Belleville Senators Review: Part Three (Prospects)

Continuing the breakdown of Belleville’s 2017-18 season, this is the second last post.  I mentioned previously that I’m saving the rookies for last largely to chop the roster up into manageable bits. I started with the veterans (link above), so now we’ll get into re-signed RFA’s and players past year-one of their ELC’s (because of his weird path to an ELC Jack Rodewald is included below). Just like last time we’ll go from oldest to youngest.

Max McCormick LW (1992; 6-171/11; re-signed RFA)
Prior to this season: 185 AHL games (0.46); 27 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 66-21-15-36 (0.54)
2017-18: 49-8-19-27 (0.55)
With or Without You record: 17-28-4/12-14-1
Shots/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: 6th most used, 12th most effective
Penalty Kill: 3rd most used, 11th most effective

McCormick.png

The org has never been rational in its approach to McCormick (very much a Borowiecki in that respect), whose well-publicized work-ethic and willingness to mix it up has endeared him in the hearts of the decision-makers. At the AHL-level he’s best suited to playing on the third line, but rarely does. Kleinendorst, who is also on the hype-train, played him mostly as a first-line forward with a mountain of powerplay time, none of which put him ahead of his usual production. His presence in the lineup had no measurable positive impact (the team has a better record without him), putting the “leadership” idea aside, so we can only be thankful that he’s on a one-way deal next season which (presumably) will keep him out of Belleville.

Jack Rodewald RW (1994; CHL FA Tor 2015; signed AHL-deal 2017; ELC 2017)
Prior to this season: 82 AHL games (0.35)
Previous season (16-17): 66-18-9-27 (0.41)
2017-18: 62-14-11-25 (0.40)
With or Without You record: 23-36-5/6-8-0
Shots/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: 9th most used, 9th most effective
Penalty Kill: 11th most used, 9th most effective
Notable Slumps: 25-1-2-3 from December through to mid-February

Rodewald

In small doses, at the right time, Rodewald looks like a useful player. He’s big, quick, and has a decent shot. What he lacks is consistency–disappearing for long stretches–something Kleinendorst apparently tried to avoid by ramming him into the top-six, but it made no difference. He doesn’t make the players around him better, so he’s very reliant on linemates to produce. I liked the org having him on an AHL-deal, but signing him to an ELC was reckless. Fortunately, his attributes do make him an asset that could be moved to a similar, gullible org.

Patrick Sieloff DL (1994; 2-42/12 Cal; re-signed RFA)
Prior to this season: 154 AHL games (0.18); 1 NHL game
Previous season (16-17): 52-2-10-12 (0.23)
2017-18: 58-1-9-10 (0.17)
With or Without You record: 23-31-4/6-11-1
Shots/hands: poor
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: a handful of shifts (15) late in the season (to no effect)
Penalty Kill: 3rd most used, 4th most effective
Notable Slumps: 32-game pointless streak

Consistently awful offensively, he’s always been given a pass because of his physicality and defensive play. Kleinendorst, motivated by his fear of losing (ergo, defense-first), overplayed him. He doesn’t help possession numbers, but doesn’t struggle moving the puck up the ice like turnover-machine Burgdoerfer or Murray. As I said last June keeping him wasn’t the worst option, albeit I wasn’t expecting him to play as much as he did. The best decision now would be to let him go.

Sieloff

Chris Driedger G (1994; 3-76/12; re-signed RFA)
Prior to this season: .907 2.98
Previous season (16-17): 34-12-19-3 .900 3.22
2017-18: 10-2-5-0 .885 4.04
Athleticism: good
Technique: poor
Goal support: 1.70 (team average 2.55)
Average shots against: 34.5 (season average 33.01)

Poor Driedger, buried at the bottom of two entirely different four-headed monsters in net for the BSens. In limited duty he showed what he had in two full seasons previously: inconsistency. Sometimes he stands on his head, sometimes he doesn’t (as much as I want to sympathise with him for the terrible team numbers around him, they don’t really justify his save percentage which shouldn’t be that much off the team average). His high points can be very high, but the low is on the same scale. Playing behind an atrocious blueline his entire pro career means I think he can show a little better, but at this point it’s best for him and the org to move on.

Ville Pokka DR (1994; 2-34/12 NYI; trade)
Prior to this season: 220 AHL games (0.47)
Previous season (16-17): 76-6-24-30 (0.39)
2017-18: 23-3-8-11 (0.47)
With or Without You record: 8-14-1/25-28-4
Shots/hands: good/excellent
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: average
Powerplay: 2nd most used, 2nd most effective
Penalty Kill: a few shifts at the end of the season (10) and wasn’t scored on

Pokka

Acquired from Chicago for DiDomenico, he added a much-needed puck moving presence to the team, although the impact is hard to see in the team’s record–it was fun to watch him with Lajoie, however briefly. I’m not sure the Sens will keep the 23-year old–they’d have to sign him to a veteran contract and org has steered clear of European players that fit that bill (to date they never have). With ChabotHarpur, and potentially Wolanin staying in the NHL next season, only Kelly Summers is being injected by the pipeline and the team could definitely use talent like Pokka.

