Ottawa Senators Mock Draft

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We start with a face we won’t be seeing at the draft, although there’s no doubt Randy Lee’s impute will have an effect regardless. With my massive draft article posted and with reference to my look at Ottawa’s draft tendencies last year, it’s time to make predictions for who the Sens will pick in the 2018 draft (you can see last year’s mock draft here). This is a difficult exercise because it’s impossible to know who will be available when the Sens pick, but it’s fun to speculate on the possibilities based on who we might expect to be available. As a quick refresher, here’s the basics of Sens tendencies:
-they only draft out of Sweden, the CHL, and the US leagues (Finnish forward Nurmi, from 2016, is the exception that proves the rule)
-size size size (the Sens have only picked one player under 6’0 since 2011–Dahlen, who was subsequently traded–their goaltenders are always at least 6’2)
-pick goaltenders late (since Lehner (09) no ‘tender has been picked earlier than the third round)
-at least 1 player from Sweden and the US systems (last year was an exception, in part due to only having 4 picks); there has also been at least 1 French-Canadian or QMJHL player picked since 2008

With that established, let’s take a look at who they might land.  I’ve listed sixish players around the pick based on my list and we’ll tackle them for probability (with the most likely in green).

First Round (1-4)
3. Filip Zadina (QMJHL) – I doubt he’ll be available, but he’s from the Q and there’s little reason to doubt the Sens would take him if available
4. Brady Tkachuk (NCAA) – Bob McKenzie says scouts like “that certain something” about him and nebulous qualities have a magical appeal to the org
5. Oliver Wahlstrom (USDP) – I think if they aren’t taking Tkachuk it’s more likely that they’ll pick one of the defensemen
6. Evan Bouchard (D) (OHL) – more typical NHL-size and a righthand shot; fits the org’s model better than Hughes and considered more talented than Dobson, so he’s the blueliner I’d guess if they take one
7. Noah Dobson (D) (QMJHL)
8. Quintin Hughes (D) (NCAA) – undersized (5’10)  with questions about his defensive capabilities–these are big red flags for the org so I’m not with the Silver Sevens’ pick here

First Round (1-22; from Pittsburgh)
20. Isac Lundestrom (SHL) – if he’s available he’s likely (if the org picked a defensemen with their first pick)
21. Bode Wilde (D) (USDP) – if he’s available and the Sens took a forward with their first pick, the righthand shot is likely
22. Alexander Alexeyev (D) (WHL) – he’s Russian and the org doesn’t pick them
23. Akil Thomas (OHL) – under 6’0 so it’s very unlikely the org would consider him
24. Rasmus Sandin (D) (OHL) – see above
25. Ty Dellandrea (OHL) – what I said about Lundestrom applies to him

Fourth Round (4-95)
93. Justus Annunen (Finn Jr) – he’s Finnish so I don’t think so
94. Nico Gross (D) (OHL) – this iteration of the org has never drafted a Swiss-player, although playing in the CHL may give him the camouflage necessary to be considered (ala the Czech players picked from the Q or the Slovak picked from Sweden)
95. Tyler Madden (USHL) – 5’11 so not in the org’s wheelhouse
96. Egor Sokolov (QMJHL) – he’s Russian, so no
97. Kevin Mandolese (G) (QMJHL) – I don’t think the org is picking a ‘tender this year
98. Danila Zhuravlyov (D) (MHL) – he’s Russian, so no
99. Ty Emberson (D) (USDP) – righthand shot, comes from the right place–he’s in the wheelhouse

Fifth Round (5-126)
124. Lenni Killinen (Finn Jr) – he’s Finnish, so no
126. Seth Barton (D) (BCHL) – righthand blueliner; if the Sens haven’t picked one yet, this would be the time
127. Ryan Chyzowski (WHL) – has NHL bloodlines and seems to fit the kind of players the org is likes
128. Connor Roberts (OHL) – he’s big which always appeals to the org
129. Riley Damiani (OHL) – 5’9 so no

Sixth Round (6-157)
155. Kristian Reichel (WHL) – has NHL bloodlines going for him, but the only Czech’s they’ve ever drafted have been from the Q so it’s a pass
156. Damien Giroux (OHL) – he’s 5’9 so no
157. Merrick Rippon (D) (OHL) – has ‘local boy’ going for him and the org loves that
158. Jack Randl (USHL) – under 6’0 so no
159. William Moskal (OHL) – nothing really stands out about him either way
160. Caleb Everett (D) (OHL) – if no blueliners have been taken yet, he’s another righthand shot

Seventh Round (7-188)
185. Ivan Prosvetov (G) (USHL) – Russian so no
187. David Lilja (Allsvenskan) – under 6’0 so no
188. Tim Berni (D) (NLB) – under 6’0 so no
189. Nikolai Kovalenko (MHL) – Russian so no
190. Alex Green (D) (NCAA) – yet another righthand shot; definitely the kind of player the org likes to take chances on (reminds me a little of Bryce Aneloski–not in terms of potential, but just who & what he is coming into the draft)
191. Yegor Sharangovich (KHL) – Russian so no (I know he’s Belarussian, but the org doesn’t know the difference)
192. Erik Portillo (G) (Swe Jr) – I mentioned I don’t think the org will pick a ‘tender because of how many they currently have in the system, but if they do a 6’6 one seems palatable
193. Linus Karlsson (Swe Jr) – offensive righthand center fits in the wheelhouse

Seventh Round (7-194; from NYR)
194. Akira Schmid (G) (Swi Jr) – he’s Swiss so no
195. Johan Sodergran (SHL/Swe Jr) – has great speed
196. Mike Callahan (D) (USHL) – gritty, but with a couple of blueliners taken I don’t think they’d take another
197. Isaac Johnson (WHL) – also in the team’s wheelhouse if Sodergran is gone

My List
1-4 Brady Tkachuk
1-22 Ty Dellandrea
4-95 Ty Emberson (D)
5-126 Ryan Chyzowski
6-157 Merrick Rippon (D)
7-188 Linus Karlsson
7-194 Johan Sodergran

In most draft years a third to half the players considered are actually already gone before the pick. There’s no one from the Q or who is French Canadian in my list, which is an issue, but otherwise this represents the kind of players the org will take.

My friends Ary M and Colin have posted many draft articles (check them out: first pick, second pick, top forwards, top defensemen, more forwards, even more forwards, and defensemen [and goalies]). The links include excellent data as well as scouting profiles, although they are more slanted to who is actually the best as opposed to reading the minds of the org. Like them I believe talent is what’s most important, but we know the Sens don’t operate that way.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

 

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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 (7)
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 his return along with another 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)

Thoughts on the Senators Handling of its AHL Team (Redux)

With Belleville’s season over (my multi-part review begins here) I decided to update my article from last year looking at how Ottawa has handled its AHL affiliate since the Bryan Murray/Pierre Dorion regime arrived.

