Senators News & Notes

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I started writing my thoughts about the Mika Zibanejad trade when it happened, but I wanted to give it some time before I actually posted them to see if a little time changed my mind.  It hasn’t.  It’s a painful trade–so typically Ottawa–the franchise as it has been since the Melnykian budget and Murray’s own tendencies (apparently continued under Dorion) became apparent.  Trade an emerging talent (23) for an older one (29)–this time with a local angle, throw in a completely unnecessary 2nd round pick (well, for cash), and bring with it all kinds of warning signs about Brassard‘s performance.  He’s coming off a career high shooting percentage, his stats boosted by playing with immensely talented linemates, and giving up a player already on pace to be better (just look at the compared Pts/60 as well as their 5-on-5 production).  Even the idea that he’ll improve the PK doesn’t wash given that Zibanejad was among the better Ottawa forwards in that respect.  While both were 6th overall picks (2006 and 2011 respectively), there’s no question that at best Brassard has hit his peak whereas there’s plenty of room for Zibanejad to improve.  The Senators save a little money, but this is another “win now” deal for a team that’s in no position to win now. Removing  Zibanejad and adding Brassard does not suddenly transform Ottawa into a contender–while you can argue maybe he’s a slight upgrade in the short-term, Ottawa’s forwards haven’t been the problem.  The Sens aren’t only giving up on a bonafide young, talented roster player, giving up the 2018 pick means they are surrendering future talent as well.  It’s all so painfully typical of the organisation and eliminates any faint hopes I had that a Pierre Dorion regime would somehow turn over a new leaf.  Even in reading pieces that are meant to be positive (like here) there’s no specifics that make me think it’s going to help short or long term.

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On the positive side the Sens gave up their posturing on Mike Hoffman and actually signed him to a four-year deal.  I’m very happy about it, although I know the org and local media will be critical of any and all defensive miscues or offensive slumps that he goes through from here on out.  There’s not much to say when the organisation gets something right, but Nichols (link above) goes through all the reasons why it’s the correct decision.

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A couple of analytical pieces have dropped that are worth noting (both from Travis Yost):
-the first explores shot-blocking and asks the question: is there a minimum threshold for it?  Travis doesn’t think the data proves things one way or another, but does think there’s a correlation between between teams that emphasize shot-blocking on the PK and those that don’t
-the second looks at which team gets the bigger offensive boost from its blueline and to me what stands out is how much more the Rangers derive from their defense corps (as Travis points out, this may be due in part with the risks they can take given their goaltending)

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There hasn’t been a lot of activity for Binghamton given that they are nearly at the limit of their veteran signings.  With that said, a couple of AHL deals have been inked:
Alex Krushelnyski (son of the former NHLer)–the 25-year old NCAA grad has been a productive ECHL player (130-42-75-117)
Chris Rumble (also the son of a former NHLer), the 26-year old enjoyed a solid rookie season in the ECHL (64-11-28-39)
I’d expect both players to spend the bulk of the year in the ECHL, although with a soft blueline Rumble could see time in the AHL.
On the flipside a number of former B-Sens (or Bingo property) have gone elsewhere: the unfortunate Danny Hobbs signed with the Danish league; veteran David Dziurzynski signed in Germany; call-up Matthew Zay signed with Elmira (ECHL), and Alex Wideman (Chris’ brother) signed with Indy (ECHL); none of the changes are meaningful to the AHL roster

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)