What Did the Sens Give Up?

This is a topic I don’t think anyone else will take a stab at, so I figured I’d dig into the numbers and consider what assets Ottawa has truly parted with. There are two categories of concern: what’s the value of the picks abstractly (as in, over all, statistically), and what’s the value these assets for Pierre Dorion (as in, during his career, what success has he had with assets like these). First, let’s remind ourselves what’s been surrendered (and to whom and for what; I realize there are conditions attached to some of these & I’m taking the most likely result as a given):

Draft Picks
1st (Arizona – Jakob Chychrun)
2nd (Chicago – getting rid of Nikita Zaitsev)
6th (Philadelphia – Patrick Brown)
2nd (Washington’s pick; Arizona – Jakob Chychrun)
2nd (Arizona – Jakob Chychrun)
4th (Chicago – getting rid of Nikita Zaitsev)

For those who need a refresher on Dorion, he was an amateur scout for Montreal from 94-95 to 04-05 (under Serge Savard, Rejean Houle, Andre Savard, and Bob Gainey), then with the Rangers from 05-06 to 06-07 (under Glen Sather), then Director of Amateur Scouting with Ottawa from 07-08 to 08-09, Director of Player Personal from 09-10 to 13-14, Assistant GM from mid-season 13-14 to 15-16 (all under Bryan Murray), and GM from 2016-17 onward. Dorian has contributed to drafting for decades, but in terms of having major impute or being responsible that only begins with Ottawa in the 07-08 draft, so that’s what we’ll look at (Tim Murray left mid 2013-14).

Dorion’s Success Rate
There’s a difference in early and late picks in the first two rounds, but afterwards it’s trivial (cf); we also can’t judge some of the prospects (particularly those taken from 2018+), and those undetermined are the third number (I haven’t bothered with the last two drafts, as it’s still too early to judge). I’ve highlighted the percentage excluding unknowns:
1st (top-ten): 4-1-1 80% (Jared Cowen; Tyler Boucher)
1st (eleven+): 5-4-3 55% (Matt Puempel, Stefan Noesen, Logan Brown, Shane Bowers; Jacob Bernard-Docker, Lassi Thomson, Ridly Greig)
2nd (top-ten): 2-3-1 40% (Andreas Englund, Gabriel Gagne, Jonathan Dahlen; Roby Jarventie)
2nd (eleven+): 2-3-4 40% (Patrick Wiercioch, Shane Prince, Filip Chlapik; Jonny Tychonick, Mads Sogaard, Tyler Kleven, Yegor Sokolov)
3rd: 1-5-1 16% (Jakub Culek, Jarrod Maidens, Chris Driedger, Marcus Hogberg, Miles Gendron; Leevi Merilainen)
4th: 5-7-3 41% (Andre Petersson, Tim Boyle, Tobias Lindberg, Shane Eiserman, Filip Ahl, Christian Wolanin, Todd Burgess; Ben Harpur, Jonathan Gruden, Viktor Lodin)
5th: 2-7-2 22% (Jeff Costello, Fredrik Claesson, Robert Baillargeon, Vincent Dunn, Christian Jaros, Max Lajoie, Eric Engstrand; Angus Crookshank, Mark Kastelic)
6th: 1-9-2 10% (Corey Cowick, Darren Kramer, Max McCormick, Francois Brassard, Quentin Shore, Chris Leblanc, Markus Nurmi, Jordan Hollett, Kevin Mandolese; Philippe Daoust, Cole Reinhardt)
7th: 1-10-2 9% (Emil Sandin, Brad Peltz, Michael Sdao, Bryce Aneloski, Jordan Fransoo, Mikael Wikstrand, Francis Perron, Kelly Summers, Luke Loheit, Jakov Novak; Joey Daccord, Maxence Guenette)

Personally I think Cody Ceci is an awful player, but at nearly 700 games played I have to bow to usage; I also think Curtis Lazar is a terrible 1st-round pick and at best a marginal NHL-player, but again, 400+ games I have to bow to the numbers.

That aside, there are some things to note about Dorion’s rein: his second and fourth-round picks have a higher rate of success than normal (the fourth round in particular); his early firsts are statistically below average, but I think that’s trivial until he gets another one wrong (otherwise he’s essentially average). I have to point out that since Tim Murray left (13-14), Dorion has just one success outside the second round (Drake Batherson); every other pick from the 3rd and beyond has failed or remains uncertain, which through the 7 drafts we’re looking at is neigh on catastrophic. What this inability to find players in later rounds indicates is that his scouting staff, at least through the end of Bryan Murray’s term as GM and Dorion’s first, were not up to the task. In my opinion, there are current players beyond the 2nd-round threshold who might contribute (and I don’t just mean the team’s faith in Mark Kastelic), but what we can’t definitively state is that there’s any track record for that happening under Dorion’s regime.

What this means is that, for Dorion, surrendering late picks has virtually no opportunity cost, because he can’t make use of them. That doesn’t mean other teams won’t find value for the picks, but at the team-level the risk is far less than that from a team known to find diamonds in the rough (this also means sending Ottawa late picks is a safe bet). So let’s revisit the list from above and look at the cost for Ottawa vs the opportunity it presents to other teams (we’ll be generous and include the period during which Tim Murray did have some success in later rounds):

Draft Picks
These are split between Dorion cost/generic opportunity cost, using the numbers above as guidelines
Ottawa is projected to miss the playoffs, so let’s say The Athletic was close when at the start of the season they said they would finish with 88-points (to do so now they’d go 10-10 in their last 20 games, but let’s give them a 12-8 record–a .600 winning percentage–to have 94 and finish just out of the playoffs). Last year 94 points meant finishing 17th overall.

1st – 1-17; 55%/50%
2nd – 2-49; 40%/26%
6th – 6-177; 10%/9%
2nd – 40%/26%
2nd – 40%/26%
4th – 41%/16%

One of the odd things about this is Dorion vs the averages in all of these moves (excluding the 6th) hurts him more than it helps the other team (at least statistically), but we can’t look at these things abstractly. I’d rather have Chychrun than what could be another Lazar (ahem, Boucher) and Formenton (or Puempel/Chlapik). I actually do like Formenton as a player, but he’s not as important as Chychrun (someone you’d normally have to draft). While I also don’t like trading for Brown (the Sens fetish for sons of former NHLers is a bit obsessive), but it appears Dorion can’t make 6th-round picks valuable, so a few weeks of his presence on the roster probably is better than a prospect who fails out in 3-5 years. What I do criticize is how much getting Zaitsev‘s money off the books cost Dorion. Oddly, 4th-round picks have been unusually kind to him, not to mention the 2nd-rounder. Karma being what it is, I suspect Chicago will do very well with at least one of those assets and I think Dorion bungled the entire Zaitsev odyssey.

Overall I’m still happy with the team–I’m concerned about their prospect cupboard, but given that most of the key assets are locked-up and so far none of them are showing signs of crashing and burning, let’s hope the late round drafting improves.

This article was written by Peter Levi


1 Comment

  1. […] What Did the Sens Give Up? […]

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