Ottawa has struggled to properly support the development side of its organization for quite some time–by that I’m not referring to drafted players or free agent prospects (whose quality rests on the shoulders of amateur scouts), but rather the pieces that are put around them to support development in the AHL environment. I’m not interested in the rhetoric surrounding any of this, just the numbers. With numbers in mind, let’s dive in:

Bryan Murray/Pierre Dorion AHL Seasons
07-08 34-32-14 .513 225 248 missed playoffs
08-09 41-30-9 .569 238 missed playoffs +9pts, +7 GF, -10 GA
09-10 36-35-9 .506 251 260 missed playoffs10pts, +19 GF, +22 GA
10-11 42-30-8 .575 255 221 Calder Cup +11pts, +4 GF, –39 GA
11-12 29-40-7 .428 201 243 missed playoffs27pts, –54 GF, +22 GA
12-13 44-24-8 .632 227 188 first round +31pts, +26 GF, –55 GA
13-14 44-24-8 .632 206 185 first round4pts, –21 GF, –3 GA
14-15 34-34-8 .500 242 258 missed playoffs16pts, +36 GF, +73 GA
15-16 31-38-7 .454 204 241 missed playoffs7pts, –38 GF, –17 GA
16-17 28-44-4 .395 190 266 missed playoffs9pts, –14 GF, +15 GA
17-18 29-42-5 .414 194 266 missed playoffs +3pts, +4 GF, unchanged GA

AHL GM’s (from 07-08 to now)
Tim Murray (07-14)
Left mid-season to become Buffalo’s GM (since fired)
Randy Lee (14-present)
Litters the media with comments about toughness (tide goes in, tide goes out, eh Randy?)

AHL coaches
Cory Clouston (07-08 to 08-09)
Mid-season NHL replacement in Ottawa (Craig Hartsburg!), then failed out of two orgs in the WHL (Brandon and Prince Albert) before winding up in the DEL (Kolner Haie) where he was also fired
Curtis Hunt (09)
Mid-season replacement for Clouston when he went up to Ottawa; wasn’t retained and bounced from Regina (WHL) to Fort McMurray (AJHL) to GMing Prince Albert
Don Nachbaur (09-10)
Came from the WHL and went back subsequently before (this season) becoming an assistant with LA
Kurt Kleinendorst (10-11 to 11-12)
Left after losing the Ottawa job to Paul MacLean
Luke Richardson (12-13 to 15-16)
Left the org when Guy Boucher got the Ottawa job, becoming an assistant for NYI
Kurt Kleinendorst (16-17 to 17-18)
After he left he went to the NCAA (Alabama, fired), AHL (Iowa, fired), then a mid-season DEL replacement (Ingolstadt) before returning to Binghamton

None of the above are good pro coaches and I think you can go beyond that and say all of them are poor–believing the org’s own outdated ideas of playing hockey like it’s the clutch-and-grab 90s and brawling days of the 1970s (ie, the need for a goon and toughness, the importance of size, an over-reliance on veterans, etc)–I often feel like throughout the Ottawa org they are trying to re-create Pat Quinn’s Toronto teams from the early 2000s. Their collective inability to find success at all (or, in Nachbaur’s case, outside of junior hockey) is ample evidence of these failings.

What about management? The best way to assess that is who they added to the roster, so here’s the penultimate list (those acquired by trade are in italics, veteran signings are in bold (five players at 320 AHL, NHL, certain European league games; one player over 260); in brackets next to their numbers are what they did the previous season; grades are based entirely on how well the players fulfilled expectations)

17-18 – 29-42-5 194 266
Jim O’Brien (PTO, AHL-deal, NHL-deal) 60-13-16-29 (53-9-15-24)
Ethan Werek (PTO, AHL-deal) 58-10-15-25 (55-13-14-27)
Max Reinhart 67-11-12-23 (DEL 52-6-17-23)
Ben Sexton 30-10-11-21 (54-19-12-31)
Mike Blunden (2nd year of his deal) 45-6-10-16 (67-14-15-29)
Erik Burgdoerfer 66-5-12-17 (52-1-16-17)
Daniel Ciampini (PTO, AHL-deal) 49-7-9-16 (ECHL 28-12-16-28)
Chris DiDomenico (2nd year of his deal; traded) 25-5-9-14/60-14-24-38 (NLA 48-10-28-38)
Ville Pokka 23-3-8-11/69-7-26-33 (76-6-24-30)
Tyler Randell 57-3-5-8 (59-1-9-10)
Kyle Flanagan (2nd year of his AHL-deal) 17-1-3-4 (68-9-20-29)
Eric Selleck 18-2-2-4/50-5-2-7 (46-5-4-9)
Nick Moutrey 16-2-3-5/38-5-6-11 (61-8-9-17)
Chris Kelly (PTO) 16-0-2-2 (NHL 82-5-7-12)
Danny Taylor .900 3.15 (.931 1.93)
FA’s: C-
Trades: D
Best move: Ben Sexton
Biggest flop: Danny Taylor

There are very comprehensive breakdowns for all of these players (beginning here). Were it not for Pokka the trades would earn an F (Eric Selleck?). It’s important to note just how many regular roster players were not on Randy Lee’s radar–Jim O’Brien, who became Kleinendorst’s number one center, arrived on a PTO; Ethan Werek and Daniel Ciampini, despite both ultimately being used as fourth-liners, each (especially Werek) spent time with significant minutes on top-lines and neither were on the horizon in the summer. The sentimental addition of Chris Kelly was great for him, but he was awful for the team. Other than Ben Sexton, who struggled to stay healthy, none of the additions panned out (they were either average or flopped completely). While for me the middling numbers of Reinhart, Blunden, Burgdoerfer, etc, are no surprise, the org certainly expected more, but Danny Taylor stands out as the biggest flop not because he has the worst numbers, but because he was supposed to be the stud in net–the fail safe for a young blueline–but it took him all the way until January to round into form and even at that stage he was simply average.

16-17 – 28-44-4 190 266
Jason Akeson (re-signed after failed KHL jump) 57-20-31-51 (73-13-39-52)
Phil Varone (re-signed) 65-15-36-51 (65-19-36-55)
Casey Bailey (re-signed) 62-21-16-37 (68-11-28-39)
Mike Blunden 67-14-15-29 (49-21-17-38)
Kyle Flanagan (AHL-deal) 68-9-20-29 (44-6-14-20)
Mike Kostka (re-signed) 46-1-11-12 (traded)
Chad Nehring 50-3-15-18 (76-22-26-48)
Brandon Gormley 17-2-3-5 (39-4-2-6)
Zack Stortini (second year of his deal) 22-2-1-3 (traded)
Guillaume Lepine 54-1-2-3 (re-signed)
Marc Hagel 27-0-3-3 (53-4-15-19)
FA’s: Grade C-
Trades: Grade F
Best move: Akeson
Biggest flop: Nehring

Only the top two had solid seasons (you can read my full review of the season here), with both slightly above their career averages (by 0.06 and 0.02 respectively); all the rest underperformed to varying degrees (some catastrophically), with neither of the “big” FA signings (Nehring and Blunden) coming close to what was expected of them.

