Roster Decisions for the Belleville Senators

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[Made a couple of corrections from the initial post–faulty memory came crashing against the rocks of hard facts–thanks to Ary for pointing them out.]

I mentioned previously that I would delve into what I think the BSens should do with their roster along with what I think they will do. For the latter element it’s worth keeping in mind what the org has generally done (which I went through recently; you can also see my review of rookies, prospects, and veterans). One decision is already made (matching what I would have preferred anyway), which is that veteran goaltender Danny Taylor is heading back to the KHL. We are also saved from disastrous first-line duo Max McCormick and Jim O’Brien due to the former’s one-way contract next season (Ben Harpur is also removed from the equation for the same reason, but he was actually good in limited-duty in Belleville).

Signed

Here are the players signed for next season (I’m assuming Thomas ChabotChristian Wolanin, Logan Brown, and Colin White will be on the NHL-roster–I think Filip Chlapik is 50-50 in that respect so he’s included below; rookies for next season are in green; AHL-contracts in italics; players arranged youngest to oldest):

Goaltenders (2)
Filip Gustavsson (SHL)
Marcus Hogberg

Defense (8)
Erik Burgdoerfer
Maxime Lajoie
Kelly Summers (NCAA)
Cody Donaghey
Christian Jaros
Andreas Englund
Macoy Erkamps
Jordan Murray

Forwards (11)
Drake Batherson (QMJHL)
Filip Chlapik
Aaron Luchuk (OHL)
Gabriel Gagne
Francis Perron
Andrew Sturtz (NCAA)
Ryan Scarfo (NCAA)
Jack Rodewald
Boston Leier (CIS)
Ben Sexton
Jim O’Brien

On the bubble:
Filip Ahl (Allsvenskan 29-11-4-15) – hurt his chances of being signed this year with a mediocre season in Sweden (he was unable to stay in Orebro’s lineup in the SHL), so another season to prove himself is expected
Markus Nurmi (Liiga 51-10-11-21) – I’d expect him to stay in Finland given the glut of forwards already in Belleville
We can safely assume unimpressive NCAA grad Shane Eiserman isn’t being signed (when drafted in 2014 the org saw him as another Max McCormick)

Expiring Contracts

RFAs
Nick Paul – despite no real improvement from the previous season his size and his late push towards the end of the year will probably see him re-signed (personally I’d let him walk–or sign & trade)
Nick Moutrey – dumped on the org by Columbus, he’s big but completely useless; they should let him go, but Randy Lee likes his big forwards so there’s a slim chance he’ll be retained

Non-Veteran Status
Patrick Sieloff – a player who peaked back in junior, his physicality has endeared him to the org and I feel like that might keep him around yet again
Daniel Ciampini – a PTO signing that I expect the team to let go–there are far too many forwards in the system to keep him around (which I think is the right decision)
Kyle Flanagan – undersized roleplayer will be let go (a decision I’m fine with)
Erik Burgdoerfer – I expect Captain Turnover to return and take time away from player development yet again–I’d kick him to the curb [I was reminded on Twitter that he’s on a two-year deal–something apparently my subconscious refused to accept]

Veteran Status
Ville Pokka – because he has veteran status it makes it very unlikely the Sens will put up the money to sign him, despite how badly they need a good puck-mover in Belleville (I also noted on Twitter that the Sens don’t sign European vets)
Max Reinhart – a complete dud all season–imagined as a top-six forward there’s no chance the org retains him to bumble around the bottom-six
Tyler Randell* – as useless as he is, there’s a chance the team hangs onto him for his “toughness”/”leadership”
Ethan Werek – another PTO signing, he didn’t do enough to endear himself and be retained; I wouldn’t keep him either, as to be effective he needs a lot of ice time and I’d rather have that go to prospects
Mike Blunden – absolute garbage both seasons with the org, but he was praised regardless; with that said, I think they’re ready to cut him loose
Eric Selleck – inexplicably traded for (!), but despite Randy Lee’s obsession with pugilists I don’t think they’ll keep him (he can’t skate which, I think, the org is starting to realize is important)
* within the 260+ vet category

Hypothetical Roster (vets in bold, re-signs in blue)

Forwards (14)
Drake Batherson
Filip Chlapik
Aaron Luchuk
Gabriel Gagne
Francis Perron
Nick Paul
Andrew Sturtz
Ryan Scarfo
Jack Rodewald
Boston Leier
Tyler Randell
Ben Sexton
Jim O’Brien
“gritty” veteran (FA)

Defense (9)
Maxime Lajoie
Kelly Summers
Cody Donaghey
Christian Jaros
Andreas Englund
Macoy Erkamps
Patrick Sieloff
Jordan Murray
Erik Burgdoerfer

Goaltenders (3)
Filip Gustavsson
Marcus Hogberg
veteran netminder (FA)

In the inaugural Belleville season the BSens had 29 players signed along with various PTOs trying out. My list has 26, but I don’t think we need to get too hung up on such a high number. We could see a veteran blueliner added as well–neither Erkamps or Donaghey really count as both are likely to spend their seasons buried in the ECHL–but if we do it’ll likely be (yet again) more “grit”.

My version of the roster? I wouldn’t have a three-headed monster in goal; I’d sign a quality ECHL goaltender, but leave the playing time to the prospects. I wouldn’t bring back any of the re-signed players indicated above, but I would try to either keep Pokka or else sign another talented defensemen (to play the left side if it was someone else). At forward I’d go find a couple of talented players to take the pressure off the rookies.

Coaching

I haven’t done a deep dive on rumoured new coach Troy Mann, but given Kleinendorst’s predilections I was curious how prospects had done with him in Hershey and if he shared the org’s obsession with vets. He was the head coach from 2014-15 to this past season, so briefly his record:
2014-15 46-22-8 .658 pugilist Dane Byers remained the captain
2015-16 43-21-12 .645 pugilist Garrett Mitchell was the captain
2016-17 43-22- 11 .638 same captain
2017-18 30-37-9 .454 same captain
Mann had O’Brien and Burgdoerfer previously (along with former BSens Carter Camper and Dustin Gazley). He relied heavily on vets for scoring, although it’s difficult to separate what was made available to him vs who he played. His rewarding of non-players as captain is, however, right up Randy Lee’s alley. The only positive I see, aside from a winning record, is a willingness to play younger goaltenders (although, again, I’m not sure how much choice he was given). Since he’s a fan of Burgdoerfer I think it adds to the odds of him with an eternity of playing time. There’s nothing surprising in this–Randy Lee’s understanding of hockey hasn’t changed so he’s going to look for someone who see’s things his way.

With all this said, it’s likely one or two prospects will be shuffled along in pre-draft (or draft) moves, which will also give us a better idea of where someone like Chlapik will wind up.

As for what’s coming up next for me: in terms of what’s planned the draft series is sooner than later (never a cheap process, so any donations or support on patreon is much appreciated). Typically Future Considerations is out first, but I’ll tackle them as they come and finish up with my predictions piece/analysis. I have a couple of other things in the hopper, but without a clear idea of when they will come out. For Marvel fans I have number of articles forthcoming along with a Cyberpunk 2077 update (both of which will appear on their respective blogspot sites–they will be Tweeted out as usual, of course).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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4 Comments

  1. When is your mock draft coming out?

    • I’m waiting for the usual guides to come out–HP tends to publish be quite late, but once that happens I’ll put it out

  2. Thanks

  3. […] Nick Moutrey walk – big guy with decent wheels, he’s the kind of raw material the org fawns over regardless of numbers (or lack […]


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