent (most, not surprisingly, are Russian).  In comparison the highest ranked NA player that doesn’t appear on the lists is Anthony Salinitri (#84).  I’ve always believed this wild variance has to do with the spotty scouting in Europe (if CS’ approach had issues you’d see the same avoidance in their NA lists).

Future Considerations ($22.99)
Scouts: 31
Prospects listed: 211
Prospect profiles: 211
Mock draft: first and second round
Future watch: 2017 and 2018 drafts
Miscellaneous: critical piece on scouting bias

This always affordable product has been my best-buy for several years now.  With that said, there’s nothing new in this years version (save 7 more scouts listed versus 2015), although I do think the piece on potential bias (written by Daniel Deschenes) is excellent and well worth reading through.

Hockey Prospects ($39.99)
Scouts: 22 (Canada 16, US 2, Europe 4); they are not listed in the book, but are available on the website
Prospects listed: 211
Prospect profiles: 411
Mock draft: N/A
Future watch: 2017 and 2018 drafts
Miscellaneous: scouts’ game reports

This expansive publication consistently has more profiles than any other and has been the best predictor of the draft the past two years.  There are no meaningful changes to the product from last year (with extras included in the more expansive “team” version that I’m not reviewing here).

International Scouting Service ($99.99)
Scouts: 53 (Canada 28, US 18, Europe 7)
Prospects listed: 220
Prospect profiles: 110
Mock draft: first round
Future watch: 2017, 2018, and 2019 drafts
Miscellaneous: team draft success from 2000-2014

While the price-point for ISS is unchanged from last year the content has undergone a significant change: the number of profiles has been cut in half, despite an increase in the number of scouts listed (an additional 15 from 2015).  ISS continues to separate its goaltending lists from the rest of the players for no good reason, and provides no rubric for their inclusion in their draft lists.  As the most expensive (and expansive) scouting group included, this year’s product is a disappointment.

Red Line Report ($50.00)
Scouts: N/A
Prospects listed: 312
Prospect profiles: 116 (plus one-line notes on another 61)
Mock draft: 2 (both of the first round)
Future watch: 2017 draft
Miscellaneous: European free agent watch

Constricted by limitations of space for their print-version the publication, they can’t really compete with the heavyweights (HP and FC); that said, it offers it’s own unique opinions and with ISS scaling back the number of profiles included this is certainly a better value.

So what’s the best value?  FC has been the easy choice the last few years, but the pure tonnage of profiles from HP makes this a toss up for me.  For casual fans FC is the way to go in terms of cost and value (most fans aren’t going to care about late round profiles), but for those with a stronger interest it’s hard to ignore the extra coverage offered by HP.  I don’t think the different way they organise their prospects matters (by ranking for FC and alphabetical by HP)–it’s moot in PDF because you have a search function.  Either way, I enjoy both products so whatever choice you make is a good one.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

Randy Lee talked about a bunch of things and I have a few thoughts:
-22 candidates applied for the Binghamton position and he says interviews were conducted (which contradicts my speculation that they’d simply picked Kleinendorst for the usual nostalgia reasons that have guided the Sens for years); with that said, and regardless of who the other top candidate was, they did go with the feel-good decision that’s based on results from five years ago (rather than looking at recent track records, something comically emphasized in an attempt to say it’s not the reason: “Well, the proven track record. I mean, that year, a lot of those young players he put into really sort of bigger roles and these are guys that were really instrumental in helping us win the Calder Cup Championship … We think that winning is a huge part of development“); Nichols (whose transcription is cited) doesn’t actually delve into Kleinendorst’s struggles since leaving Binghamton, but if “winning” was a true criteria he never would have been hired; it’s also odd that the “fit” with Steve Stirling relevant
-Lee provided absolutely no specifics on how Marc Crawford’s “liaison” position in relation to Binghamton will function despite talking about it at length
-On retaining Stirling: “Definitely, he’s one of those glue guys who you can sort of go to. He’s an extremely hard worker;” I don’t think hard work is something unique to Stirling, so my assumption is that the personal relationships he’s built up with the organisation are what’s keeping him around
-Lee gave Francis Perron the usual nonsense we hear him give to every talented player drafted, “If you don’t change your game, we probably wouldn’t sign you … We don’t want you to score goal six or seven to two. We want you to score the goal that brings your team back or be on the ice when you’re protecting the lead.”  The idea that Perron was only scoring meaningless goals before this is absurd and the idea that the Sens somehow have so much goalscoring talent they don’t need more is equally silly, but Lee is all about the hockey jargon of the day before yesterday (as Nichols points out, “It’s kind of weird that hockey’s a sport where less talented individuals are rarely held to the same level of scrutiny as offensive players“–this is more than weird, it’s just dumb)

My overall takeaway from this is what I’ve long thought: Lee isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and there’s nothing in his comments that suggests any changes from the way things were done under Bryan Murray.