15-16 – 31-38-7 204 241
Eric O’Dell 50-18-19-37 (37-14-15-29) (traded)
Mike Kostka 50-5-24-29 (63-5-25-30)
Phil Varone 21-6-17-23 (55-15-29-44)
Jason Akeson 21-5-17-22 (57-23-30-53)
Casey Bailey 30-7-14-21 (NCAA 37-22-18-40)
Zack Stortini 66-8-8-16 (76-13-12-25)
Patrick Mullen (re-signed) 36-1-15-16 (traded)
Ryan Rupert 30-7-6-13 (57-15-12-27)
Guillaume Lepine 69-4-9-13 (38-1-3-4)
Jerome Leduc 22-4-6-10 (76-6-19-25)
Travis Ewanyk 66-5-4-9 (69-3-5-8)
Michael Keranen 21-4-3-7 (70-10-27-37)
Mark Fraser 60-2-5-7 (NHL 34-0-4-4)
Conor Allen 17-1-4-5 (71-11-23-34) (traded)
Nick Tuzzolini (AHL contract but spent the season with the team) 27-1-0-1 (36-1-2-3)
FA’s: D-
Trades: C
Best move: Akeson/Varone
Biggest flop: Stortini

This is an even weaker assemblage of talent (my full season review go here). Kostka and O’Dell (before he was traded), performed as expected, but Stortini and Fraser were expensive busts (both were obviously terrible signings (eg)); Mullen’s production was never replaced when he was moved and various acquisitions completely bombed (Ewanyk, Keranen, and Allen in particular).  Tuzzolini was kept on the roster almost the entire season for perceived “toughness” which served no purpose whatsoever (special thank-you to Randy Lee for his continued inability to understand enforcers are not necessary).

14-15 – 34-34-8 242 258
Carter Camper 75-15-37-52 (60-12-49-51)
Aaron Johnson 73-6-29-35 (75-4-36-40)
Alex Grant (re-signed) 58-6-27-33
Patrick Mullen (re-signed) 54-5-24-29
Brad Mills 34-4-10-14 (28-8-6-14)
FA’s: C
Trades: N/A
Best move: Johnson
Biggest flop: Mills

Subpar year for Carter, while Grant and Mullen both struggled to stay healthy and PED-user Mills was inexplicably given ice time over actual prospects (my full review here).

13-14 – 44-24-8 206 185
Patrick Mullen 20-1-11-12 (69-13-28-41)
Alex Grant 19-2-8-10 (46-4-16-20)
Tyler Eckford (second year of his deal) 32-0-4-4
Nathan Lawson (re-signed) 3.05 .908
FA’s: F
Trades: B+
Best move: Mullen/Grant
Biggest flop: Eckford

Both vets who started the year were terrible (Eckford) to below average (Lawson); deadline acquisitions were good, but nothing could overcome Richardson’s incompetence as a coach (my full review here).

12-13 – 44-24-8 227 188
Hugh Jessiman 68-10-19-29 (67-27-17-44)
Andre Benoit 34-9-16-25 (KHL 53-5-12-17)
Brett Ledba 32-3-15-18 (NHL 30-1-3-4)
Tyler Eckford 59-7-6-13 (75-10-15-25)
Nathan Lawson 2.19 .938 (2.57 .914)
FA’s: C
Trades: B
Best move: Benoit
Biggest flop: Eckford

Benoit and Lawson were good signings for this season, but Jessiman and Eckford were awful and while Ledba was a decent acquisition, “veteran savvy” didn’t do anything for the team in the playoffs when it mattered.  My full review is here.

11-12 – 29-40-7 201 243
Corey Locke (second year of his deal) 38-10-31-41
Rob Klinkhammer 35-12-33-35 (76-17-29-46)
Mark Parrish 51-15-15-30 (56-17-34-51)
Tim Conboy 53-2-9-11 (70-0-12-12)
Josh Godfrey (AHL contract) 38-2-6-8 (ECHL 49-15-12-27)
Mike Bartlett 58-3-4-7 (72-8-10-18)
Francis Lessard (re-signed) 43-1-1-2
Shaun Heshka
10-0-1-1 (Austria 50-6-18-24) (traded)
Lee Sweatt DNP (41-5-9-14) (retired after getting his signing bonus)
Mike McKenna 2.98 .918 (3.61 .886)
FA’s (Sweatt not included): D
Trades: A
Best move: Klinkhammer
Biggest flop: Heshka/Sweatt

Klinkhammer was an inspired acquisition and Locke performed as expected, but otherwise this is a complete mess (as is reflected in the team’s results–my full review here).

10-11 – 42-30-8 255 221
Corey Locke 69-21-65-86 (76-31-54-85)
Ryan Keller (re-signed) 71-32-19-51
Andre Benoit 73-11-44-55 (78-6-30-36)
Ryan Potulny 13-3-5-8 (NHL 64-15-17-32)
David Hale (demoted from Ottawa) 36-2-4-6
Francis Lessard 36-2-1-3 (61-2-2-4)
Barry Brust (AHL deal) 2.53 .925 (2.46 .908)
Mike Brodeur (re-signed) 2.96 .903
FA’s (Hale not included): B
Trades: A
Best move: Potulny (lead the team in playoff scoring)
Biggest flop: Lessard

The Calder Cup season!  I wasn’t blogging regularly at the time, so there’s no retrospective review to link, but the only questionable things here were the signing of Lessard and retaining of Brodeur.

09-10 – 36-35-9 251 260
Martin St. Pierre 77-24-48-72 (61-15-51-66)
Ryan Keller 72-34-34-68 (Liiga 54-21-34-55)
Denis Hamel (re-signed) 73-22-29-51
Jonathan Cheechoo (demoted from Ottawa) 25-8-6-14
Drew Bannister (D) 57-4-10-14 (DEL 34-2-15-17)
Paul Baier (D) 62-2-8-10 (62-3-8-11)
Jeremy Yablonski (re-signed) 27-1-0-1
Chris Holt (G) (AHL deal) 2.95 .905 (1.73 .931)
Andy Chiodo (G) 3.28 .901 (KHL 3.66 .866)
Mike Brodeur (G) 3.06 .899 (2.45 .920)
FA’s (Cheechoo not included): D+
Trades: N/A
Best move: Keller
Biggest flop: Chiodo/Brodeur

Forwards performed as expected (although retaining Yablonski was pointless), but the defense choices were obviously terrible before the season began; signing Chiodo was puzzling and Brodeur underperformed.

08-09 – 41-30-9 232 238
Greg Mauldin (re-signed) 80-24-27-51
Denis Hamel (re-signed) 63-25-25-50
Marc Cavosie 64-10-13-23 (ECHL 41-12-18-30)
Matt Carkner (D) (re-signed) 67-3-18-21
Drew Fata (D) 68-7-9-16 (71-3-11-14)
Brendan Bell (D) 15-6-9-15 (69-7-24-31)
Chaz Johnson 48-1-5-6 (ECHL 60-23-24-2-47)
Jeremy Yablonski (re-signed) 64-1-2-3
Geoff Waugh (D) (re-signed) 27-0-2-2
FA’s: C-
Trades: C
Best move: Mauldin
Biggest flop: Yablonski

Bell’s acquisition would have been great if he’d stayed on the roster; as-is retaining Yablonski and Waugh were obviously bad decisions, acquiring Fata was pointless, and neither Johnson nor Cavosie added anything meaningful to the roster.

