Belleville Senators: Assessing the Players (November)

Another month is in the books for the BSens, so it’s time to take a look at performances through November (I’ll do team stuff separately). For the October review, go here.

Before I get into individual breakdowns, here’s the leaderboard for points-per-game and shots-per-game (with a minimum of 5 games played):
Points-Per-Game
Rodewald 1.00
O’Brien 0.63
Chlapik/Perron/McCormick 0.61
Reinhart/Werek 0.53
Chabot 0.50

Even Strength PPG (minus empty-netters)
Rodewald 0.85
Perron/Werek 0.53
Chlapik 0.46
O’Brien 0.45
Murray 0.41

Powerplay Point Leaders
McCormick 3
O’Brien/Chlapik/Chabot/Gagne 2

Shots-Per-Game
O’Brien 3.09
Chabot 2.75
Gagne 2.69
White 2.53
McCormick 2.3

Players below are arranged by points-per-game (with the previous month’s noted in brackets). Acronyms: PPP=powerplay points, SHP= shorthanded points [there were none in November], ENP=empty-net points, SHPG= shots per game, vet=veteran contract status; career=PPG before this season

Ben Harpur 1-1-1-2 2.0 (0.00) SHPG 2.0
Contract: 17-18; 3rd pro season; career 0.30; last season 0.42
A Jekyll and Hyde ELC his first two years, where he didn’t look like even an AHL player his rookie season and then seemed reasonably effective last year. Coming off injury he was atrocious in his Belleville debut, but in his solitary November game he was fine. Boucher is a big fan so I think the BSens are safe from seeing him play 30 minutes a night for awhile.

Jack Rodewald 7-2-5-7 1.0 (0.80) ENP 1 SHPG 1.71
Contract: 18-19; 3rd pro season; career 0.35; last season 0.41
An undrafted WHLer, he was signed by Toronto, but couldn’t crack a talented Marlies lineup. The BSens picked him up as part of the general detritus shipped in the Dion Phaneuf trade, but an early hot streak last season saw him stick around and in the off-season earn a 2-year AHL deal. Since then the org has seen enough to rip up that deal and sign him to a 2-year ELC and brought him up to Ottawa for a considerable amount of time (he played in four games). As nice as his numbers look it’s important to note that he had a four-point game, meaning his production wasn’t quite as regular as it appears (that’s a minor caveat at this point however, as he’s having a strong season).

Maxime Lajoie 3-0-2-2 0.66 (0.33) PPP 1 SHPG 0.66 ECHL 1-0-0-0
Contract: 19-20; rookie; last season 0.61 (WHL)
Missed a lot of the month with a foot injury and that absence was heavily felt. While there’s plenty of room for growth in his game, he’s one of the safest passers on the blueline and, along with Chabot, about the only defenseman who can consistently set-up point shots for others.

Jim O’Brien 11-6-1-7 0.63 (0.33) PPP 2 SHPG 3.09
Contract: 17-18 (AHL); 9th pro season (vet); career 0.55; last season 0.45
Former first-round bust for the Sens (drafted in DiDomenico’s year), he’s spent the last three seasons drifting about the hockey world–an aborted KHL attempt that brought him to Hershey, then New Jersey signed him, and finally San Antonio. His numbers have declined precipitously the previous two seasons and no one should expect O’Brien to put significant totals. Kleinendorst coached him previously (10-12) and that familiarity has seen him play O’Brien far too much. He has good speed, is solid defensively and has a decent shot, but he can’t distribute the puck and doesn’t make players around him better.

Filip Chlapik 13-2-6-8 0.61 (0.63) PPP 2 SHPG 1.15
Contract: 19-20; rookie; last season 1.59 (QMJHL)
After a promising start he’s been getting jerked around by the coaching staff–played all over the lineup–and despite it all he’s remained quite consistent in his production. The biggest impact of him playing less is fewer shots on goal and, should it continue, his points will eventually drift downward.

Francis Perron 13-2-6-8 0.61 (0.43) PPP 1 SHPG 1.61
Contract: 18-19; 2nd pro season; last season 0.38
Offensively gifted, I don’t know what his AHL-ceiling is, but despite being buried on the third-line his numbers are back around where you’d expect them in his sophomore season. While Kleinendorst doesn’t trust him enough for top-six playing time, he spent the month experimenting with him on special teams–a lot of PK time (to mixed results) and a lot of second-unit PP time (to mixed results). Finding the right linemates for him has proven a major problem.