Ben Harpur DL (1995; 4-108/13; re-signed RFA)
Prior to this season: 110 AHL games (0.30); 9 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 63-2-25-27 (0.43)
2017-18: 19-2-9-11 (0.58)
With or Without You record: 9-9-1/20-33-4
Shot/hands: average/good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: average
Powerplay: 6th most used, 1st most effective
Penalty Kill: 2nd most used, 1st most effective

Harpur

Derided for his lackluster NHL-performance, he’s turned into a very good AHL-player. What he does at this level is make simple plays that help move the puck forward and get shots to the net. He’s also solid defensively and on a team like this Belleville would have benefited from having him most of the season. As it is, he’s on a one-way deal coming up so won’t be available to help the AHL situation. What’s puzzling is Kleinendorst not using him to help younger players along–instead, vets like Sieloff and Burgdoerfer had easier minutes by playing with him.

Macoy Erkamps DR (1995; CHL FA 2016)
Previous season (16-17): 11-0-2-2 (0.18)
2017-18: 46-1-3-4 (0.08)
With or Without You record: 17-26-3/12-16-2
Shots/hands: awful/poor
Hockey IQ: poor
Skating: average
Powerplay: a few inexplicable shifts (4)
Penalty Kill: virtually half his shifts were in October (18 of 38), with very good numbers in those limited appearances

Erkamps

I’ve gone over the Sens horrendous record in signing CHL FA’s (something that might change with the various skilled forwards recently signed–time will tell). There were all sorts of warning signs when Erkamps was signed and he’s continues to be a disaster. Banished to the ECHL most of his rookie campaign, he wound up playing much of this season due to a shortage of bodies on the blueline. He has no hands, can’t move the puck, and is skating is average at best. The only positive this season was some chemistry he had with Englund in killing penalties. The Sens have one more season of him and should banish him to the ECHL.

Nick Paul C (1995; 4-101/13 Dal; trade)
Prior to this season: 117 AHL games (0.46); 25 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 72-15-22-37 (0.51)
2017-18: 54-14-13-27 (0.50)
With or Without You record: 20-31-4/9-11-1
Shots/hands: good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: average
Powerplay: 5th most used, 5th most effective
Penalty Kill: 7th most used, 6th most effective
Notable Slumps: 15-game goalless streak; 13-1-0-1 (late December to late January)

Paul

I had high hopes for Paul this year–that he’d breakout and show NHL-potential. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Despite a strong end to his season (26-12-7-19) he struggled otherwise and in the end didn’t look any different from the player he was in his sophomore season. He’s big, has good hands, and decent speed for a big body, but there’s just no consistency. With that said he’s useful at this level, although better linemates and more intelligent usage wouldn’t hurt.

Nick Moutrey LW (1995; 4-105/13 Clb; trade)
Prior to this season: 114 AHL games (0.24)
Previous season (16-17): 61-8-9-17 (0.28)
2017-18: 16-2-3-5 (0.31)
With or Without You record: 24-32-4/5-10-1
Shots/hands: average/poor
Hockey IQ: poor
Skating: average
Powerplay: played a ton (40 shifts) to no result
Penalty Kill: played quite a bit (43 shifts) and was awful (Rodewald’s numbers)
Notable Slumps: 10-1-0-1 to start with the BSens

Moutrey

Former junior teammate of Paul‘s dumped on the Sens as part of the Ian Cole trade, he arrived with a horrendous track record in the Columbus system and despite being given every opportunity continued to fail with the BSens. His size will appeal to the org, but they need to let him go.

Andreas Englund DL (1996; 2-40/14)
Previous season (16-17): 69-3-7-10 (0.14)
2017-18: 69-1-9-10 (0.14)
With or Without You Record: 26-38-5/3-4-0
Shots/hands: awful
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: 3 shifts for some reason
Penalty Kill: 4th in usage, 6th in effectiveness
Notable Slumps: 12-game pointless streak

Englund

Amazingly I forgot him when I first posted this and no one noticed–he’s not a very noticeable player. Advertised as a strong defensive defensemen, his limitations not just offensively but in that role are staggering. He made no improvement from his rookie season and generally dragged down anyone he played with. At best he’s an adequate depth blueliner in the AHL.

Francis Perron C (1996; 7-190/14)
Previous season (16-17): 68-6-20-26 (0.38)
2017-18: 44-4-11-15 (0.34)
With or Without You record: 17-23-4/12-19-1
Shots/hands: average/good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: good
Powerplay: 12th most used, 10th most effective
Penalty Kill: 8th most used, 11th most effective
Notable Slumps: 15-0-2-2 prior to his season-ending injury

Missed almost half the season due to injury and when he was healthy was given little opportunity to show off his skills. A bit too pass-happy, he requires some skill around him to be effective and that was in short supply. That said, I expected his general numbers to improve from last season. A new coach with new opportunities would help.

Perron

Gabriel Gagne C/W (1997; 2-36/15)
Previous season (16-17): 41-2-4-6 (0.14)
2017-18: 68-20-5-25 (0.36)
With or Without You record: 25-39-4/4-3-1
Shots/hands: excellent/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: 7th most used, 8th most effective
Penalty Kill: n/a
Notable Slumps: 12-game pointless streak

Gagne

His rookie season was so bad I really wondered if there was any potential here (the Sens made a poor decision making him turn pro early). This year, despite inconsistency, he showed a lot of positive signs. He has a great shot and is good one-on-one, albeit Kleinendorst rarely played him with good passers (most of that first line ice-time was with O’Brien and McCormick, both of whom are shooters). I wouldn’t call it a great season, but there’s now a sense that when he fills out and put in position to succeed he could become a dominant scorer (at this level at least).

In the final post I’ll go through the rookies and give a final assessment of the changes I’d make when it comes to personal.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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2 Comments

  1. […] Belleville Senators Review: Part Three (Prospects) […]

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