07-08 – 34-32-14 225 248
Denis Hamel 67-32-23-55 (NHL 53-5-3-8)
Lawrence Nycholat (D) 77-12-37-49 (29-3-25-28)
Niko Dimitrakos 64-20-20-40 (62-19-23-42)
Justin Mapletoft 78-18-22-40 (DEL 10-2-3-5)
Greg Mauldin 71-15-18-33 (Allsvenskan 32-6-10-16)
Matt Carkner (D) 67-10-15-25 (75-6-24-30)
Matt Kinch (D) 73-9-16-25 (DEL 51-4-20-24)
Jeremy Yablonski 76-3-10-13 (ECHL 41-3-3-6)
Geoff Waugh (D) 71-3-3-6 (ECHL 56-1-12-13)
Greg Amadio (D) 50-0-2-2 (previous season 58-3-5-8)
FA’s: B-
Trades: N/A
Best move: Nycholat
Biggest flop: Amadio

Tim Murray’s first stab at the gutted Muckler system, most of the decisions were solid, albeit none performed above expectations; Yablonski, Waugh, and Amadio stand out as head-scratching decisions.

Conclusions

Going through all this let’s briefly break it down by GM:
Tim Murray
FA’s: B-, C-, D+, B, D, C, F, C (avg C-)
Trades: n/a, C, n/a, A, A, B, B+, n/a (avg B+)
Randy Lee
FA’s: D-, C-, C- (avg D+)
Trades: C, F, D (avg D)

The first thing I want to point out: every season the team has signed at least one enforcer. Yes, the role that’s been dead since the 04-05 lockout is one the team continues to spend money on. With that out of the way, onto more general points.

Both men struggled to sign appropriate free agents in the off-season, Murray has a better track record of adding useful pieces during the season (and better results–three of his last four seasons had the team in the playoffs), something Lee hasn’t replicated (he continues to add the same kinds of players he does in the off-season). I’ve long thought the Sens pro scouting was poor and there is evidence of that here–while good players have been signed, it seems largely a matter of chance with the org going back to familiar faces (or attempting too) over and over again (Benoit’s two tours of duty, Akeson’s return, the failed attempt to bring back Mullen, retaining Brodeur, bringing back Kleinendorst, etc). What bothers me are the obvious poor decisions–terrible players signed because of “character”. No GM is going to have a perfect track record, but the BSens are particularly awful in setting themselves up for success. While you want to credit Murray for the Calder Cup, you have to call it a fluke given the results of all his other seasons and Lee has been worse.

This attachment to toughness is something Tim Murray may have overcome (his Rochester teams didn’t always have a pugilist), but Randy Lee won’t get with the program. Beyond the fisticuffs there’s also the endless praise for veterans with extremely limited talent (Burgdoerfer, Blunden, and on and on). The obsession with “character” over skill is the Achilles Heel I don’t think we’ll ever see the org overcome until new faces are in place.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Belleville Senators Review: Part Three (Rookies)

This is the final installment of my season review. Along with a look at rookie performances in Belleville, I was going to end this with thoughts on what should be done with the roster along with what I think will actually happen to the roster, but that doesn’t fits thematically and this is long as it is, so I’ll do that separately. As I’ve done previously I’ll arrange players from oldest to youngest–my pre-season projections are noted in brackets where applicable–comments about the attributes of players who appeared briefly should be taken with a grain of salt.

Jordan Murray DL (1992; CIS FA 2017 AHL-deal)
Previous season (16-17): CIS 30-14-26-40 (1.33)
2017-18: 58-8-15-23 (0.40)
With or Without You record: 21-34-3/8-8-2
Shots/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: 3rd in usage, 6th in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: limited usage (45 shifts), where he was not that effective

Murray.png

The org is very fond of Murray, a converted-forward who plays a gritty style. He’s a clumsy defensemen–not great with coverage and struggles with the transition game (especially on the PP where he was very indecisive). He’s at his best in the offensive zone, largely a shooter rather than distributor. Because of his questionable decision-making there’s no hope for him at the next level, but he could evolve into a decent AHL-blueliner. I think we saw far too much of him this season.

Boston Leier LW (1993; CIS FA 2018 AHL-deal)
2017-18: CIS 27-15-24-39 (1.44)
2017-18: 8-4-2-6 (0.75)
With You record: 4-4-0
Shots/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: only played 11 shifts (no impact)
Penalty Kill: played just a few shifts (7) where he wasn’t very effective

Leier

Another Canadian University signing, he was invisible to start with, but prior to returning to school started showing his offensive flair. In limited viewings he came across as primarily a shooter, but it’s hard to say more than that because of his varied usage. There’s potential here, however (at least at this level), so I was happy with the signing.

Ryan Scarfo C (1994; NCAA FA 2018 AHL-deal)
2017-18: NCAA 38-20-16-36 (0.95)
2017-18: 13-2-2-4 (0.31)
With You record: 6-7-0
Shots/hands: average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: played quite a bit (38 shifts) where he wasn’t very effective
Penalty Kill: limited usage (19 shifts) with reasonable effectiveness

Scarfo.png

I wasn’t impressed by him throughout his lengthy debut. Nothing stood out, good or bad, and were it not for a final flurry of points (3-2-1-3) he’d be a complete disaster. As an older college player I expect a lot more so I’m not sure what the BSens achieved by signing him (I worry about him being another Garrett Thompson).

Andrew Sturtz RW (1994; NCAA FA 2018)
2017-18: NCAA 37-14-26-40 (1.08)
2017-18: 6-1-2-3 (0.50)
With record: 3-3-0
Shots/hands: average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: limited usage (9 shifts) with decent effectiveness
Penalty Kill: barely used (4 shifts)
Lines: spent half on the first, then once on the other three

For a guy known for offense Kleinendorst was reluctant to use him on the PP for whatever reason. He showed some flashes of skill, but who he played with and various ice-time limitations make it hard to truly evaluate him purely on his time with the BSens (as such, I don’t have a strong opinion on him getting an ELC).

Marcus Hogberg G (1994; 3-78/13)
Previous season (16-17): SHL 19-14-0 .932 1.89
2017-18: 6-12-0  .899 3.27
Athleticism: average
Technique: average
Goal support: 2.44 (team average 2.55)
Average shots against: 30.66 (season average 33.01)

It was a crazy year for Hogberg, who had fantastic numbers in Sweden, but was all over the place in Belleville. I mentioned in Part One that his save percentage is essentially the same as Danny Taylor and Andrew Hammond (with Filip Gustavsson likely headed towards the same number given time), so his inferior win-loss record is in part due to bad luck (both Hammond and Gustavsson received much better goal-support, although no one received less help than Chris Driedger). The BSens have a terrible blueline and that didn’t help anyone between the pipes. Beyond the numbers what stood out most was technique: Hogberg was erratic all season in his positioning–often appearing too small or else being slightly out of position. He’s athletic for a big man, but a lot of his success is down to technique and there he clearly needs better support.

Christian Jaros DR (1996; 5-139/15)
Previous season (16-17): SHL 36-5-8-13 (0.36)
2017-18: 44-3-13-16 (0.36) [0.25]
With or Without You record: 20-21-3/9-21-2
Shots/hands: excellent/good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: good
Powerplay: 4th in usage, 3rd in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: 5th in usage, 7th in effectiveness

Jaros.png

I was really happy with what I saw from Jaros this season (his with or without you numbers are spectacular). Injury-struggles and coaching eccentricity restricted what he could show, but there was a lot to like. He’s got a huge, NHL-caliber shot from the blueline, is a decent passer and can carry the puck up the ice. He still needs some work defensively, although many of his struggles were due to inadequate partners (ahem, Englund). He was underdeployed on the powerplay (as explored in Part Two) and I can only wonder what we might see with proper coaching. Otherwise he showed smart aggression (no running around for big hits) and I really have no complaints–he was better than I expected (the org gave the impression he was another Englund) and I look forward to more.

