It is hot and humid in Ottawa and the news is slow. That said, there are always a few things to comment on, so here we go:
Back in April I talked about the rumours that the Sens might move their AHL-affiliate from Binghamton to Belleville. Nichols and Ross A both talk about an Ottawa Citizen story where Debbie Preston (Broome County Executive) confirms it–the comments don’t seem that radically different from what was said in May, but it’s added confirmation of the move. All signs point to the affiliate playing in Belleville for the 2017-18 season, leaving this upcoming year as quite bittersweet for BSens fans.
Randy Lee talked about the Development Camp, but it’s hard to take him seriously when he praises dead weight like Vincent Dunn and Chris Leblanc–“works hard” doesn’t make up for a lack of skill (for those of you who think I’m engaging in hyperbole, I watched Dunn‘s entire season in the ECHL and it wasn’t pretty). Nichols (whose transcript I’ve linked) talks about Lee trying to light a fire under Thomas Chabot without referencing how badly that gambit turned out with Nick Paul (I don’t think him being named Hardest Worker is a coincidence)–admittedly Nichols doesn’t pay much attention to Binghamton, but some players don’t respond well to the cliched “kick in the butt” the Sens reserve for their skilled players (whereas they bend over backwards to forgive the foibles of their “character” players–as illustrated above).
Speaking of prospects, Callum Fraser writes about Logan Brown–it’s more of a human interest piece than an analytical look at him, but it does bring up how talented his teammates in Windsor are and that’s always something to keep in mind about his numbers (how much is generated by him and how much is due to circumstances).
In the midst of fan questions Ary M compares Fredrik Claesson to Mark Borowiecki, which is the kind of thing that makes you ask: do we need either at the NHL-level? Hopefully Freddy is better this year and I can get back on board with him, but if his peak performance is ala Borocop it’s not a good sign.
Via the same link NKB tries to explore the struggles of Curtis Lazar, but rather than look at the analytics and compare his to similar players, he looks at draft history based on where he was picked–I’m not sure there’s anything to glean from that route of inquiry (although as a matter of draft trivia it’s fun to do). Lazar was never a prospect I was excited about and the projections for him (responsible third or fourth liner with no hands) seem on-target (not the sort of thing you need from a first-round pick). Does he have time to show us more and develop? Of course, but I wouldn’t hold up much hope for an offensive explosion.
So what do you do in mid-July when not much is happening? Read whatever happens to be available and occasionally see something that raises an eyebrow:
There is no reason to think he [Chris Kelly] won’t fill the role … At 35, Chris Kelly is certainly not a spring chicken anymore. He only played 11 games last season
I’ve deliberately switched around Michaela Schreiter’s response to a reader question because to me she refutes herself–both facts she opens with are reasons to think he might not fulfill his role. It doesn’t mean that he won’t, but there’s certainly reason for skepticism.
Speaking of free agent signings, Trevor Shackles bemoans the Sens not landing better bargain players without speculating on the relative appeal of signing in Ottawa. The Sens are both a small market team and suffer from an internal budget, making winning all the more difficult–it’s the sort of situation that appeals most to older players with nothing left to achieve (ahem, Kelly, along with the laundry list of players Murray saddled the team with over the years).
I want to emphasize something Ross A said in passing:
possession metrics aren’t widely used
Sad but true. When normally sensible people like Elliotte Friedman are still unsure of them you know the league (and its aging fanbase) are a long way away from embracing it.
Andrew writes a long piece about the dumb decision-making by GM’s in free agency. There’s nothing new here, but he includes some funny lines. I do think if NHL GM’s were more progressive and believed/embraced analytics most of the silly signings would stop, but we’re a long way from that ever happening.
I don’t usually read comment sections, but I did dive into a thread on The Silver Seven where I learned that (for some) calling your opponents losers was how you win an argument (very Donald Trump, now that I think about it). I remain amazed that, not just in sports, but in all contexts how so many people seem unwilling (or unable) to engage in discourse. It’s okay to be wrong or to make mistakes–it happens–it’s part of learning. You can respect people who disagree with you. There’s an inclination to say this sort of behaviour comes from younger people, but I know plenty of adults who engage in it too–I find it all bizarre.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)