Senators News & Notes

bush mission

There’s no doubt relief from Sens management as Eugene Melnyk squeezes a few more playoff gates out of the franchise.  As happy as I am with Ottawa’s win over Boston (for the record I picked the Bruins, but I’m happy to be wrong), their defense-first, no attacking if you have the lead approach is worrisome.  A few thoughts:
Erik Karlsson was dominant while fighting through injury–can he carry the team further?  It’ll be fun finding out
-it’s a feel-good story for Bobby Ryan to produce, but I’ll echo Nichols‘ in saying this is about the only way the Sens can ever move his horrendous contract
-it was a good series for Derick Brassard (Karlsson ripping him a new one aside–and yes, I’ve seen that questioned, but it’s funnier this way), albeit he needs to keep it up against the Rangers
-I was glad the Chris Kelly experiment lasted just one game–I hope Tommy Wingels has a similar lifespan in the lineup (give me Colin White!)
-the fates intervened to save us from Mark Borowiecki, but the Sens blueline remains problematic any time Karlsson is off the ice
Alex Burrows was invisible
Callum Fraser-favourite Zack Smith added an assist to his good-in-the-corners playoff totals (32-1-3-4)
My final thoughts?  The Sens spend too much time playing not to lose–it doesn’t bode well, but the Rangers are a beatable opponent.

murray-bryan-00495982

Buffalo fired Tim Murray (yes that’s Bryan above, but probably his expression when he heard), along with former Sens scouts Greg Royce, Rob Murphy, and “I owe my career to Sidney Crosby” coach Dan Bylsma.  There was immediate speculation that Tim would be back with the Sens, but whether there’s bad blood with Pierre Dorion or not, I don’t think Melnyk would be willing to spend the money to hire him.

freeagent

 

This is largely a rant about the Sens’ inadequate scouting–their mindnumbing focus on NCAA and CHL free agents to no effect.  Here are a couple of examples from the playoffs I want to point out:
-anyone could have drafted Viktor Arvidsson, but he kept being passed over because he was “too small” (Nashville picked him when he was 21); the Sens are notorious for favouring big players and you look at a guy who scored 30 goals in the regular season and a point-per-game in the playoffs you just shake your head
-the San Jose Sharks are one of the only teams that makes a point of signing free agents out of Europe–searching not for superstars but for quality depth players; in doing so they’ve discovered Melker Karlsson (signed when he was 23), Joonas Donskoi (drafted by Florida but never signed, also signed at 23), and Sens-pick Marcus Sorensen (signed at 24)
The point here isn’t that European leagues produce players that are inherently better, but that the NCAA (and CHL) are more heavily scouted and picked over–there’s much heavier competition for those players and the results aren’t tangibly better.  Why not invest a few dollars in pro scouting the SHL and other leagues?  This does not mean randomly signing players (as the Devils seem to do–picking up defenseman Yaroslav Dyblenko from the KHL, whose accomplishment is that he played for the WJC team back in 12-13, is up there with their inexplicably Sergei Kalinin signing–another WJC grad, incidentally).  I know the reason is money, but the investment cost is really quite small and for a team that’s struggling for depth throughout the organisation it would be well worth it (not that I expect it).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens

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