Colin White C (1997; 1-21/15)
Previous season (16-17): NCAA 35-16-17-33 (0.94)
2017-18: 47-11-16-27 (0.57) [0.70]
With or Without You record: 18-25-4/11-17-1
Shots/hands: good
Hockey IQ: excellent
Skating: excellent
Powerplay: 3rd in usage, 1st in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: 6th in usage, 2nd in effectiveness

White

A smart, talented player who I expected more offense from. Despite irrationally being put on the third line for more than a quarter of the season, and despite sometimes having offensively anemic teammates, you expect him to do more at this level. That said, it was an awful season for the BSens, so I don’t see the numbers as a negative indicator, other than raising the question that was open when he was drafted which is: how much can he produce at the NHL-level? In the AHL, however, if he comes back, he’s a tremendous asset.

Thomas Chabot DR (1997; 1-18/15)
Previous season (16-17): QMJHL 34-10-35-45 (1.28)
2017-18: 13-2-5-7 (0.54) [0.61]
With or Without You record: 4-8-1/25-34-4
Shots/hands: good/excellent
Hockey IQ: excellent
Skating: excellent
Powerplay: 1st in usage, 5th in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: limited usage (19 shifts), but pretty effective

Chabot.png

Saddled as he was with largely useless partners, it was fun seeing him play (however briefly). His first five AHL-games in particular, prior to his injury, were fantastic–he was dominant and drove the play–his skill well above the level of the league. After the injury he took a half-step back, but there’s no question he’ll never play in Belleville again–he’s simply too good. Ottawa fans can simply watch and enjoy.

Filip Chlapik C (1997; 2-48/15)
Previous season (16-17): 57-34-57-91 (1.59)
2017-18: 52-11-21-32 (0.62) [0.59]
With or Without You record: 19-29-4/10-13-1
Shots/hands: average/excellent
Hockey IQ: excellent
Skating: good
Powerplay: 4th in usage, 4th in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: n/a

Chlapik

I had fears coming into the season that Chlapik’s numbers in the QMJHL were both inflated by the league as well as by Pittsburgh teammate Daniel Sprong (who was dominant with Wilkes-Barre this year, 65-32-33-65). Although he doesn’t have blazing speed or a big shot, Chlapik is a cerebral player with strong possession skills. Often handicapped by talentless teammates (his usage remains the most ridiculous of the season–grinding out a team leading point total while spending half the season in the bottom-six is incredible). How well his skills translate to the NHL I’m less sure of–he likes to hang onto the puck and that’s harder to do at that level. If he comes back to Belleville next season, however, I expect his numbers to improve by a large measure.

Maxime Lajoie DL (1997; 5-133/16)
Previous season (16-17): WHL 68-7-35-42 (0.61)
2017-18: 56-1-14-15 (0.27) [0.38]
With or Without You record: 21-31-3/8-11-2
Shots/hands: average/good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: average
Powerplay: 5th in usage, 7th in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: limited usage (47 shifts), but very effective

Lajoie.png

A smart player with good puck skills, I think skating might keep him from reaching the next level–he’s not fast and I don’t think he can get away with that in the NHL. At the AHL-level he spent much of the season stuck with inadequate partners who limited his offensive capabilities. His smarts help him defensively, although I don’t think he’s someone who suits a heavy PK-rotation. He compliments big shooters on the PP because he’s a pass-first player (he also doesn’t have a big shot). He’s very young so there’s lot’s of room for growth (assuming coaches give him that opportunity).

Filip Gustavsson G (1998; 2-55/16 Pit; trade)
2017-18: SHL 9-11-0 .918 2.07
2017-18: 2-4-0 .912 3.01
Athleticism: good
Technique: good
Goal support: 3.14 (team average 2.55)
Average shots against: 32.5 (season average 33.01)

Small sample size can do a lot for first impressions as Sens fans are over the moon about the young Swede (eg). He did play well, but it was clear that as time went on his numbers were starting to regress to the mean, making it hard to compare him to the other goaltenders as he wasn’t put in front of the same nightmare for a full season. What we saw was a very calm goaltender with good technique–athletics were rarely required due to positioning. He was the beneficiary of the best goal-support among BSen netminders, which doesn’t hurt. I share some of the optimism about him going forward, but I’m not sure he’ll thrive beneath the conservatism of a Kleinendorst-regime (or a similar coach who replaces him), who would always favour whatever veteran he’s paired with–I’m readying myself for yet another three-headed monster in goal for 2018-19.

Parker Kelly C/RW (1999; CHL FA 2018)
2017-18: WHL 69-29-30-59 (0.85)
2017-18: 5-1-0-1 (0.20)
With You record: 3-2-0
Shots/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: excellent
Powerplay: barely used (5 shifts)
Penalty Kill: effective in his limited appearances (16 shifts)
Lines: mostly the second line with one on the third

Such brief exposure isn’t a very representative sample. I liked his speed and the structure of his game, although it’s hard to judge his offensive potential at this level without more games. Nothing negative to put here, just hard to make a firm assessment.

Alex Formenton LW (1999; 2-47/17)
2017-18: OHL 48-29-19-48 (1.00)
2017-18: 2-0-0-0 (0.00)
With You record: 1-1-0
Shots/hands: good
Hockey IQ: excellent
Skating: excellent
Powerplay: limited use (5 shifts)
Penalty Kill: ibid (2 shifts)
Lines: he was on the first in the two games he played

Was hurt early in his second game, so it’s not fair to say anything about him really, other than I liked what little I saw. Because of  how the org views him he didn’t get jerked around by Kleinendorst and saw regular rotation 5-on-5 and on special teams.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

 

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)

Belleville Senators Season Review: Part Three (Veterans)

In the previous parts of my season review (Part One and Part Two) I looked largely at team performance. In the third and final part I’ll be exploring individual performances. While I’m excluding PTO call-ups from the ECHL, this is a very large list of players and I’m going to chop it down into three categories to make it manageable. Rookies are the most exciting, so we’ll save them for last. To begin with we’ll look at veterans–those players who are neither on their ELC nor re-signed RFA’s. These are the players resident genius Randy Lee added to the lineup in the hopes of helping both development and results. We’ll start with the oldest (my projections prior to the season can be seen here):

Chris Kelly C (DOB 1980; 3-94/99; PTO)
Prior to this season: 249 AHL games (0.55); 833 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): NHL 82-5-7-12 (0.14)
2017-18: 16-0-2-2 (0.12)
With or Without You record: 6-8-2/23-34-3
Shots/hands: poor
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: n/a
Penalty Kill: 2nd in usage, 12th in effectiveness
Notable Slumps: failed to score in all 16-games

Chris Kelly.png

While it was a nice gesture by the org to let Kelly use the BSens as practice for his time at both the Spengler Cup and the Olympics, he did the team itself no favours. Once an effective AHL-forward, Kelly simply has no hands left and particularly in his first set of games with the team played far too much (he was also consistently awful on the PK).

