Senators News & Notes

wtf

I fired up the Nichols stenography machine to work through Pierre Dorion’s season-ending media scrum and from it I picked my own highlights:
-I don’t think there’s any evidence that having a young player like Colin White sit in the pressbox for a playoff run has any impact on their future; it’s a bit like the belief that winning a championship leads to more winning–it’s a lovely sentiment, but it’s an article of faith rather than something you can actually demonstrate
-Dorion aggressively asserting that the team will protect Craig Anderson in the expansion draft is so ridiculous it boggles the mind–what other goaltender is there to protect?  While the clock is ticking on the 36-year old, there’s not even a stable backup option to him right now (everyone has given up on Andrew Hammond, I don’t believe in FA Mike Condon or RFA Matt O’Connor, and neither Chris Driedger nor rookie Marcus Hogberg are anywhere near ready, so yes Pierre, water is wet!  You’ll protect your only goaltender!)  I fear that Nichols is prescient when he says:

Ideally, a player like a Marcus Hogberg can elevate his game and become a factor, but the Senators may have to look at the draft or outside the organization to address this position

The Sens have been incredibly impatient with goaltenders and are far more likely to make a trade for someone they feel is further along than wait for the normal development curve
-if Bryan Murray was still GM Chris Neil would be retained without question–Murray is immensely sentimental and attached to his veterans–it remains to be seen if that’s Dorion’s feeling as well (signing a broken down Chris Kelly in the off-season certainly signals he might be)
-there’s not much to say about Dorion blowing smoke up Max McCormick‘s behind, even though he’s already peaked as a player; Nick Paul, while improving last season, got a mention largely because the press knows who he is and no other forward prospect could possibly be considered; Dorion pumping Harpur‘s tires goes back to when he was drafted (he’s big!) and despite improving he needs more time in the AHL; Chabot…it’s hard to say if he can directly make the jump (although if you believe the hyperbole Dorion certainly thinks so)
-Nichols is exactly right that Dorion will try to maintain most of the roster, convinced that the run this year is confirmation that he’s making the right moves (as opposed to benefiting from fortunate circumstances)–the overhaul Nichols wants is unlikely to occur

I’d hate to see the Senators romanticize this playoff run and the results believing that their situation can replicate itself across subsequent seasons

I think this is exactly what the org will do–it’s certainly what Bryan Murray would–but I’ll hope to be wrong
-Dorion doesn’t appreciate the irony when he says:

As much as we could probably trade Chabot for a lot of good players, but probably the players that we could get for him, probably the impact wouldn’t be as good as some of the players that we already have here. Sometimes you always think the grass is greener on the other side, but sometimes people don’t respect what you have here

The Sens can’t wait to trade away promising prospects for veterans who they think will help them now.  That lack of patience stretches all the way back into the Muckler regime and while sometimes they get away with it, in real terms it’s never truly paid off for them–zero Cup appearances in ten years and missing the playoffs four times.

Overall there was nothing surprising from Dorion.  We can still hope for positive changes and some luck with the expansion draft, but it’s more than likely next season starts with a roster with the same handicaps as the current one.

Free_Agent_logo_2

I neglected to write about the Leafs signing Miro Aaltonen (in March, despite Tweeting about it), whom I identified in my list of potential European Free Agents.  He was an Anaheim pick in 2013 (6-177), but either he or the Ducks weren’t interested in signing and Toronto signed him from Vityaz Podolsk (a teammate of former Sens prospect Alexander Nikulin, incidentally).  Similarly, I Tweeted rather than wrote about Czech defenseman Jakub Jerabek getting picked up by the Montreal Canadians in May (he also had a strong season with Vityaz).  Undersized by NHL standards (5’11), he’s been on my radar since 2015.  Swedish defenseman Oscar Fantenberg (on my radar since 2012) was signed by LA after a solid season with HK Sochi (KHL).  San Jose signed Czech defender Radim Simek (never ranked when draft-eligible); Arizona signed former Flyer draft pick (5-122/07) Mario Kempe (the Swede was playing in the KHL); Rangers signed KHL defenseman Alexei Bereglazov (I had him slatted as a late pick in 2012 on the strength of Corey Pronman and RLR, but at the time he had no interest in playing in North America and has since been unremarkable in the KHL).

Dissecting the EU FA’s that have been signed so far (17) there’s a clear preference in position:
Forwards (6): Aaltonen (Tor), Sandberg (SJ), Ejdsell (Nsh), Shipachyov (Veg), Kampf (Chi), Kempe (Ari)
Defensemen (10): Antipin (Buf), Holm (Van), Sulak (Det), Rosen (Tor), Borgman (Tor), Dyblenko (NJ), Simek (SJ), Bereglazov (NYR), Fantenberg (LA), Jerabek (Mtl)
Goaltenders (1): Machovksy (Det)

The preference for blueliners is clear–the number of forwards signed is on par with what I’m used too, but this is a huge increase in defensemen.  How much the top-performing EU blueliners (Karlsson, Hedman, Josi, Klingberg, etc) have to do with the trend I’m not sure–it might also be related to how many NCAA busts there have been–the push to sign college FA’s is nowhere near as strong as it was five years ago. Another change is how many players are being signed out of the KHL (formerly a difficult proposition): 8 of the 17 players come from that league (there’s also 5 from the SHL, 3 from the Czech league, and 1 from the Finnish Liiga).

senshirp-simple6

This isn’t about SensChirp, but he serves as the Mount Rushmore of generic Sens sites.  I stumbled across a Sens blog I’d never heard of, The System, which I assumed would be about prospects and the AHL, but scrolling through it’s a carbon copy of virtually every other Sens site (which might be why there haven’t been any posts since March, despite all the playoff excitement).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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