Senators News & Notes

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This post has been in process for quite some time–interrupted first by my powering through Iron Fist (despite a critical pounding it’s worth watching if you like the Marvel Netflix properties–a tip of the hat to actor Tom Pelphrey for his performance as Ward Meachum), and subsequently Mass Effect: Andromeda (something else taking a critical beating, but I enjoyed it).  But back to hockey.

The always engaging Ary M penned a piece speculating on which NCAA free agents the Sens might target, and in the midst of that referenced Ottawa’s relative success in both that market and the CHL (Ottawa has not looked to Europe under the Murray/Dorion regime).  Although I briefly went through the Sens record of failure in this regard last April, I thought it would be worthwhile doing it again in more detail so we can gauge the relative success of the org (for those with long memories, NCAA defenseman free agent Derek Smith was actually a Muckler signing, so isn’t included below; numbers in brackets are a player’s point-per-game average):

NCAA (10)
Jesse Winchester (2008) – NHL 233-11-41-52 (0.22); Result: marginal fourth-line NHLer
Signed with the a great deal of hype as a potential top-six forward (!), the Sens forced him into the NHL and kept him there for three seasons; he spent one more year in Florida before injury destroyed his pro career
Bobby Butler (2009) – NHL 94-16-21-37 (0.39); AHL 47-22-11-33 (0.70); Result: top AHLer
Had even more fanfare with the org (another top-six forward!) and won a Calder Cup his rookie year; but the Sens bought him out just two years later and after putting up strong AHL numbers subsequently he’s stumbled around the European leagues in search of better paycheques
Stephane Da Costa (2010) – NHL 47-7-4-11 (0.23); AHL 159-44-88-132 (0.83); Result: uncertain (definitely top-tier AHLer)
Did I mention fanfare?  Another top-six forward in the org’s mind; to me he’s the most talented player listed here, but the Sens didn’t want to guarantee him a roster spot so he jumped to the KHL (94-46-50-96)
Pat Cannone (2011) – AHL 152-30-40-70 (0.46); Result: top-six AHLer
No fanfare, thankfully, and after two middling seasons with Binghamton the Sens sent him packing; he’s remained a useful AHL player
Cole Schnieder (2012) – AHL 263-83-108-191 (0.72); Result: undetermined, at least top AHLer
Limited fanfare; despite consistently putting up numbers with Binghamton he was never rewarded with a call-up, so Tim Murray plucked him away last season; while at 26 it’s unlikely he’ll carve out an NHL space for himself, he certainly warranted the opportunity with Ottawa
Buddy Robinson (2012) – AHL 245-49-55-104 (0.42); Result: top-nine AHLer
Because of his size there was both fanfare and opportunity for Buddy, but he simply never grew from the player he was in his rookie season; he’s in San Jose’s org now
Andrew Hammond (2013) – NHL 27-14-4 2.31 .922; AHL 34-37-5 3.08 .903; Result: AHLer of some degree
Limited fanfare (Robin Lehner was still with the org when he was signed) and while some will argue his spectacular run in 2015 is enough to make him a success (very Steve Penny of him), I don’t think it did either the team or his career any favours; he’s always been terrible in Binghamton, but I suspect he’d be at least a decent AHL goaltender elsewhere
Garrett Thompson (2013) – AHL 65-6-8-14 (0.21); Result: ECHLer
How do you miss this badly?  Thankfully there was no hype, but he’s not even an AHL player
Ludwig Karlsson (2013) – ECHL 39-11-13-24 (0.61); Result: ECHLer
Speaking of misses; he’s big so there were a few squeaks from the org when signed, but he was such a disaster he was pawned off to Dallas in the Jason Spezza trade
Matt O’Connor (2015) – AHL 22-37-5  3.29.894; Result: AHLer
Received a ton of fanfare and we can argue about whether it’s too early to declare what a goaltender is at 25, but his numbers in both pro seasons are mirrors of one another and it’s clear from all the Driedger recalls this season what the org thinks of him