Danny Taylor G (DOB 1986; 7-221/04 LA; signed 2017)
Prior to this season: 134 AHL games (.919)
Previous season (16-17): KHL .931 1.93
2017-18: 32-11-5-4 .900 3.15
Athleticism: good
Technique: average
Notable slumps: 0-7-1 (November to mid-January)
Goal support: 2.37 (team season average 2.55)
Average shots against: 31.5 (season average 33.01)

Arriving with good historical numbers in the AHL and a strong season in the KHL, Taylor ultimately disappointed. While the end of his season was more to form, it didn’t really make up for his struggles early on. Normally I would have been behind the decision to sign Taylor, but with Marcus Hogberg and Chris Driedger on the roster along with Andrew Hammond, what was the point? His addition only hurt the development of both younger goaltenders as well as Taylor’s future prospects in North America.

Mike Blunden RW (DOB 1986; 2-43/05 Chi; signed 2016)
Prior to this season: 528 AHL games (ppg 0.52); 126 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 67-14-15-29 (0.43)
2017-18: 45-6-10-16 (0.35)
With or Without You: 15-30-3/14-12-2
Shot/hands: average
Hockey IQ: poor
Skating: awful
Powerplay: 8th most used, 13th most effective
Penalty Kill: 4th most used, 8th most effective
Notable slumps: 21-game goalless streak

Blunden

Given a two-year deal by Lee after a career year with Syracuse (Tampa’s affiliate) where he was buffered by a talented lineup. Anointed the captain when he joined he’s been rammed down the throat of the BSens system despite rapidly declining results. He played an inordinate amount on special teams time, but that aside his mere presence seemed to drag the team down (look at the winning percentage with & without him).

Eric Selleck LW (DOB 1987; NCAA FA Flo 10; traded for mid-season)
Prior to this season: 438 AHL games (0.24); 3 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 46-5-4-9 (0.19)
2017-18 50-5-2-7 (0.14) Belleville 18-2-2-4 (0.22)
With or Without You: he only missed two games once acquired (1-1-0) so the impact can’t really be evaluated
Shot/hands: terrible
Hockey IQ: negligible
Skating: awful
Powerplay: randomly put on it twice, but not part of the regular rotation
Penalty Kill: 9th most used, 8th most effective (benefited from limited sample size and partners)

Selleck

In the midst of a terrible season in Hartford (the Ranger affiliate), Lee inexplicably traded for him in February. The only thing Selleck has ever distinguished himself as is a fighter, but he fights for himself (case in point: in Ben Sexton‘s season ending game he was run twice and the mighty Selleck did…nothing). He doesn’t drop the gloves much anymore regardless, so what was the point of acquiring him?

Andrew Hammond G (DOB 1988; NCAA FA Ott 13)
Prior to this season: 80 AHL games (.903)
Previous season (16-17): 5-2-3-0 .884 3.24
2017-18: 18-8-6-2 .900 3.34
Athleticism: average
Technique: good
Goal support: 2.88 (team season average 2.55)
Average shots against: 30.55 (season average 33.01)

Buried in Belleville after Pierre Dorion devalued him making a trade impossible, he was actually quite good in Belleville and should have played more than Taylor early in the season. Eventually Colorado borrowed him permanently after trading for him, making room for Hogberg and Filip Gustavsson, but for a man put in a difficult position he made the most of it.

Erik Burgdoerfer DR (DOB 1988; NCAA FA Buf 16; signed 2017)
Prior to this season: 187 AHL games (0.24); 2 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 52-1-16-17 (0.32)
2017-18: 66-5-12-17 (0.26)
With or Without You: 25-36-4/3-6-1
Shot/hands: average
Hockey IQ: poor
Skating: good
Powerplay: 7th most used d-man, 4th most effective (see below)
Penalty Kill: 1st most used d-man, 5th most effective
Notable slumps: didn’t score in his final 21-games

Burgdoerfer

Throughout his hockey career (going back to junior in the EJHL) Burgdoerfer’s abilities are consistent: he takes a lot of penalties, produces minimal offense, but his excellent skating and being a righthand shot have allowed him to slowly evolve climb the pro ladder. The org had a lot of praise for him and he’s the kind of player that if you see him only occasionally, especially if he’s being protected by a competent partner, you’re not going to notice his primary problem (beyond an inability to produce offense): mental mistakes. No one on the team had more unforced errors than Burgdoerfer–his seminal moment in his final game of the season was, with no pressure, passing the puck right in front of his net to the opposition and having it immediately in the back of his net. He’s a turnover machine. I put a caveat in his powerplay numbers above because he’s benefiting from a small sample size–he was only on-ice for six goals, but after November rarely played making early success with Chabot and Lajoie boost his numbers.

Kyle Flanagan C (DOB 1988; NCAA FA Phi 13; signed 2016/AHL deal)
Prior to this season: 188 AHL games (0.41)
Previous season (16-17): 68-9-20-29 (0.42)
2017-18: 17-1-3-4 (0.23)
With or Without You: 7-9-1/22-33-4
Shot/hands: average
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: good
Powerplay: not used
Penalty Kill: 12th most used, 3rd most effective

Flanagan

A lost season for the undersized Flanagan who was injured most of the year. In limited duty he was fine–not a spectacular player, but good defensively and can chip in some offense (not on display at his usual rate this season).

Jim O’Brien C (DOB 1989; 1-29/07; signed PTO 17, then contract 18)
Prior to this season: 375 AHL games (0.55); 67 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 53-9-15-24 (0.45)
2017-18: 60-13-16-29 (0.48)
With or Without You: 6-8-2/23-34-3
Shot/hands: good/average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: good
Powerplay: 9th most used, 7th most effective
Penalty Kill: 5th most used, 3rd most effective

O'Brien

Arrived on the team via PTO and transitioned from an afterthought to the team’s #1 center (!). O’Brien, whose career has been on a downward AHL-curve since his 14-15 season with Hershey, isn’t so much a terrible addition but one inappropriately used. He’s a very good penalty killer, but someone with limited offensive potential who played far, far too much on scoring lines.

Chris DiDomenico RW (DOB 1989; 6-164/07 Tor; signed 17)
Prior to this season: 74 AHL games (0.23)
Previous season (16-17): NLA 48-10-28-38 (0.79)
2017-18: 25-5-9-14 (0.56)
With or Without You: 10-14-2/19-28-3
Shot/hands: good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: average
Powerplay: 2nd in usage, 2nd in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: three brief shifts was all he got

DiDomenico

Kleinendorst inexplicably lost confidence with him and he spent much of his last month with the team on the third or fourth line. Not surprisingly, when utilized properly by Rockford he was immensely productive (22-8-15-23). I was a bit puzzled when the Sens signed him last season, seeing it as a sop to Guy Boucher, but he’s unquestionably a good AHL talent and here bad coaching simply wasted an asset.

Daniel Ciampini C (DOB 1990; NCAA FA Worcester; signed 17/AHL deal)
Prior to this season: 48 AHL games (0.25)
Previous season (16-17): 23-1-4-5 (0.21)
2017-18: 49-7-9-16 (0.32)
With or Without You: 21-26-3/8-16-2
Shot/hands: average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: barely used (just 13 shifts through the season)
Penalty Kill: other than the final seconds occasionally, not used
Notable slumps: 10-game pointless streak

Ciampini.png

An excellent ECHL-player, he settled in as a regular in the bottom-six. While he’s unremarkable, in a better lineup he could have helped add some depth scoring. His lack of speed is what will ultimately keep him from being an AHL-regular.