Max McCormick 13-2-6-8 0.61 (0.43) PPP 3 ENP 1 SHPG 2.3
Contract: 17-18; 4th pro season; career 0.42; last season 0.54
I’m pretty sure Randy Lee has his poster over his bed–plays far, far too much for a player with his limitations. Given top 5-on-5 minutes and top-PP time, his production has not increased commensurately, and yet this has had no impact on how he’s being utilized. He’s a very good third liner and a decent second line player at this level, but has no business on the top line (or top PP).

Max Reinhart 13-4-3-7 0.53 (0.25) PPP 1 ENP 1 SHPG 1.84
Contract: 17-18; 6th pro season (vet); career 0.59; last season 0.44 (DEL)
Former Calgary pick (3-64/10) and son of former NHLer Paul, he failed out of Calgary, had a middling season with Milwaukee, and then a disastrous season in Germany. After an underwhelming start to the season a few points seems to have prompted an overreaction from the coaching staff who are forcing him into a scoring role he’s really not suited for (he’s more of a third-line, second-PP unit kind of guy). Doesn’t really distribute or carry the puck, so needs linemates who can do that for him.

Ethan Werek 13-3-4-7 0.53 (1.00) SHPG 1.84
Contract: 17-18 (AHL); 7th pro season (vet); career 0.36; last season 0.49
A second-round pick by the Rangers (2-47/09), the former OHLer was traded to Arizona (during the happy days of Don Maloney’s tenure as GM), where he failed to establish himself. Stops in Providence, Charlotte, and Texas proved he has enough talent to hang around the AHL, but not beyond that. Initially signed to a PTO after not making the team, he got off to a hot start, but the moment he started regressing to the mean his ice-time was cut. Despite that, the team signed him to an AHL-deal and, frankly, they need his offense and to use him better.

Thomas Chabot 8-1-3-4 0.50 (0.60) PPP 2 SHPG 2.75
Contract: 19-20; rookie; last season 1.32 (QMJHL)
Has played well, but November wasn’t as kind as October. A lot of that has to do with his partners in my opinion, as well as the bizarre first PP units he’s been put on. Currently in Ottawa, given Boucher’s eccentricity I won’t be surprised if he’s returned.

Gabriel Gagne 13-5-1-6 0.46 (0.44) PPP 2 SHPG 2.69
Contract: 18-19; 2nd pro season; last season 0.14
At the start of the season he barely played and saw virtually no powerplay time. In November he’s played an absolute ton, but with roughly the same level of production. The issue is less about his limitations and more about the limitations of his linemates.

Colin White 13-3-3-6 0.46 (n/a) SHPG 2.53
Contract: 18-19; 1st pro season; last season (NCAA) 0.94
The Sens unwisely burned a year of his ELC last season for no real reason. This year he was injured throughout October and his first month with the BSens has been a disappointment–despite an abundance of skill these are poor numbers (with no points amidst considerable PP time). Much of this struggle is down to linemates.

Jordan Murray 12-3-2-5 0.41 (0.33) SHPG 1.66 ECHL 1-1-0-1
Contract: 18-19 (AHL); rookie; last season 1.33 (CIS)
Undrafted QMJHLer spent four years in Canadian University before a 5-game audition earned him a two-year (AHL) contract with the org. Does one game make a season? He has the team’s only hat-trick this season (including an OT winner), but if you slice out that game he’s just 11-0-2-2 (0.18) for the month and not been impressive. As an offensive player he’s been a detriment on the PP–right now I’d rather have Erkamps playing in the six spot, but the coaching staff still has visions of that one game dancing in their heads.

Daniel Ciampini 10-1-2-3 0.30 (0.43) SHPG 1.0
Contract: 17-18 (AHL); 3rd pro season; career 0.25; last season 1.00 (ECHL)
Undrafted collegiate signed with Worcester after college, but couldn’t stick with the org and spent time with Rockford and Ontario subsequently (largely in their ECHL affiliates). He was a late signing by the BSens to add some forward depth and was initially loaned to Brampton, but a shortage in forwards meant he hasn’t played in the ECHL yet. On the whole he’s been a positive contributor in limited time, particularly once he was firmly kept on the fourth line.

