Senators News & Notes

prospects

Ottawa released it’s rookie tournament roster and as always, I’m interested in who is participating that’s not already part of the organisation. Much like the development camp we have an unusual European participant who I’ll look at below (in the former case, Carl Persson’s development camp audition lead to nothing); a number of players from that camp are included on the roster (noted with an asterix):
*Charles-David Beaudoin 23, RD (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
Bobby Dow 18, RW (Kemptville, CCHL) 53-24-35-59
Draft eligible this year, he’ll be looking to improve his stock for 2018
*Matteo Gennaro 20, CL (Calgary, WHL) 69-43-37-80
Former Winnipeg pick (7-203/15), he’s looking for a pro contract after leading the Hitmen in scoring
*Parker Kelly 18, CL (Prince Albert, WHL) 72-21-22-43
Draft eligible this year, he’ll be looking to improve his stock for 2018; inexplicably I reversed his names in my development camp piece
Pius Suter 21, C/LW (ZSC, NLA) 38-17-11-28
Played with former Sens prospect Roman Wick (as well as Ryan Shannon and I-could-have-been-Tarasenko David Rundblad); he was expected to be picked in the 2015 draft (I had him slotted in the fourth round), but size scared off GM’s; I wrote a full profile of him in case the Sens pull the trigger and sign him
*Jordan Topping 20, LW (Tri-City/WHL) 43-28-25-53
Draft eligible player looking to to get picked next year

The Silver Seven’s Countdown completes below. As per last time I’ll ignore the lack of rationale for how players are being compared:

#9 Filip Chlapik (Colin)
CL, 20, 2-48/15, QMJHL 57-34-57-91 (2nd in ppg)
This is a good review from Colin, who takes note of his reliance on Daniel Sprong as well as providing good statistical analysis–something woefully lacking in most of the previous posts. Where I differ is in Colin’s assumption he’ll get top-six minutes–given the crowd of middling free agents Randy Lee stuffed into the lineup I think he’s more likely to start as a third-liner (as I mentioned in my early look at Belleville’s roster). When he was drafted the primary concern was his skating (“Kid has bad boots”), with an NHL upside as a third-line player who can kill penalties and see spot duty on the second powerplay unit.

#8 Francis Perron (Raaymakers)
LW/RW, 21, 7-190/14, AHL 68-6-20-26 (11th in ppg)
A lot of optimism from the optimistic Raaymakers, despite Perron’s lackluster rookie season (happily he includes some statistical data). The comparison is made to Mike Hoffman, who also had an underwhelming rookie season (albeit buried behind a talented, Calder Cup winning lineup). I agree with being patient here and I’m not alarmed at his rookie struggles (as I mentioned in my season review), but I think Raaymakers’ notion that he’ll be called up this season is very unlikely. Just like Chlapik above I suspect Perron will get buried on the third line because of Lee’s various FA signings–performance and injuries could see that change, naturally.

#7 Marcus Hogberg (Ary M)
GL, 22-23, 3-78/13, SHL 1.89 .932
Ary’s profile of him is excellent (you can read what scouts said before the draft here). An important thing he points out is:

The Sens seem to subscribe to a development model where they don’t really care where a prospect plays, once they’re getting top minutes

This seems largely the case (although it does not apply to Gabriel Gagne or certain prospects in the AHL–like Cody Ceci or Curtis Lazar–three examples that have failed so badly you’d think they’d learn the lesson). Going back to Hogberg, he is an excellent prospect with great tools and despite the org talking about “competition” to backup Danny Taylor there’s no question that Hogberg will be given that opportunity out of the gate. Whether Driedger can push him out will be down to performance, as Kleinendorst showed his patience with org ideas is about seven weeks (that’s when he benched Zack Stortini, yet another Randy Lee favourite).

#6 Logan Brown (Callum)
CL, 19, 1-11/16, OHL 35-14-26-40 (2nd ppg)
This might be the least substantial piece of the series, which is surprising given the kind of prospect Brown is. Ottawa traded two picks to the Devils to ensure they landed Brown (Jersey picked Michael McLeod and Brandon Gignac)–trades for tall players with New Jersey are a Pierre Dorion special (eg Gabriel Gagne). Despite missing a lot of time Brown finished just behind teammate (and 2017 first-rounder) Gabriel Vildardi in scoring. He had a small slip in production, but there’s no cause for concern. Scouts see him as a playmaking, second-line center. He’ll spend this year demolishing the OHL.