CHL (5)
Craig Schira (2009) – AHL 208-15-32-48 (0.23); Result: bottom-pairing AHLer
No fanfare and didn’t really evolve from when he arrived; he’s been better in Europe, although he’s had less success in Sweden than he did in Finland
David Dziurzynski (2010) – AHL 351-46-81-127 (0.36); Result: third-line AHLer
No hype for the BCHLer, but a lot of Bingo fans have a soft spot for Dave; as a prospect he essentially arrived as a third-line player and never evolved from there; he suffered through a terrible season in Germany this year and will likely be back this side of the Atlantic in the fall
Wacey Hamilton (2011) – AHL 175-13-26-39 (0.22); Result: fourth-line AHLer
Lacked fanfare and, as with the above players, arrived and simply never evolved; has marginal AHL-talent, but his ability as an agitator has kept him in the league
Troy Rutkowski (2013) – ECHL 156-12-51-63 (0.40); Result: ECHLer
No org hype; actually drafted by Colorado (but sensibly discarded), the Sens lost faith in him very early (not cut in the Luke Richardson mold) and he barely appeared in Binghamton (just 30 games over three years); Jeff Ulmer and I argued about him quite a bit last year, but my point then was that the BSens blueline was bad enough that he was a sensible alternative; he’s playing in Norway now (the same route, incidentally, that Schira used to graduate to better European leagues)
Macoy Erkamps (2016) – ECHL 57-6-19-25 (0.43); Result: undetermined
No fanfare; Far too early to decide his fate at this point, although being unable to break through Binghamton’s weak blueline this season is not a good sign

Conclusions: while the org has largely dialed down the hype for these kinds of players, the results have actually been getting worse, not better.  Their CHL efforts have all been pointless in the long run (unless getting Dziurzynski concussed in the NHL is a win), while none of the NCAA trials have actually achieved a true NHL roster player (we can argue about Hammond, but it would be an argument).  Of these 15 players the best potential result was Da Costa who maybe was a useful third-line player (with second-unit powerplay duty), but neither the org nor the player had the patience for it to turn out.  Ultimately this collection was (mostly) good for the AHL and not much else.  I think those of us who follow the org see the decreasing frequency in signing these players being due to Tim Murray’s absence, but a better question (and I have no answer) is why the talent-level of these prospects has been in such rapid decline.  What voice (or voices) are no longer there to eliminate the duds here?  Clearly the minds assessing talent that signed people like Garrett Thompson or Zack Stortini face little opposition these days (speaking of the latter, the AHL-veteran signings under the Murray/Dorion regime have been pretty bad as well, but that’s a separate topic).

prospects

Randy Lee talked prospects recently (view the Nichols stenography service): the attempt to sign Colin White (who has signed an ATO with Binghamton), the team is bringing Christian Jaros and Marcus Hogberg over from Europe next season as well (they’ll help a lot), and Ben Harpur being the next Bobby Orr; an fyi to Nichols if he’s reading: Randy Lee thinks players fighting is a sign of character.  I’d expect Cody Donaghey to be signed as well–he came over in the Dion Phaneuf trade and the system needs defensemen.  The org doesn’t need to make any other decisions on signing prospects.

It has been awhile since my last prospect update; regular seasons have ended; here’s a look at how Sens prospects are doing (sorted by league and arranged by points-per-game):

CHL
Filip Chlapik (Charlottetown; 2-48/15) 57-34-57-91 (1.59)
Finished first in scoring on his team, although he’s behind teammate (and Penguin pick) Daniel Sprong in PPG (who is also the only player in the Q with a higher PPG, albeit Chlapik’s production has been slipping lately)
Thomas Chabot (Saint John; 1-18/15) 34-10-35-45 (1.32)
Lead the league in PPG by a defenseman
Logan Brown (Windsor; 1-11/16) 35-14-26-40 (1.14)
Finished second on his team in PPG (behind Gabriel Vilardi), and 24th in the league in PPG
Filip Ahl (Regina; 4-109/15) 54-28-50-48 (0.88)
Finished seventh in points and PPG on the high flying Pats
Cody Donaghey (Charlottetown/Sherbrooke; T-16) 52-11-29-40 (0.76)
First in points and PPG among defensemen on his team; tied for 10th overall in the Q; has much lower production with Sherbrooke (0.33)
Maxime Lajoie (Swift Current; 5-133/16) 68-7-35-42 (0.63)
Finished second in points and PPG among blueliners (behind Artyom Minulin); he’s 25th overall in the WHL