Nichols writes about Elliotte Friedman’s casual inclusion of Ottawa as a possible candidate to move to Quebec City and I think this point is the proper conclusion:

reach an agreement with the NCC on building a new rink at LeBreton Flats, without an agreement in place, the threat of relocation to a city like Quebec City gives the Senators and the NHL exactly what they want: leverage.

This is all it is–just some smoke to try and shake the trees at the NCC.


Senators prospect Robert Baillargeon, whose development has badly stalled at Boston University, has transferred to Arizona State for his senior year.  The move is a good one for Baillargeon as a less cluttered lineup will give him an opportunity to show what he can do.


Ross A indulges in some draft speculation and decides that, for no reason in particular, the Sens will ditch their post-Muckler policy and draft a Russian player.  If it happens I’ll eat my hat (fyi, Ruslan Bashkirov played in the Q which is the only reason Murray let Muckler’s scouts pick him).

Free agent signing: Calgary signed Czech goaltender David Rittich

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Kurt Kleinendorst Returns as Binghamton’s Head Coach

6sp-erc neu #RLL

The hiring of Kurt Kleinendorst as head coach in Binghamton is both surprising and yet the least surprising choice for the AHL side of the franchise.  It’s a feel-good move meant to encourage a deflated fanbase (with two terrible recent seasons and news that the franchise will likely leave), but also the path of least resistance.  Kleinendorst was coaching ERC Ingolstadt in the DEL (Germany) as an mid-season replacement (for Emanuel Viveiros in late November).  He took the team from a 6-10-4 start and went 17-12-3 with a surprise run to the semi-finals of the DEL playoffs.  Elite Prospects shows him as having another season on his contract with Ingolstadt, but if Kleinendorst was really interested in coaching in Europe he’d seek out higher profile (and paying) jobs in the KHL or NLA, something he’s quite obviously avoided until he was left unemployed by Minnesota.

Those of you with long memories will remember I favoured the idea of promoting Kleinendorst to the head coaching job in Ottawa rather than bringing in Paul MacLean.  At the time I argued that one of the main reasons MacLean was chosen instead was because Bryan Murray was familiar with him (from their days in Anaheim) and you can say much the same thing with Kleinendorst’s hire.  Throughout Murray’s tenure the organisation showed a preference for known quantities (eg trading for a burned out Martin Lapointe or all the work done for Luke Richardson).  I thought Dorion might be turning over a new leaf, but with Kleinendorst actually reaching out to the organisation the decision became all too easy for him (the 22-person list the org is touting means nothing more than that–I’ve seen no reports of interviews or actual process).  Was this the right decision?  Let’s look at his record since leaving Binghamton:

2012-13 NCAA Alabama-Huntsville 3-21-1 .125 (fired after the season)
2013-14 AHL Iowa 27-36-13 .441
2014-15 AHL Iowa 2-10-0 .167 (fired)
2015-16 DEL Ingolstadt 17-12-3 .580 (mid-season replacement)

None of this is particularly impressive and if you look at his coaching career outside his Calder Cup win there’s not much to get excited about.  That aside, you can argue results are often more about the lineup than the coach (although following that line of logic too far and a coach is never responsible for anything).  When I looked at coaching success earlier this year it was clear that a good coach can’t make a bad roster better–what they can do is take a middling or good roster and make it achieve its potential.  Oddly, either young inexperienced coaches or experienced coaches with losing histories statistically have the larger and better impact on rosters (with the exception, at the NHL level, of Cup-winning coaches not named Randy Carlyle).  Kleinendorst fits the latter two categories (although the articles I read did not examine Calder Cup winning success), so perhaps despite a non-existent coaching search and an unimpressive coaching record this will work out.  It’s worth keeping in mind that whatever system Kleinendorst prefers he’ll be running Guy Boucher’s system.  In the end I remain dubious but hopeful about the move.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)