Senators News & Notes

matt o'connor

I’ve been beavering away at my NHL draft piece for quite some assuming that we wouldn’t get much Sens news until after the Expansion Draft.  How wrong I was.  While all the recent news was expected on some level, it remains significant:
Dion Phaneuf was asked to waive his NMC for the Expansion Draft and refused (this doesn’t mean the Sens couldn’t try to move him, but with his contract, even if they wanted too, good luck)
Erik Karlsson will miss 4 months after undergoing foot surgery (as Nichols points out, this is the second surgery announced after Pierre Dorion told us no one would need surgery)
Chris Neil was told his services are no longer required (in my opinion this is less a management decision and more Guy Boucher letting management know he wasn’t going to play him)
-The Sens did not qualify goaltender Matt O’Connor (something I’ve anticipated repeatedly, most recently here); he becomes the tenth straight NCAA FA dud going back to 2007; this suggests we can expect Chris Driedger and Marcus Hogberg to be the tandem in Belleville
[-late add: Ryan Rupert was also not qualified, which is as I expected]


Speaking of the draft, Ary M and Colin Cudmore have begun a series of articles looking at what the Sens might do at the draft (this is the first).  The player selection they present is pretty reasonable abstractly, but in detail I have one major problem with most of them: size.  The Sens have tenaciously valued size throughout drafts going back to Bryan Murray and while there have been exceptions they are few and far between.  The pair list 5’10 Aleski Heponiemi, 5’10 Joni Ikonen (I’ve seen him listed at 5’11, incidentally), 5’10 Antoine Morand, 6’1 Jason Robertson, and 5’8 (!) Kailer Yamamoto.  In addition to the size concern, the org has drafted exactly one Finn since 2005, so while it’s not impossible, it does make it more unlikely.


Larry Brooks penned a piece about NHL labour negotiation, but for me the most interesting part of the article is this:

The NHL will have done that by generating essentially no revenue growth over the past year.

Other than the Vegas expansion fee the NHL has not grown this season at all.  This is not a surprise to me (ie the piece I wrote about the aging fanbase for sports in general), but it’s another indicator that the ultra conservative NHL cannot figure out that for the sport to grow it actually has to take steps to increase scoring.  It also needs a better superstar to promote than Sidney Crosby (has any league has had a less less appealing star than Crosby?–twelve years of heavy marketing and he can’t draw numbers outside of Pittsburgh).


Stefan Wolejszo writes a long (long) piece trying to see if there’s substance behind defining a clutch player, concluding:

even if you could miraculously isolate one player’s clutchiness based on in-game event data I still think doing so largely misses the point in at least two important ways. First, the “elevating performance” standard is largely a crock. Considering the negative potential impact of pressure on performance I would be thrilled to have players on my team who can simply maintain their usual standard of play when pressure begins to mount. Second, the biggest bang for the buck for hockey teams is probably identifying who chokers are and figuring out interventions that can help those players.


This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


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