NCAA
Colin White (Boston; 1-21/15, sophomore) 33-16-17-33 (1.00)
First in PPG
Robert Baillargeon (Arizona; 5-136/12, senior) 28-9-12-21 (0.75)
Finished ahead of Anthony Croston for the PPG lead (he was not signed)
Christian Wolanin (North Dakota; 4-107/15, sophomore) 37-6-16-22 (0.59)
Well behind Jet-pick Tucker Poolman for points and PPG among blueliners
Chris Leblanc (Merrimack; 6-161/13, senior) 27-5-10-15 (0.55)
Finished 7th on the team in scoring and 6th in PPG; signed an ATO with Binghamton
Shane Eiserman (New Hampshire; 4-100/14, junior) 27-5-8-13 (0.48)
Finished ninth in scoring and seventh in PPG
Kelly Summers (Clarkson; 7-189/14, junior) 39-3-14-17 (0.43)
Finished third on the team in PPG among blueliners (well behind Detroit pick James De Haas)
Miles Gendron (Connecticut; 3-70/14, sophomore) 36-4-7-11 (0.30)
Finished second in scoring and third in PPG among blueliners
Todd Burgess (RPI; 4-103/16, freshman) (injured)
Joel Daccord (Arizona; 7-199/15, freshman) 3-8-1 4.03 .892
Finished second in both GAA and save percentage

Europe
Christian Jaros (Lulea; 5-139/15) 36-5-8-13 (0.36)
Finished fourth in scoring among blueliners, but is tied with three other players in PPG (second among players 21 and under behind the undrafted Sebastian Aho); his season is over
Markus Nurmi (TPS Jr/TPS/TUTO; 6-163/16) 27-12-16-28 (1.03); 5-0-0-0; 11-2-0-2 (0.18)
After playing his way out of the junior system he bounced from the Liiga parent team to TUTO in the Mestis (the Finnish second division); he’s the only teenage forward on the team and played limited minutes
Marcus Hogberg (Linkoping; 3-78/13) 19-14-0 1.89 .931
He finished fourth in the league in save percentage and well ahead of his partner in both categories; was second to Islander pick Linus Soderstrom in both categories among those in his age group

travisyost

Travis Yost looks at the defining characteristics of a Cup contender and concludes good offence along with goaltending are what matter most (as opposed to the usual conventional wisdom about great defense).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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Binghamton Senators Update

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As the Sens (along with the bulk of the Atlantic Division) enjoy an extensive hot streak, it’s time to take a look at Ottawa’s dark reflection: Binghamton. As has been apparent all season the BSens are a bad team; after enjoying a seven week hot streak mid-season (13-5-1) they’ve regressed to the mean and are in the midst of a 1-9-1 run. None of the various roster moves have helped the team and everyone is struggling in net. With that said, Kleinendorst deserves credit for what he’s been able to do given the atrocious roster (more about that below) and while I don’t expect him to be back next season, I’d be happy if he was. Binghamton currently sits 27th in the league with an .419 winning percentage and the results can be firmly dumped on the doorstep of management.

Since my last update the BSens are 4-9-1 (0.321). The problem isn’t special teams, as the powerplay has sizzled at 11-48 (22.9%) and the PK is a tolerable 42-51 (82.3%, league-wide this would put them 13th). Four players have been added to the roster (Gormley, HansonCazzola, and Leblanc) to no effect; the injured Kostka was traded to Calgary, Nehring hasn’t played at all, Hagel has been a limp addition, Varone is often in Ottawa, McCormick is on a cold streak, and neither Rupert nor Gagne‘s time in the ECHL has helped them at this level. Here are the individual performance breakdowns (players are organized by points-per game):

Varone 9-1-9-10 1.11 (3 PPP)
Akeson
14-6-7-13 0.92 (5 PPP)
Blunden
12-7-3-10 0.83 (4 PPP)
Bailey 12-6-3-9 0.75 (5 PPP)
Perron 14-0-9-9 0.64 (3 PPP)
Harpur
14-0-9-9 0.64 (5 PPP)
Paul 13-3-4-7 0.53 (3 PPP)
Rumble 11-1-4-5 0.45 (1 PPP)
Flanagan 14-2-4-6 0.42 (1 PPP)
Rodewald 14-3-2-5 0.35 (1 PPP)
Sieloff 9-0-3-3 0.33 (1 PPP)
Gormley 3-1-0-1 0.33
McCormick 12-3-0-3 0.25 (1 PPP)
Krushelnyski 11-0-2-2 0.18
Carlisle
13-0-2-2 0.15
Lepine 13-0-1-1 0.07
Englund 14-0-1-1 0.07
Hagel 14-0-1-1 0.07
Kostka 1-0-0-0
Gagne 3-0-0-0 (ECHL 4-1-2-3)
Hanson 3-0-0-0
Cazzola 3-0-0-0
Leblanc 3-0-0-0
Doornbosch
 6-0-0-0 (ECHL 2-1-4-5)
Rupert 14-0-0-0
Nehring DNP