#5 Cody Ceci (Beata)
DR, 23-24, 1-15/12, NHL 79-2-15-17 (does not compute)
While I’m aware this is a list based on age, it feels strange lumping Ceci into what is mostly a list of prospects. There are mountains of data on the failed first-rounder and at this point those looking for improvement (including the org) have entered the religious side of things. If Ceci was a goaltender I’d say there’s still a chance for things to radically improve, but the clock is one-second to midnight for the defender. Even fans who pay no attention to stats understand he’s underwhelming and for the org (always stubborn in admitting the obvious, cf Jared Cowen) this is probably a make-or-break season for him.

#4 Fredrik Claesson (Trevor)
DL, 24-25, 5-126/11, NHL 33-3-8-11 (sample size throws off comparison)
Everyone loves Freddy. How can you not? He’s gregarious and a hard worker. Trevor rightly points out that Freddy struggled with Binghamton the previous season–the dark days of Luke Richardson were not kind to him and the normally reliable Claesson shared the struggles of his teammates. Despite being smaller than the Sens typically like their defenseman, Claesson has always been an intense, physical player who is defensively responsible. Trevor (forgiving the small sample size) illustrates that Freddy compares well to other second-pairing players. Can Freddy live up to the hype? This season should give us the kind of sample size that will be telling.

#3 Colin White (Colin)
C/RW, 20, 1-21/15, NCAA 35-16-17-33 (1st ppg)
There’s a lot of good things in Colin’s piece, but the ceiling he suggests does not match the scouting consensus and I think fans need to temper their offensive expectations for him. Scouts questioned his ability to score at the NHL level, although his defensive play was praised when he was drafted (two scouting orgs topped him out as a third liner, although one did compare him to Patrice Bergeron). I hope he spends most or all of this season in Belleville where he can round out his game and we’ll get a better sense of his offensive potential, but having pointlessly blown a year of his ELC the Sens are likely to have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to call-ups.

#2 Jean-Gabriel Pageau (BLT)
C/RW, 24-25, NHL 82-12-21-33
Another established NHL player where there really aren’t many mysteries–that reality is reflected by the brief post about him. I like JGP–the question with him is how good is he when he isn’t carrying around dead weight like Tom Pyatt? Maybe this is the season we get to find out given Brassard’s injury.

#1 Thomas Chabot (Ary M)
DL, 20, QMJHL 34-10-25-35 (1st d, 3rd team ppg)
Ary does a great job in his look at Chabot, but he doesn’t mention the Sens’ boondoggles in handling him this past season–pointlessly keeping him in Ottawa at the start of the year without playing him before eventually sending him to the Q, and then not understanding the rules for recalling him when they wanted him back late in the season. Despite that he had a great year in the CHL and expectations are boiling over amongst the fanbase. Ary discusses the pros and cons of where to play Chabot (NHL or AHL), but thankfully I think the Sens have painted themselves into a corner with one-way contracts such that they can’t go full Cody Ceci and rush him into the NHL. While the org (and some fans) might think another miracle playoff run is in the cards, I do not, and the best thing for the team’s top prospect is to get his feet wet in the AHL. Ary points out that the Sens hired Chabot’s coach from Saint John (Paul Boutilier) to be an assistant in Belleville and that’s a clear signal they want him to continue to work with Chabot (my brain apparently skipped over Steve Stirling getting booted into a scouting position in June).

Here’s how The Silver Seven‘s list goes (their ages in brackets as well as their expected league this year):
1. Thomas Chabot (20) AHL/NHL
2. Jean-Gabriel Pageau (24-25) NHL
3. Colin White (20) AHL/NHL
4. Fredrik Claesson (24-25) NHL
5. Cody Ceci (23) NHL
6. Logan Brown (19) OHL
7. Marcus Hogberg (22-23) AHL/ECHL
8. Francis Perron (21) AHL
9. Filip Chlapik (20) AHL
10. Ben Harpur (22) AHL
11. Nick Paul (22) AHL
12. Christian Jaros (21) AHL
13. Andreas Englund (21) AHL
14. Shane Bowers (18) NCAA
15. Maxime Lajoie (19-20) WHL
16. Filip Ahl (20) SHL
17. Chris Driedger (23) ECHL/AHL
18. Gabriel Gagne (20-21) AHL
19. Alex Formenton (17) OHL
20. Christian Wolanin (22) NCAA
21. Drake Batherson (19) QMJHL
22. Cody Donaghey (21) AHL/ECHL
23. Markus Nurmi (19) Liiga
24. Kelly Summers (21) NCAA
25. Macoy Erkamps (22) AHL