Vincent Dunn 7-0-2-2 0.28 (0.25) SHPG 0.85
Contract: 17-18; 3rd pro season; career ECHL 0.38; last season 0.25 (ECHL)
Former QMJHL pest is still considered an AHL rookie because of how few games he’s played. In watching him his problem is pretty clear–beyond the lack of puck skills, he just can’t skate. Sadly he’s a better option than lineup-regular Randell, but that’s less about him being useful and more about the latter being useless.

Nick Paul 6-0-1-1 0.16 (0.50) SHPG 1.66
Contract: 17-18; 3rd pro season; career 0.46; last season 0.51
Dallas pick (4-101/13) that came over in the disastrous Jason Spezza trade. He struggled in his rookie season with Binghamton, but was better as a sophomore. Paul is big, rangy, good at both ends of the ice, and can beat players one-on-one, but struggles with confidence and to function without a possession-heavy winger. He hasn’t looked good since Rodewald’s initial call-up in late October (there were signs of life in his last game, however). I don’t think he’s earned any of his NHL call-ups, incidentally.

Eric Burgdoerfer 13-0-2-2 0.15 (0.44) SHPG 0.84
Contract: 17-18; 8th pro season (vet); career 0.24; last season 0.32
Unsigned RPI grad (career high of 7 points) made his way onto ECHL Bakersfield’s roster and four so-so seasons with them cracked Hershey’s lineup for two seasons and then Rochester. He’s a great example of regressing to the mean, as his numbers have tumbled hard despite copious amounts of time with Thomas Chabot and on the PP. I ought to set up the Burgdoerfer Turnover Meter–no other player so consistently has catastrophic turnovers that rarely turn into goals–it’s a skill.

Macoy Erkamps 7-0-1-1 0.14 (0.00) SHPG 1.14 ECHL 1-0-0-0
Contract: 18-19; 2nd season; last season 0.43 (ECHL)
A CHL free agent signing by the org (none of which have ever turned out), he was buried in the ECHL most of last season. Played a lot more this month, although in one of his games got exactly one shift (November 22nd). Oddly, despite having pretty good PK numbers, he saw almost no time there this month. Incidentally, the AHL website has corrected their error in listing him for 5 games in October.

Patrick Sieloff 13-0-1-1 0.07 (0.22) SHPG 0.84
Contract: 17-18; 5th pro season; career 0.18; last season 0.23
Former Calgary pick (2-42/12) who came up through the US Development program. Offensively limited at every level, he was traded as an RFA to Ottawa in exchange for Alex Chiasson. He’s exactly what you expect–a very safe player with basically no offensive ability at all (he’s actually below his usual targets for the month).

Andreas Englund 13-0-1-1 0.07 (0.22) SHPG 1.07
Contract: 18-19; 2nd pro season; last season 0.14
He played very much as advertised, albeit a little under his meager offensive expectations: dependable defensive defenseman with limited offensive instincts and abilities. I’m not sure if there’s another gear for him or not–right now he’s basically Sieloff who threws a few extra hits.

Ben Sexton 3-0-0-0 (0.50) SHPG 1.0
Contract: 18-19; 4th pro season; career 0.39; last season 0.57
Son of former president and GM of the Ottawa Senators, the undersized collegiate player was drafted by Boston (7-206/09); he failed out of the organisation, signing an AHL-deal with Albany where he had a career year. This earned him a two year deal with the BSens. Looked like a solid addition in October, albeit the lack of results in his November games are a bit worrying for a guy who plays as much as he does.

Chris Kelly 3-0-0-0 (n/a) SHPG 0.66
Contract: PTO; 17th pro season (vet); career 0.54 (last AHL season 04-05); last season 0.14 (NHL)
The signing is incredibly puzzling, but fits the org’s attachment to both known-quantities and defense-only veterans. He’s been exactly what you’d expect–solid defensively, useless offensively. He doesn’t improve the team at all and just eats up ice time better used for younger players.

Justin Vaive 4-0-0-0 (0.00) SHPG 0.25
Contract: PTO; 7th pro season; career 0.24; last season 0.13
Son-of-Rick was an Anaheim draft pick long ago (4-92/07, the O’Brien year), but as a collegian accomplished nothing and that’s how things have continued for him. He’s big, but he has ECHL-level hands so has accumulated games in the AHL largely based on size. There’s no chance the BSens actually sign him, but the fact Kleinendorst dressed him on the second line twice boggles the mind.