Driedger 3.54 .902 1-6-0
Hammond
 3.66 .869 2-1-0
O’Connor
 4.06 .894 1-2-1

While Driedger has been inconsistent of late he’s still performing better than anyone else. In fairness to all the goaltenders, the blueline has been poor all season so they aren’t getting much help (the team has given up 40+ shots four of the last six games and hasn’t held a team under 36 in that time).

On the prospect side of things this has been Perron‘s most productive stretch; Harper continues to put up numbers (the question with him remains: is he the beneficiary of the point-inflation that can happen on a bad team?), and Paul‘s production has been fairly consistent (albeit not, I think, what Sens fans once hoped for him).

I have a lot of sympathy for Kleinendorst this season–he hasn’t had a fourth line he can rely on, vets expected to score have under performed (Blunden and Nehring), his blueline lacks talent and depth, other than Driedger goaltending has been subpar, and Ottawa is continually leaching talent. The team is a hodgepodge of unexpected ECHL support (RodewaldRumble) attempting to cement the gaping holes of failed and struggling prospects (DunnGagneErkamps), and useless vets or acquisitions (Stortini, RupertHagel).

Sens draft pick Chris Leblanc (6-161/13) joined the team on an ATO–the Sens thankfully had no interest in signing the NCAA grad (27-5-10-15)–I don’t expect him to be in the lineup for long.

In terms of other prospects who could join the team the most likely is defenseman Cody Donaghey (acquired from the Leafs as part of the Dion Phaneuf trade last year), whose team’s season (Sherbrooke) will end on Saturday. Another candidate was NCAA grad Robert Baillargeon, whose season ended in late February (28-9-12-21), but it remains an open question if the Sens want him or not (I’d guess not). The highly touted Marcus Hogberg is in the midst of the playoffs in Sweden right now and there’d be little point in signing him and bringing him over to Binghamton with two healthy ‘tenders already on the roster. Christian Jaros is also in the playoffs, but like Hogberg he needs to be signed and given that it’s quite rare for a European to jump to the AHL at the end of the season I’m not expecting it here. All the other CHL propects are playoff bound and there are no other NCAA players (other than the NHL-bound Colin White) or Europeans expected to turn pro.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

gormley

There was a post-deadline move by the Sens as they picked up former first-round pick Brandon Gormley (1-13/10) from the Devils (for future considerations).  The 25-year old was a free agent signing by New Jersey after Colorado cut him loose (acquiring him via trade from Phoenix who originally drafted him).  Gormley‘s best years were with the Coyotes and he’s been spinning his tires ever since (just his AHL stats below):
2012-13 Portland 68-5-24-29 (0.42)
2013-14 Portland 54-7-29-36 (0.66)
2014-15 Portland 23-3-7-10 (0.43)
2015-16 San Antonio 39-4-2-6 (0.15)
2016-17 Albany 35-2-8-10 (0.28)
He’s done essentially nothing at the NHL level (58-2-3-5).  So why the precipitous decline in the minors?  It seems as though he was benefiting from teammates around him (a host of talent his rookie year, including some games from Oliver Ekman Larsson; a couple of veterans in his sophomore year including former NHLer Randy Jones; and a career year from Dylan Reese his final season with Phoenix).  This year he slipped far down the depth charts on the Devils, with five blueliners ahead of him in scoring and saddled with the second worst plus/minus on the team.  So what value does he have for the BSens?  It means they can return Doornbosch to Wichita and can sit Guillaume Lepine–in essence, both ECHL defensemen they’re saddled with no longer need to be dressed.  It’s a small positive, but Gormley does have some talent and the move might be the clean slate he needs to perform–time will tell.

Analysis

Stefan Wolejszo has a piece about Sens analytics chief Tim Pattyson from a discussion panel a week ago.  It’s well worth reading in full.  The two things that stood out to me:
-the Sens employ three analysts (two more than I was expecting), although at least one (Tom Gillis) is purely for marketing (about which, ouch this year)
-“Pattyson also noted that when the team assesses players they take other things into account such as whether a player is streaky or a slow starter. There are also things that are not visible from the outside, like whether the player is dedicated to working out and eating properly.”  These are interesting ideas and I wonder what, if anything, backs up their value as something to track

character_traits1

The legendary Andrew reappeared in WTYKY to discuss the Alex Burrows acquisition:

when character is your justification, you better make sure the player you are acquiring is actually worthy of such adulation.