Not making the cut are Vincent Dunn (21-22, ECHL), Shane Eiserman (21, NCAA), Jordan Hollett (18, WHL), Todd Burgess (21, NCAA), Joel Daccord (21, NCAA), Miles Gendron (21, NCAA), and Patrick Sieloff (23, AHL). Of these seven players I think Gendron should have been on the list, but otherwise those that remain are either terrible (Dunn) or there’s just not enough data (Burgess and Hollett).

What sort of list would I have? I’d make it a prospect only list–established NHLers should, in my mind, be compared to other established NHLers. Secondly I’d make the point of the list to be based on potential–who could be the best player among the prospects, rather than who is comparatively the best at the moment (this also brings up what’s valued most–for me it’s puck possession and offense). I’d also put a stronger emphasis on the commonalities from scouting rather than picking one or two to quote from, as well as having a more consistent statistical element for each entry (some blurbs have virtually no stats at all, while others are very thorough). Ultimately things like this are just a way to kill a long and generally quiet summer  and in that light, it’s been entertaining.

So what’s my list? Briefly (using best-case projections via the scouting consensus–tempered by subsequent performance–for those with similar projections they are listed in order of the most likely first):
1. Thomas Chabot (2 D who can play PP/PK)
2. Logan Brown (2nd liner who can play on the 1st PP )
3. Colin White (2nd liner who can play on the 1st PK)
4. Marcus Hogberg (starter)
5. Christian Wolanin (4 D and 2nd PP)
6. Filip Chlapik (3rd line, 1st PK, 2nd PP)
7. Francis Perron (3rd line, 2nd PP)
8. Nick Paul (3rd line, 2nd PP)
9. Drake Batherson (3rd line, 2nd PP)
10. Gabriel Gagne (3rd line, 2nd PP)
11. Shane Bowers (3rd line, 1st PK)
12. Alex Formenton (3rd line)
13. Markus Nurmi (3rd line)
14. Filip Ahl (3rd line)
15. Todd Burgess (3rd line)
16. Miles Gendron (5 D, 2nd PP)
17. Cody Donaghey (5 D, 2nd PP)
18. Ben Harpur (5 D, 1st PK)
19. Christian Jaros (5 D, 1st PK)
20. Andreas Englund (5 D, 1st PK)
21. Maxime Lajoie (5 D)
22. Chris Driedger (backup)
23. Jordan Hollett (backup)
24. Kelly Summers (6 D)
25. Macoy Erkamps (6 D)

Listing in this way does give younger, less proven players a higher ranking, but again my interest is in potential.
echl

It has been awhile since I updated the Sens ECHL “partner”–the place where at least one of the org’s goaltenders will be going (Edmonton will be contributing five players). Since then Wichita has signed a goaltender along with two additional defensemen and forwards:
Joel Rumpel (G) ECHL 2.96 .919 – only played nine games last season with Cincinnati; the NCAA grad is in his third pro season without fully establishing himself (he’s won two Kelly Cups…but as a backup)
Guillaume Lepine (DL) AHL 54-1-2-3 – Randy Lee favourite (surely he made a phone call to encourage the signing), he spent two and a half seasons blundering around Binghamton’s blueline before Kleinendorst finally benched him; he’s mercifully off Belleville’s roster as he’s been signed as a player/coach
Alex Barron (DR) France 44-3-26-29 – an unremarkable NCAA player, I’m not sure being the seventh most productive blueliner in the French league means much of anything
Gerrad Grant (LW) ECHL 67-6-14-20 – former QMJHL player spent five years at Saint Mary’s University where he put up unremarkable numbers–he played with Wichita this past season
Matt Tipoff (C/LW) EIHL 47-11-21-32 – former OHL player also spent five years at Saint Mary’s before spending a year in the UK league (he’s the third on the roster with a Saint Mary’s connection); he had better numbers than Grant so seems like a safer risk (his signing seems heavily based on teammate and coach recommendations)

Free_Agent_logo_2

New Jersey signed NCAA free agent Will Butcher–he was drafted by Colorado (5-123/13), but didn’t sign with them.  This puts the NCAA FA tally at 24 coming into this season (vs 21 from Europe).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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