Tyler Randell 11-0-0-0 (0.11) SHPG 0.72
Contract: 17-18; 6th pro season; career 0.18; last season 0.16
Boston actually wasted a draft pick on the OHL pugilist (6-176/09) and he spent parts of six seasons punching people. I was not a fan of this signing which stinks of Randy Lee. Through 20 games he still has no points versus a goaltender and I have no idea what it will take for him to be healthy scratch.

Christian Jaros 6-0-0-0 (0.63) SHPG 2.0
Contract: 19-20; rookie; last season 0.36 (SHL)
Has his month derailed by a concussion and only in the last game did he truly look like himself. Great speed, cannon of a shot, physical, but needs the right partner to maximize his potential.

Cody Donaghey 1-0-0-0* (n/a) ECHL 10-0-1-1
* did not play a shift in the game he was dressed
Contract: 18-19; rookie; last season 0.77 (QMJHL)
The org seems keen on getting rid of the CHL FA ever since they acquired him; Toronto signed him and included him with the assorted detritus involved in the Dion Phaneuf trade. He’s spent virtually the entire season in Brampton and while his numbers in October were decent he hasn’t produced much in November. Will he ever see time in Belleville? Barring injuries I’d guess not.

Andrew Hammond 5-1-0 .916 2.62
Traded to Colorado; 5th pro season (vet); last season .837 4.08 (NHL)
The team finally got his salary off the books with the Matt Duchene trade, but the Avalanche have two prospects playing for San Antonio (Ville Husso and Spencer Martin), so he remains with Belleville when in the AHL. He’s been rock solid for the team and is responsible for virtually all their wins in November.

Chris Driedger 1-2-0 .909 3.04 ECHL 1-0-0 .933 2.00
Contract: 17-18; 4th pro season; last season .900 3.22
Missed most of October due to injury and may not have played if Hammond hadn’t been recalled; has been much better than Taylor when he’s played, but clearly should play behind Hammond when he’s with the team

Danny Taylor 0-3-1 .860 4.59
Contract: 17-18; 12th pro season (vet); last season .931 1.93 (KHL)
Has been an absolute disaster this month and he wasn’t much better in October. I’m honestly surprised as Taylor’s track record prior to this was quite good, but what can you do with him now? He has a fat AHL-salary and done nothing to make another team want him. With Colorado loaning Hammond back to the team it looks like he’s going to rattle around as the second and third goaltender until he either finds his game or is permanently locked into the pressbox.

Marcus Hogberg ECHL 3-1-0 .937 2.45
Contract: 18-19; rookie; last season .932 1.89 (SHL)
Had a rough start with the inept Beast, but is looking much more like the promising prospect he is this month. Unfortunately for him there’s no room in Belleville for him barring a roster move. The move that makes the most sense is dumping Taylor, but he may well be unmovable (the second choice could be Driedger, but I’m not sure they are ready to give up on him). It wouldn’t be the worst thing for Hogberg to spend the season in Brampton, but if he can keep his play at this level he’ll deserve some time in the AHL.

Overall numbers dropped across the board, with minor inflation for both McCormick and O’Brien whose ice time increased exponentially. The coaching staff clearly has issues trusting the younger forwards and that’s throttling the team’s offensive potential (on the BSens broadcast last night Kleinedorst was talking about wanting the team’s shots to increase, but looking at the lineup he put out I’m not sure how he imagined that was going to happen). Things aren’t as dire on the blueline, but that’s largely because the prospects are the only ones who can generate any offense. When I post about the team I’ll look at special team’s play etcetera and take a look at what’s worked and what hasn’t.

As a terrible self-promoter I wanted to bring attention to my patreon (the approach of “leave a link, they will come” doesn’t really work). I just have the bare bones for it up (I’m not sure what people would want–access to rough notes perhaps?). I put a lot of hours into this and it’s a lot easier to continue to do that with support. Before I started writing about hockey I was disappointed by the bland, cliche-driven coverage I was getting and while that’s improved somewhat at the NHL-level, it’s still a mess in the minors. If my work is something you enjoy and you have a few spare coins in your pocket your support is greatly appreciated.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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