He then details the many foibles of Burrows‘ career (all very public and well-known).  While I certainly agree with Andrew’s point, I think the kind of character he’s talking about isn’t what Dorion is referring too–Andrew is talking about personal conduct (acting like a professional and good human being) and Dorion about playing desperate hockey and succeeding.  I think there’s little evidence veteran players (no matter who they are) have Dorion’s kind of impact on younger players (reported evidence is, in my opinion, largely meaningless), but many coaches and GM’s believe that it does so we see trades like this all the time.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

European Free Agents of Interest

freeagent

I’ve been posting a piece like this for years (lot’s of publications do something similar with undrafted NCAA players, but that’s never really translated elsewhere).  I find it interesting to see who NHL GM’s take a chance on and which of those actually turn out (a note for Sens fans: Ottawa doesn’t partake).  You can see last year’s list here.  For a look at how to judge production in Europe and how it translates to the NHL, go here; while you can see European free agent success stories here.  My focus is on players 25 and younger.

SHL
Scoring in the league is quite low
Johan Sundstrom, C, 24, 6’3 Frolunda 43-12-26-38
The first player listed that was actually drafted (2-50/11), spending three years spinning his tires in the Islanders system; that AHL experience may scare GM’s away, but equally they may think he wasn’t handled properly; he lead his team in both scoring and PPG (points-per-game)
Sebastian Aho D, 21, 5’10 Skelleftea 46-10-20-30
He could still be drafted, but has been passed over quite a few times already (he was ranked fairly highly in 2015, but largely forgotten last year); the reluctance is related to his size, but perhaps this year’s performance will be enough to overcome those fears (he’s second in the league in points and PPG among defensemen)
Par Lindholm, C, 25, 5’10 Skelleftea 35-14-15-29
Having a career year, albeit on a very talented team
Allsvenskan (tier-2)
Victor Ejdsell C/LW, 21, 6’5 Karlskoga 49-24-32-56
Given his size and gaudy numbers there’s a good chance someone will sign him

Liiga
Scoring ratios are higher than in the SHL
Henrik Haapala LW/RW, 23, 5’9 Tappara 48-14-43-57
Leads the league in both scoring and points-per-game, perhaps enough production to overcome NHL objections to his size; his stats aren’t being boosted by exceptionally talented linemates, so at least by Liiga standards, the Finn has had an epic season
Iikka Kangasniemi LW/RW, 22, 5’8 Pelicans 42-10-28-38
Given that he’s on a talented team these numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt; his size also makes it unlikely he’ll get a look, but it remains a possibility
Antti Suomela C, 22, 6’0 JYP 50-20-20-40
Leads his team in scoring and PPG, albeit he may be the beneficiary of a pair of veteran linemates
Mikko Lehtonen D, 23, 6’0 KooKoo 43-6-19-25
Currently loaned to HV71 (SHL) where he has lower numbers, he’s the top-performing blueliner in this age group in the Liiga, although GM’s might want to see him in another league for a full-season before taking a chance on him
Alexandar Georgiyev G, 21, 6’1 TPS 1.63 .924
Could be drafted as an overager; having a career year leading all goaltenders in his age group in both GAA and save percentage
Dominik Hrachovina G, 22, 5’10 Tappara 2.05 .922
Having a similar season to his last (a better GAA, but same save percentage); he’s probably too short for NHL teams to sign him

NLA
Scoring is about on par with the Liiga
Lino Martschini RW, 24, 5’6 Zug 50-23-26-49
I’ve brought the diminutive player up before, but his size scares GM’s away
Vincent Praplan LW/RW, 22, 5’11 Kloten 50-15-27-42
Played in the OHL (13-14) making him more familiar to scouts; he’s third on his team in scoring with enough separation from the next tier of players that his numbers don’t seem inflated
Yannick Rathgeb D, 21, 6’1 Gotteron 45-11-23-34
Played two seasons in the OHL (13-15), which is either a pro or con depending on how you look at it; he’s far and away the most productive blueliner on his team
Luca Boltshauser G, 23, 6’0 Kloten 2.60 .925
On the small side for NHL goaltenders, but has the best save percentage of other backstops in his age group
Niklas Schlegel G, 22, 5’10 ZSC 2.07 .920
Better overall numbers than his partner, although he’s played fewer games; on the small side which tends to prevent goaltenders from coming over

