Rookie Camp and Radio Encounters

Rookie Camp

The Sens have announced their rookie camp roster which, beyond prospects, includes a number of players from the development camp along with two other invites:

Prospects: Filip Gustavsson, Jordon Hollett, Kevin Mandolese; Macoy Erkamps, Christian Jaros, Maxime Lajoie, Christian Wolanin; Drake Batherson, Logan Brown, Filip Chlapik, Alex Formenton, Parker Kelly, Boston Leier, Aaron Luchuk, Ryan Scarfo, Andrew Sturtz, Brady Tkachuk, Colin White

Development Camp: Jonathan Aspirot, Charles-Edouard D’Astous, Brady Lyle, Chase Stewart; Luka Burzan, Robert Lynch, Gregor MacLeod

Invites: Nicolas Mattinen; Jordan Stallard

You can read breakdowns of the development camp invitees via the link (that they brought Stewart back boggles the mind while being exactly what I expect the org to do). How about the other two? Let’s take a look:

Nicolas Mattinen DR DOB 1998 6-179/16 Tor OHL (Flint/Hamilton) 64-8-22-30
Big blueliner was a late round flyer for the Leafs two years ago, but he wasn’t signed (I didn’t rank him for that draft–only Hockey Prospects did–an early third-rounder which, in retrospect, seems insane–they presented him as a physical blueliner with an NHL-caliber shot). The trade to Hamilton was a good one for Mattinen as outside undrafted Ben Gleason there was very little punch from the defense–despite that he was fourth in production for them. There’s nothing here to get excited about.

Jordan Stallard CL DOB 1997 5-127/16 Win WHL (Prince Albert) 72-44-47-91
Parker Kelly’s teammate did what an overager is supposed to do in his final year: dominate, but it wasn’t enough to impress the Jets (he was fairly highly regarded when drafted–only ISS didn’t care for him). Stallard was the top scorer for his team, but numbers like this aren’t always good indicators for overagers. In his case they didn’t come out of the blue for him (like they did for, say, Jermaine Loewen who was drafted this year)–he averaged 0.86 points-per-game in his previous two seasons. I’m a fan of talent, so I like that they invited a player whose core ability is producing–will it earn him a contract? It’s doubtful given how bloated the BSens lineup is, but maybe there’s room for him in Brampton.

Image result for the team 1200 logo

It’s not often a journalist or scout reaches out to me–typically when it happens it’s related to my draft or AHL coverage. Yesterday, after posting my thoughts on prospect hype I’d heard on The Team 1200 (or is it just TSN 1200 now?), John Rodenburg, a man I’ve literally never mentioned in eleven years of blogging, Tweeted at me in response. It’s as random as Lyle Richardson responding to an offhand comment I made back in 2012. Rodenburg didn’t seem happy with how I framed what I’d heard (maybe he thought he was being targeted?) and perhaps thought I was either being hyperbolic or misrepresenting what I’d heard given his comment:

Curious to know the host or show you heard “parroting” the org. hype and talk of “unprecedented crop of prospects”. Since you “generally don’t listen” it should be easy to remember. Thanks in advance

Understandably Rodenburg has no idea who I am or what the content of this blog is like (I very much doubt he consumes much blogging material). I don’t normally pay much attention to local coverage (be it in print or radio)–it largely disappears from this site after 2012. The kind of coverage that interests me is investigative journalism, analytics, and scouting material. That said, occasionally while driving I turn on the radio and get a dose of the local stuff–even after all this time the personalities haven’t changed much (RIP Jungle Jim).

Going back to Rodenburg: I remembered the context of what I’d heard (otherwise why comment on it?), although I didn’t mention the specific people involved other than Gord Wilson (whose comments were tangible to the discussion). As these things go because I mentioned Steve Lloyd by name in my response (he was hosting–researching it after the fact I discovered it’s the August 27th broadcast of “In the Box“), he has now responded:

Hi Peter. Nice context. Glad you listen to “Team 1200”. The jumping off point of the discussion was if Sens fans are looking for a little positivity in the avalanche of valid negativity, their pool of legit NHL prospects at this year’s rookie camp is as deep as its ever been.

I don’t recall that framing of the discussion because I missed the opening of the first segment (the third of the show) and conclusion of the second (fourth), but I’m sure Lloyd is correct. It’s a clever distinction to say both “as deep” and “at this year’s rookie camp” rather than simply “deepest ever” (as I subsequently responded to him, without the benefit of hindsight the 2011 camp was easily as deep as this one, but as I argued in my original post that’s not a comparison the org wants because virtually none of that potential came to fruition). To me the implication remains that it is the deepest prospect pool the Sens have ever had (or, for Gord Wilson, as deep as the late 90s/early 2000s) and I just don’t think that’s true for the reasons I detailed in the post. Without bonafide elite talent–a top center, a #1 defensemen, etc–it simply can’t hit that threshold.

To be clear: I’m very happy with the Sens group of prospects. While the org’s pro scouting has generally been awful, despite cutbacks their amateur scouting has continued to find quality players at the draft (with some notable misses in 2012 and 2014). My point isn’t that the sky is falling and the end is neigh (that sentiment would be about the owner and GM), but simply that the hype is overboard and there was no contrasting opinion given in the broadcast (the only caveats I heard were that not everyone will turn out, which isn’t really saying much). I’m not expecting either Rodenburg or Lloyd to reappear in reference to me, but if it means we get clearer context in these discussions then some good has come out of it.

If there’s enough interest, btw, we can go through a point-by-point comparison between eras to look at ‘the best’ prospect pool ever.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens

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  1. […] Rookie Camp and Radio Encounters […]


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