Senators News & Notes

methot

Marc Methot, just traded to Dallas, has been the subject of a great deal of conversation ever since Las Vegas took him in the Expansion Draft.  There was all sorts of speculation (here as well) that he might be coming back to the team via whomever acquired him. While that possibility remains up in the air, Stefan Wolejszo writes a long overview of Ottawa’s decisions on defense that lead them to this particular predicament. Unlike Stefan I have no emotional attachment to Methot, and don’t think replacing him (or Phaneuf) is particularly difficult (although I don’t think the org will do so effectively), his piece is an interesting and entertaining read.

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Flavour of the month Mike Condon is apparently getting some interest from other teams, but my sentiment about him echoes Nichols (whose link is above)–backup goalies come and go and losing Condon makes no real difference to the Sens going forward. It’s amazing just how many goaltenders the org has fallen in love with only to give up on soon after. Only the Mark Borowiecki‘s of the world can continually fail and be given free passes.

Sermon-on-the-Mount

Nichols writes a lengthy retrospective on the season that covered not just the events of the season but also all the hubbub around it and about it. There’s a lot of thoughtful substance and I recommend reading it in full. I have just a few things I want to highlight:

At their best, these Senators are still a pseudo-contender whose success is predicated more on good luck than it is on innate talent.

This is absolutely the case and what happens when your owner demands the team make the playoffs year after year. That being said, with the management that’s been in place I’m not sure even a good owner could put Ottawa in a position to win a Cup.

As it turns out however, the Senators appear poised to retain Ceci. … For all of Ceci’s physical talents, his hockey IQ and ability to make good decisions under duress leave something to be desired.

However obvious it seems to thoughtful fans that Cody Ceci is not a top-four defenseman, the organisation simply does not see it that way. He’s Jared Cowen all over again–a first-round pick that management is delusional about and won’t cut bait until he’s completely devalued as an asset.

The problems stem from the fact that the Senators boast the smallest hockey operations department in the league and their amateur and professional scouting staffs are proportionately small. … The Senators’ front office hasn’t brought in an outside voice since Eugene Melnyk bought the team in 2003 and in the 14 years since, so the worry is that organization is particular in how it has to operate. … The fear is that this hiring from within cycle simply promotes a culture of yes-men and like-minded individuals who are afraid to voice a different perspective.

It’s painfully clear that the Sens are resistant to new approaches. This is evident in their personnel decisions. If you were to remove the names “Murray” and “Dorion” and then present the moves from the last 10 years to someone unfamiliar with the team, they’d be hard-pressed to see any difference since the transition. Arguably the team became more conservative once Tim Murray left. Just like an addict, they have to be willing to change before change can occur and I’ve seen no sign of that at all. While we can blame re-signing Tom Pyatt on Guy Boucher, Max McCormick is pure org.

Tell Randy Lee to refrain from signing the next Zack Stortini or whatever six-figure veteran shitbag that he wants to bring into the fold in Binghamton.

Lee is one of the major problems in the org. His mindset is stuck in the physicality of the 1980s and the clutch & grab of the 1990s–he wants big, lumbering players to patrol an NHL that doesn’t exist anymore. He’s been a catastrophe at the AHL level, but with no accountability (either from him or for him) he’s free to blunder along.

belleville sens

Sometimes I get to pat myself on the back and today is one of those days.  Among the names including among the Sens qualifying offers was former Calgary second-rounder Patrick Sieloff (picked up in the Alex Chiasson deal–the latter of whom was not qualified by the Flames). I mentioned in my season review that the Sens could do worse than keep him and reiterated it earlier this month. He’s not a remarkable defenseman, but at the AHL-level he’s competent depth.

wikstrand

Another name on the qualified list was Mikael Wikstrand, but before anyone imagines the Swede suiting up for the team this is nothing more than the org making sure he stays buried in Sweden. They did the same thing to Roman WickGeoff Kinrade, and others who dared to jump to Europe. In none of these cases did they do anything useful with the asset so I expect the same here.

prospects

Development Camp begins tomorrow, an event that I used to attend regularly. I’m always interested in who the camp invites are, as the Sens have shown a tendency to later sign them to ATO’s or PTO’s (or more; Matt O’Connor is just one example).  Here they are (I gave their ages by YOB, just fyi):
Hayden Lavigne 21, GL (Michigan, NCAA) 2.92 .912
He split duties with Zach Nagelvoort and Jack LaFontaine after spending his junior career bouncing around the USHL
Charles-David Beaudoin 23, RD (CIS/AHL) CIS/AHL 17-3-6-9/6-0-2-2
Went to the CIS after an unremarkable career in the Q; left early to turn pro and didn’t show much in limited ECHL and AHL duty
T. J. Melancon 21, RD (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) 67-19-25-44
The top-scoring defenseman on his team who also had a good playoff, he’s someone looking for an AHL or ECHL contract
Jordan Murray 25, LD (CIS/AHL) CIS/AHL 30-14-26-40/5-1-1-2
After a decent QMJHL career he spent four full years at the University of New Brunswick before his short audition with Binghamton (somehow earning him a two-year AHL contract)
Brayden Pachal 18, RD (Victoria/Prince Albert, WHL) 65-3-12-15
Eligible for this year’s draft, he’ll get another shot in 2018
Andrew Peski 20, RD (North Dakota, NCAA) 29-0-3-3
A decent CCHL career turned into a lousy USHL season with not much different in college
Michael Babcock 22, RW (Merrimack, NCAA) 36-5-4-9
Son of the coach; an unremarkable player at all levels; he was at the camp last year
Matteo Gennaro 20, CL (Calgary, WHL) 69-43-37-80
Former Winnipeg pick (7-203/15), he’s looking for a pro contract after impressively leading the Hitmen in scoring
Jake Gaudet 21, CL (Kemptville, CCHL) 31-12-19-31
Finished his CCHL career with a commitment to UMass; he was the fifth most productive player on Kemptville so I wouldn’t expect much
Kelly Parker 18, CL (Prince Albert, WHL) 72-21-22-43
Draft eligible this year, he’ll be looking to improve his stock for 2018
Cole Maier 22, CR (Union College, NCAA) 38-15-10-25
Went from US High School to the BCHL before reaching the NCAA; he finished fifth in scoring on his team
Nick Master 22, CL (U-Mass, NCAA) 40-4-11-15
A middling USHL player who had a down year after his freshman season
Carl Persson 22, CL (Karlskoga, Allsvenskan) 51-26-18-44
Struggling the previous two seasons he had an excellent year riding shotgun with FA signee Victor Ejdsell and former ECHLer Alex Lavoie; he’s signed with Karlskrona in the SHL for the upcoming year; I don’t recall a Swedish player ever coming to development camp who wasn’t drafted, so I’m not sure the circumstances behind this
Jack Rodewald 23, RW (AHL) 66-18-9-27
WHL grad was actually a Toronto signing who came over with the general detritus in the Phaneuf trade; played his way out of the ECHL early last season, but his production crashed quickly and he’s very much on the bubble to earn himself an AHL-deal
Jordan Topping 20, LW (Tri-City/WHL) 43-28-25-53
Draft eligible player will be looking to to get picked next year

There is an astonishing number of righthanded blueliners above (four!), suggesting the org wants to supplement what they have in their system. The other player that stands out is Perrson, primarily because I can’t recall the Sens ever having an undrafted Swede (or someone from a European league) show up to their development camp.

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Derek Ryan (CIS) needs to be added to the list of undrafted success stories.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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