KHL
The huge gap in quality of teams creates wildly variant stats
Vladimir Tkachyov LW, 21, 5’10 Vladivostok 49-14-25-39
Spent two seasons in the QMJLH (13-15) and was considered by a few for the draft in 2015; he’s second on his team in scoring with a large gap between he and the next tier of production; his size may cause some hesitation for some GMs
Miro Aaltonen C/W, 23, 5’10 Vityaz 59-19-25-44
Drafted (6-177/13), but I believe Anaheim’s rights to him expire at the end of the season making him a free agent; I’m assuming his continued time in Europe is a sign of either his disinterest in signing with the Ducks or vice versa; his KHL numbers could be boosted from linemates and his size may cause some hesitation
Jakub Jerabek D, 25, 5’11 Vityaz 59-5-29-34
I identified him a couple of years ago when he was in the Czech league; his size is an issue for the NHL, but he is miles ahead of his blueline teammates in production

Other leagues (Czech, DEL, etc)
It’s very infrequent for players to be signed directly from these leagues–typically a strong performance leads to playing for a better European league and then earning an NHL-contract
Tomas Hyka RW. 23, 5’11 Czech Mlada Boleslav 47-17-21-38
Spent two years in the QMJHL (11-13) and was drafted by Los Angeles (6-171/12), but never signed; he substantially leads his team in scoring and if not signed by an NHL team is likely headed to the KHL
Leo Pfoderl RW/LW. 23, 6’0 DEL Nurnberg 52-22-26-48
Third on his team in scoring and likely helped by talented teammates; more likely to jump to a better paying European league (NLA or KHL)

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

nothing-to-see-here

Before you can explore what the Sens did at the trade deadline you have to ask yourself this question: what is the team trying to achieve?  We know that ownership wants playoff gates above all else, so the mandate for Pierre Dorion is to make the playoffs and go as far as he can.  This eternal pursuit of making the playoffs is the seed of destruction that’s made the Senators the middling team that they are (with Ottawa’s internal budget and the city’s limited attraction for free agents the Cup isn’t realistic).  We don’t have to like (and I don’t) the mandate from ownership, but we have to accept it as the constraint under which a GM operates.  Dorion isn’t permitted to think long-term in the usual way; it’s all about making the playoffs now.  To that end we’ve seen both he and Bryan Murray make innumerable deals where the future is sacrificed for perceived short-term gain (inevitably veteran acquisitions, cf).  These “character” players have given the team…zero second round appearances.  The signing or acquisition of aging veterans since 07-08 has achieved absolutely nothing.  Why Dorion continues acquiring players like this is difficult to comprehend–I can only assume confirmation bias in what he observes elsewhere as well as his own tiny echo chamber makes evolving more or less impossible.

The trend of sacrificing prospects and picks to add older players continued this week, dashing any hopes fans might still have had that Dorion was going to represent a change from Bryan Murray.  Leading off the roster moves was the abysmal trade of prospect Jonathan Dahlen for the antique Alexandre Burrows, followed by picking up Viktor Stalberg and signing Chris DiDomenico (!).  I’d like to credit Dorion for jettisoning Curtis Lazar, but that’s exactly the kind of prospect other old school managers (ahem, Brian Burke) are willing to take chances on, so the only credit Dorion deserves is in understanding Lazar wasn’t going to improve.  As I mentioned on Twitter, these moves specifically reminded me of Murray in 2008 when he was desperately trying to keep open Daniel Alfredsson‘s Cup window by acquiring Mike Commodore and Martin Lapointe (for those who don’t remember, Ottawa was swept in the first round by Pittsburgh and none of the assets stuck around)–much of the rhetoric about Burrows echoes that about Lapointe.

Delving into the trades themselves there’s nothing to get excited about.  On the most basic end of it Burrows isn’t going to help the Sens go on a long playoff run and signing him to an extension is madness (his stats have long been inflated by his teammates; he’ll also be 36 in April in a league where players peak at 27).  The best case scenario is maybe the Sens win a round, Dahlen fails as a prospect, and Burrows finds someone on the Sens roster to boost his performance–that’s the best case scenario.  Another indicator of why this is being derided as a bad move is the reaction within the hockey community–it’s being called Vancouver GM Jim Benning’s best move thus far and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Nichols goes into the trade in great detail (Dorion’s defensiveness about the move is clear and, I think, a reaction to his peers, not the fans).