Ben Sexton RW (DOB 1991; 7-206/09 Bos; signed 17)
Prior to this season: 127 AHL games (0.39)
Previous season (16-17): 54-19-12-31 (0.57)
2017-18: 30-11-10-21 (0.70)
With or Without You: 11-18-1/18-24-4
Shot/hands: good
Hockey IQ: good
Skating: excellent
Powerplay: first in usage, third in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: first in usage, first in effectiveness

Sexton

I’m leery about signing players coming off career years after having done nothing of note previously, but Sexton appears to have been a victim of the coaching staff in Providence while he was there (Bruce Cassidy), as he was excellent for Belleville this year. His inability to stay healthy continues to be an issue and I would take his with or without you stats as bad luck, but I’m glad he’s signed for another season.

Ethan Werek LW (DOB 1991; 2-47/09 NYR; PTO 17, then AHL-deal)
Prior to this season: 330 AHL games (0.36)
Previous season (16-17): 55-13-14-27 (0.49)
2017-18: 58-10-15-25 (0.43)
With or Without You: 24-29-5; 5-13-0
Shot/hands: good
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: average
Powerplay: 11th in usage, 6th in effectiveness
Penalty Kill: used once
Notable slumps: 20-game pointless streak

Werek

A PTO that turned into an AHL-deal, Kleinendorst fell in love with him early in the season, but he wound up in the doghouse soon after and never got out of it. Lack of footspeed give him limited utility, but he is a useful offensive player when put with supporting players and the BSens didn’t maximize their asset by doing so.

Tyler Randell RW (DOB 1991; 6-176/09 Bos; signed 17)
Prior to this season: 231 AHL games (0.18); 27 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): 59-1-9-10 (0.17)
2017-18: 57-3-5-8 (0.14)
With or Without You: 20-33-5/9-9-0
Shot/hands: poor
Hockey IQ: poor
Skating: good
Powerplay: played 15 shifts throughout the season (to no effect)
Penalty Kill: 10th most used, 7th most effective
Notable slumps: did not score against a goaltender until his 39th game

Randell

Looking at all this you have to ask yourself: what was Randy Lee trying to accomplish here? Just like Selleck above, Randell doesn’t fight for his teammates (he barely fights at all), and he doesn’t help the team in any other way, so why have him in the lineup? Despite ample opportunity he was actually worse offensively than with his limited time in Providence last season.

Max Reinhart C (DOB 1992; 3-64/10 Cal; signed 17)
Prior to this season: 276 AHL games (0.59); 23 NHL games
Previous season (16-17): DEL 52-6-17-23 (0.44)
2017-18: 67-11-12-23 (0.34)
With or Without You: 23-39-4/6-3-1
Shot/hands: average
Hockey IQ: average
Skating: averager
Powerplay: 13th most used, 11th most effective
Penalty Kill: barely played (like Ciampini above for final faceoffs)
Notable slumps: 13-game goalless drought

Reinhart.png

Coming off an awful season in the DEL he arrived in Belleville and had his worst AHL season since his rookie year. Clearly Randy Lee thought he was getting the support player he was with the Admirals (15-16), but it doesn’t take a genius looking at all his career to see that Reinhart’s numbers are all due to talented players around him. He doesn’t push the needle at all. Oddly enough I wrote an article on the 2010 Calgary draft for the Hockey Herald back in the day (no longer online from what I can tell), but here’s what I wrote at the time when calling that draft a disaster:

There’s no sense of strategy in the selections; they are not the best players available, they don’t fill any specific need, nor are any of them “swings for the fences.”  Collectively they all look like marginal pros.

This applies to Max as a free agent as well–not the best available, didn’t fill any specific need, and is (at best) a marginal pro.

Next time I’ll be looking at non-rookie prospects on the team before finishing up with the rookies.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Belleville Senators Season Review: Part Two

Kleinendorst

Here we are with Part Two of my season review (you can see part one here). The first part was largely an overview of the team’s performance. In this part I’ll be exploring special teams and player usage–the two areas most impacted by coaching. As mentioned in Part One the BSens were awful on special teams (30th, aka last, and 28th respectively), and those struggles are related in part to player usage–something reflected in team performance. Let’s start with special teams and specifically the powerplay:

Powerplay (13.4%)

The BSens score 40 goals on the powerplay, heavily relying on their first unit (33-7 in goals scored). There was variation in performance throughout the season, although goals-scored remained steady:
October (9gp): 6-49 12.2%
November (13gp): 6-50 12.0%
December (12gp): 8-52 15.4%
January (12gp): 6-38 15.8%
February (12gp): 7-39 17.9%*
March (12gp): 5-47 10.6%
April (6gp): 2-24 8.3%
*all goals scored by Paul-Sexton with either White or Gagne as the third forward; Chlapik played the point (mostly with Harpur or Pokka)

When it comes to powerplay points, here are the leaders (GP noted to provide some context; prospects in green):
Chlapik 12-52
Paul 11-54
Sexton 9-30
White 9-47
Murray 8-58
DiDomenico 7-25
Jaros 7-44
Werek 7-58
Pokka 6-23
Chabot 5-13
Harpur 5-19
Lajoie 4-56
Burgdoerfer 4-66
Gagne 4-68
Perron 3-44
McCormick 3-49
O’Brien 3-60
Reinhart 3-67
Rodewald 2-62
Moutrey 1-16
Blunden 1-45
Sieloff 1-58

A more useful way to look at it is production per shift–as in, how many goals was the player on-ice for (I excluded small sample sizes) vs their usage (how often they played)? We’ll have separate graphs for forwards and defense to avoid visual clutter:
PP usage and effectiveness
D PP usage and effectiveness
It’s a bit hard to see the variation with the forwards on the graph, but the trajectory gives you the idea. A few things are clear: prospects and talented vets (Sexton and DiDomencio) were the only productive forwards on the powerplay. On the D-side Chabot didn’t play many games (13), but I’ve included him because I know there’s a lot of interest. There aren’t many surprises on the D-side. How is this represented in terms of first/second line usage? Let’s look:
PP shifts 1st2nd
D PP shifts 1st2nd

Clearly playing on the second unit hurts overall productivity, but who was on that unit is also part of the problem. What is a talented player like Max Lajoie supposed to do with a group of forwards like BlundenReinhart, and McCormick in front of him on the powerplay? You may have noticed, incidentally, that there proportionally fewer defense shifts for the first unit than there should be–the reason for this is as the season progressed Kleinendorst began putting forwards on the point (usually just one), thus cutting down on the first PP-time for blueliners on the top unit. As for the forwards, you’re left wondering: why were Chlapik and Paul ever on the second-unit? Why was Murray given so much top-unit time? Why stick with players on the second unit who aren’t producing (eg Blunden)? Why was Burgdoerfer ever on the first unit? Why play McCormick so much? It’s these kinds of decisions that hurt the powerplay throughout the season. I mentioned back in November how effective the Lajoie-Jaros unit was on the powerplay (the former doing an excellent job at setting up the latter’s big shot, and both capable of carrying the puck up the ice effectively–one of Murray‘s biggest problems on the powerplay), but the duo rarely appeared.

