Senators News & Notes

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The Sens have removed 1,500 seats from their arena in a curious move to battle perception. This is an interesting decision and I wanted to look at a couple of quotes before drawing my own conclusions:

If you’ve got less product to sell, it’s easier to sell … When your season ticket base is so small, you’ve got so many single tickets to sell and it’s just difficult to do

That curious logic comes from Sens president Tom Anselmi (scarcity boosts the price of things people want, not the other way around). Ian Mendes (whose piece I’m using) adds:

Some estimates pegged the number at fewer than 8,000 season ticket holders last season

To me what’s interesting is the Sens inability to excite the marketplace. Ten years ago the Sens had over 13,500 season ticket holders, but the policy of marketing “win win win” has seen both that base and attendance drop. Whatever you think the “norm” for season tickets in the city is (11k? 12k?) the ownership and management are unwilling or unable to persuade them. It’s an honest admission to how out of touch the org is with fans, but also illustrates a stubborn refusal to try anything different. The problem can be traced to Melnyk’s financial need to push for the playoffs each season, which feeds into the internal budget; his unwillingness to dynamically change his front office is more about poor decision making. Not even the miracle playoff run this past season has turned off fan cynicism (despite cheerleading from some). Management and ownership have left fans in the paralyzed situation where every season is dictated by the health and performance of one player (having lost the man who picked him, Anders Forsberg, way back in 2010–Tim Murray scooped him up for Buffalo a few years ago). So will the move actually change perception? It’s doubtful.

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The Sens signed Chris VandeVelde to a PTO. The 30-year old forward played with the hapless Flyers last year, but doesn’t have good numbers are either the NHL or AHL level. I think there’s no chance the Sens sign him. Off the top of my head I can’t remember this management group ever signing a PTO to an NHL contract, but I could be forgetting someone.

Speaking of tryouts, Pius Suter has made it to main camp. The Swiss FA isn’t guaranteed anything, but it’s a compliment to him to move forward from the rookie tournament (it’s hard not to think he was promised this in order to miss the start of ZSC’s season).

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Matt Tidcombe writes a piece on Jordan Murray (who signed to a two-year AHL deal) which goes into the factors that made him attractive to the org:

two USports national titles in back-to-back years … he won also won back-to-back USports Defenceman of the Year awards while also making three straight USports All-Canadian First Teams, among numerous other accolades.

Canadian University is not a strong development league, but players occasionally do come out of it (Joel Ward among others). Whether signing the 24 year old to an extended deal is worth it for Belleville remains to be seen.

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Wichita signed two players: former Montreal pick and NCAA grad Mark MacMillan (4-113/10), who spent the past two seasons struggling with St. John’s in the AHL; as well as undrafted QMJHL defenseman and pugilist Samuel Thibault (10 career goals, 8 career fights). ECHL rosters tend to get overstuffed to begin with so a number of these players will be shuffled off to the SPHL or FHL.

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Even this late in the game the FA signings continue, as the Flyers signed undersized QMJHLer Ivan Kosorenkov (who sailed through the last two drafts–I had him listed in the fourth round this year, but didn’t list him in 2016–ISS, who did, thought he was a third-round pick). He’s the seventh CHL FA signed this off-season.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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