Stalberg peaked with Chicago in 2012 (I wonder why) and has accomplished very little the last four seasons.  He’s 31 and mercifully the Sens have not extended him, but he’s an even worse player than Burrows (maybe he’s the Oleg Saprykin of the season–Nichols is slightly more optimistic about him than I am).  It seems as though his addition is intended to help the PK, but as a rental that’s not worth the asset (3rd round pick) they gave up for him.

Chris DiDomenico is an interesting move intended for the AHL (if not this season, than next).  The 28-year old former Leaf pick comes off the scrapheap of Langnau in Switzerland (a full breakdown of him is below).  He’s signed to a two year, two-way contract and his AHL history (74-2-15-17) is part of why he easily cleared waivers.  Binghamton seems beyond help for this season, but maybe he’ll do something in Belleville next year.

Finally, Dorion managed to dump first-round bust Curtis Lazar (along with Binghamton blueliner and former Burke player Michael Kostka), in return for a much-needed second round pick and blueline depth in the form of Dallas prospect Jyrki Jokipakka.  The Finnish defender isn’t going to blow anyone away (Nichols reflects on his middling numbers), but with an expiring contract it’s a low risk acquisition required to get rid of Lazar.

At the end of the day the only exciting thing for me is the draft pick, but who knows what the Sens will do with it?  Does it really matter whether Ottawa loses in the first or second round?

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It’s been a couple of weeks since my last Binghamton update.  The team was treading water at that point (their hot streak having cooled) and when you look at their most recent performance (3-5-0, 0.375) the BSens have fully regressed to the mean.  Michael Kostka missed this entire slate of games (he’s out with an eye injury) and has since been traded to Calgary. Kleinendorst continues to juggle the blueline, returning to dressing seven defensemen on Sunday night (26th) to no avail.  Neither ECHL player given PTO’s has helped (Greger Hanson and Mike Cazzola).  In the five-straight losses the offense has largely ground to a halt.  The team has seen a lot of roster chaos, with Andrew Hammond returning (O’Connor sent to the ECHL–for more about that see below), who then got injured, and varying forwards being called up to Ottawa.

The promised a DiDomenico breakdown: C/RW, 6-164/07 (Tor)
10-11 ECHL Toledo 37-9-16-25 (0.67)
11-12 AHL Rockford 49-2-11-13 (0.26)
12-13 Italy Asiago 37-22-38-60
13-14 Italy Asiago 31-24-48-72
14-15 NLB Langnau 46-12-26-38 (0.82)
16-17 NLA Langnau 48-10-28-38 (0.79)

Acquired from Toronto by Chicago as part of the Kris Versteeg-Stalberg trade (a funny connection) in 2010. After failing out of the Blackhawk system he moved on to the Italian league and from there to the NLB and, as Langnau advanced into the NLA, he went with them.  He lead Langnau in scoring this season, albeit he’s second to Rob Schremp in PPG.  When it comes to the overall NLA scoring he clocks in at 30th.  He’s available to the Sens because Langnau failed to make the playoffs and the NLA’s regular season is over.  It’s very difficult to translate European numbers to the AHL, but to draw on an example Binghamton fans will be familiar with: Roman Wick coming off this season 37-15-16-31 (0.83), put up 70-20-22-42 (0.60) in the AHL–take the comparison with a very large grain of salt.

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I posted a full Wichita update not long ago, but it’s worth noting the team broke their 13-game losing streak on February 22nd (only to start a new one immediately afterwards).  The free-falling team is in danger of being caught by both the Indy Fuel and Elmira Jackals (the only ones they are ahead of) and Matt O’Connor‘s brief tenure was not the help they were looking for (0-2-0 4.63 .875, numbers slightly more terrible than Chris Driedger when he was sent down).  There seems to be nothing coach Malcolm Cameron or Thunder GM Joel Lomurno can do to stop the bleeding.

prospects

Grant McCagg has set up a site dedicated to the NHL draft. His lengthy preamble (almost 3,000 words!) is an excellent example of how, in any industry, you need to make connections.  It will be interesting to see what impact Recruites Hockey makes to draft coverage.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)