Looking over the evolution of who was on the powerplay it’s possible to see the painfully slow realizations that Kleinendorst did make–in the last couple of months he shifted Murray away from the top unit, kept talented forwards like Chlapik on the first unit, and kept ineffective grinders like Blunden buried on the second. The reluctance to accept the evidence in front of him is Kleinendorst’s primary issue–the X’s and O’s of the powerplay aren’t an issue (there’s nothing fancy or flawed about the way the Sens used the umbrella), but how he used the personnel to execute them remained the problem. What’s mindnumbing is the endless tinkering with the special teams units–a successful group would be randomly changed and he showed great reluctance to ever go back to an original formation–as few goals as the powerplay scored they were produced by a bewildering number of different combinations.

Penalty Kill (77.0%)

Here, the org must have believed, they would see some improvement over last season. Randy Lee doubled down on grinding players–“good in the room” guys like Tyler RandellErik Burgdoerfer, Patrick Sieloff, etc, and when the chips were down…it was awful. The PK was terrible throughout the season with only a few players truly helping the situation. Here are the monthly numbers:
October: 39-47 82.9%
November: 41-54 75.9%
December: 42-56 75.0%
January: 38-51 74.5%
February: 34-42 80.9%
March: 37-48 77.1%
April: 21-26 80.7%

The usage/effectiveness numbers:
PK usage and effectiveness
D PK usage and effectivness

While the defense isn’t that far off what you’d expect given their results there are obvious issues with the forwards. Org sweetheart McCormick, along with sentimental addition of Chris Kelly, weren’t effective despite how much they played. Other than Sexton the other three most effective PK forwards (WhiteO’Brien, and the oft-injured Flanagan) were not played commensurate with their performance. O’Brien‘s numbers are particularly surprising since, 5-on-5, Kleinendorst couldn’t get enough of him (see below).

For those who haven’t seen them play, Blunden and late-season addition Selleck can’t skate, so having them on the PK (sometimes as a duo) was a nightmare to watch. Their numbers aren’t as awful as they should be because of protective pairings along the way (talented players like White and Sexton doing the work for them).

This is one area where Kleinendorst didn’t adjust to match reality–he kept throwing out the same personnel regardless of the result–relying on veterans and “grit”. The only system tweak that occurred began in January when he started playing his D-pairing the entire PK (or nearly all of it). This didn’t appreciably help, but he kept at it until April when he threw everything into the blender.

It’s hard to tell from the graph, but the kiss of death on the PK came in the form of Andreas Englund. The big Swede was actually on-ice for the most goals against (by a considerable margin) and he sewered Sieloff‘s numbers towards the end of the season (up until March he was well ahead of all defensemen in goals-per-shift). Burgdoerfer looks better than he was (conversely) because he generally benefited from playing with a superior partner. Just for the sake of clarity, here are the actual on-ice goals against numbers (with games played):
Englund: 38-69
Burgdoerfer: 31-66
Sieloff: 28-58
Jaros: 13-44
Harpur: 8-19
Murray: 5-58 (not included above due to low volume of play)
Lajoie: 3-56 (ibid)
Chabot: 2-13
Erkamps: 2-46 (ibid)

5-on-5

Here we are at how the majority of hockey games are played: even strength. My interest is player usage–how players were used in the lineup. In the absence of the AHL tracking ice time we are left with line combinations which, by and large, Kleinendorst stuck too (he rarely juggled his lines in-game). While I’ll have individual player breakdowns in Part Three, I did want to go over which players were used on various lines to give a sense of how Kleinendorst distributed his ice time.

Top-Six UsageBottom-Six Usage
There is a lot to unpack here. Why sign AHL free agents to play them on the fourth line? Randy Lee spent good money on Randell and Reinhart and having them flail about in the bottom-six did nothing to help the team. Why are prospects like Gagne and Perron wasting their development time on the fourth line? On the other side of things, why aren’t White and Chlapik spending all their time in the top-six? 43-games of Jim O’Brien as your first-line center is a bad joke–at no time in his career at any level did he warrant shifts on the first-line–he’s not that kind of player (he’s a solid top-nine AHL-forward who can kill penalties–that’s it). Whatever anyone thinks of Jack Rodewald why the guy was stapled to the top-six for most of the year despite lengthy droughts in production is a head-scratcher. Why was Blunden ever in the top-six? It goes on and on. All of this is due to Kleinendorst’s conservatism–trusting players he knows, trusting veterans, and taking forever to wake up to the results of doing so (no doubt his reluctance being applauded by his clueless GM).

Things were a little different on defense, where the pairings are a bit more important than just ice-time in terms of performance. I’ll have individual breakdowns in Part Three, but in broad strokes, these were the most common combos this season:

Englund-Jaros (28 games)
Murray-Erkamps (21 games)
Sieloff-Burgdoerfer (20 games)
Lajoie-Murray (16 games)
Lajoie-Burgdoerfer (15 games)
Englund-Burgdoerfer (13 games)
Sieloff-Pokka (11 games)
Sieloff-Harpur (11 games)

What’s interesting was Kleinendorst’s disinterest in trying to protect young players with veterans–instead, he insulated his favourites (particularly Sieloff) with talented players. Most of the PTO’s were shuttled off to play with Erkamps–essentially loading up the bottom pairing with disaster. It’s a puzzling approach unless you’re happy with rotating two pairs which, sometimes, Kleinendorst did. There was certainly no consideration given for loading up a pairing offensively–we only saw Chabot-Jaros once, and Lajoie-Jaros/Lajoie-Pokka four times each (Harpur only played with the favourites). This mindnumbing adherence prevented what could have been a more dynamic back-end, rather than Englund endlessly banking pucks off the boards or Burgdoerfer‘s hilarious and incessant turnovers.

Fear. That’s what I took away from Kleinendorst this season. He’s a man motivated by a fear of mistakes–a fear of losing–which ironically has made him prone to both. Remove his Calder Cup season (2010-11) from his recent coaching record and this is what we get (via win percentages):
2011-12 Binghamton .428 (left for the NCAA)
2012-13 Alabama-Huntsville .140 (fired)
2013-14 Iowa .441
2014-15 Iowa .167 (fired)
2015-16 ERC Ingolstadt (mid-season replacement) .578
2016-17 Binghamton .395
2017-18 Belleville .414
Other than his brief foray in the DEL he’s had horrendous seasons wherever he’s gone and at this stage you have to call it like it is: he’s not a head coach–not at the AHL level at least. His slowness to react to what works and overdependence on certain players leaves him susceptible to the problems we’ve seen with the BSens.

In Part Three we will dissect the performances of individual players. I’ll go over their general strengths and weaknesses, what they did, with whom, what I’d do with them as an asset and then what I expect Randy Lee/Pierre Dorion to do.

A final note to bring attention to my patreon and donations in general. I’ve been writing about the Sens for eleven years now (seven on this platform). The work, especially with the BSens, is unique and requires a huge investment in time and analysis. I do it because I’m passionate about it, but it requires purchasing AHL Live (not worth it for any other reason) as well as my personal time–any and all support really helps me continue to do what I’m doing. Thanks to those who have supported me in the past–its greatly appreciated!

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)