Senators Development Camp Invitees

Image result for parker kelly senators

The Sens are always in a rush to have their development camp right after the draft–perhaps it saves them money in some fashion, but for fans its a great opportunity to see new (and old) prospects play prior to summer vacations (for those who actually get vacations). I used to attend these all the time and if you get the chance they are a lot of fun. What I wanted to look at here are the free agent invitee’s on the Development Camp Roster (keeping in mind the majority of these players will never see the light of day again with the Sens):

Defense
Jonathan Aspirot DL DOB 99 QMJHL (Moncton) 67-7-19-26
Established a career high in PIMs this season (a theme as we’ll see), he finished third on the team in ppg with a fairly unremarkable numbers; I have absolutely no idea what he provides other than a warm body

Charles-Edouard D’Astous DL DOB 98 QMJHL (Rimouski) 59-18-38-56
The leading scorer among d-men for Rimouski (a team the Sens have drafted from before), he is tied for eighth in the league in D-ppg and fourth amongst those who are not drafted. It was a career year for the overager, but not without precedent (he had 40 points the previous season); like Stewart below he also accumulated far more PIMs than he normally has

Yanni Kaldis DR DOB 95 NCAA (Cornell) 33-4-15-19
Finished his sophomore season at Cornell (yet another team the Sens have drafted from) after a couple of years in the BCHL (where he put up good numbers that didn’t garner him draft attention); he’s the top scoring pure defensemen on his team (Alex Rauther is listed as a winger and blueliner, otherwise he’d be first by a nose)–I’m always happy to see skill so he’ll be an interesting one to watch

Graham Lillibridge DL DOB 99 USHL (Chicago) 56-4-41-45
At 5’9 he’s not at all the norm for the Sens; he finished well ahead of the other blueliners on his team and was second in ppg in the USHL. Committed to Yale, I applaud the Sens for giving someone like this a look (although I doubt they’d sign him)

Brady Lyle DR DOB 99 OHL (Owen Sound) 63-11-23-34
Steadily improving blueliner finished second in ppg on his team; he was universally picked for the 2017 draft (I had him pegged at #114), but wasn’t even discussed this year so presumably his stock has fallen

Ian Scheid DR DOB 95 NCAA (Mankato) 40-9-17-26
Didn’t show any ability in the USHL while putting up good numbers in both USHS and the NAHL; the last two years he’s been productive at Mankato; he finished second in ppg well behind LA draft pick Daniel Brickley; as a righthand shot he has extra appeal

Chase Stewart DR DOB 97 QMJHL (Rimouski) 53-5-35-29
After failing out of the OHL he wound up in the Q playing with Thomas Chabot the previous season; beyond a career year in his final stint in junior (not much of a feat) he also increased how much he fought (going from 4-5 fights a year up to 7). He was second on his team in scoring, well behind fellow invitee D’Astous. Since there’s no fighting at the camp I have no idea what he’s going to do, but the Sens love their tough guys

Forwards
Luka Burzan
CL DOB 2000 WHL (Brandon) 72-15-25-40
Passed over in the draft (I had him at #80), his anemic production with Moose Jaw was enough to taint his success with Brandon (both teams that the Sens have drafted from in the past). Brandon had an enormously talented roster so there are reasons to question his sudden offensive production

Zach Jordan RW DOB 96 NCAA (Nebraska) 34-16-12-28
Big winger had an adequate USHL final season and then jumped from 2 points with Nebraska to 28 this season; it’s clear he’s riding the coattails of Detroit pick David Pope and Edmonton pick Tyler Vesel, but his size is going to tempt teams

Ryan Kuffner LW DOB 96 NCAA (Princeton) 36-29-23-52
Local boy who played with Gloucester finished up his junior season at Princeton (another org the Sens have picked from); he’s had a monster season where he lead the team in goals and was second in points (behind undrafted Max Veronneau–another local boy). His production, particularly as he’s always produced, may tempt the Sens

Robert Lynch CR DOB 98 QMJHL (Drummondville) 67-28-39-67
Enjoyed a career year with Drummondville (finished just behind first-round pick Nicolas Beaudin); first-rounder Joseph Veleno and undrafted Connor Bramwell contributed to his production, so it’s hard to say just where he is when it comes to skill

Gregor MacLeod LW DOB 98 QMJHL (Quebec) 54-19-26-45
QMJHLer had a modest career year playing for both Charlottetown and Quebec, his numbers spiking while playing with undrafted Matthew Boucher and Chicago pick Philipp Kurashev

Nico Sturm LW DOB 95 NCAA (Clarkson) 40-14-23-37
Not related to the former NHLer, the German national had middling seasons in the NAHL and USHL before heading into the NCAA where he’s had good numbers; his career year at Clarkson (playing with Sens prospect Kelly Summers) are given a boost by LA FA Sheldon Rempal, but as a big body there will always be interest

Eduards Tralmaks LW DOB 97 NCAA (Maine) 37-11-14-25
Lavian national has spent most of his career in various US systems; his only USHL season was unremarkable, but he put up better numbers in his freshmen year at Maine (tied for fourth in scoring and ppg); as a big body he’s going to be given an opportunity to impress

In all we have six NCAA players, five from the Q, and one each from the OHL, WHL, and USHL. In general invitees are never heard from again, but occasionally something comes out of it–Matt O’Connor attended long before the Sens signed him as a free agent and Parker Kelly attended before being signed this past season.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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Reviewing Ottawa’s 2018 Draft

Image result for rock em sock em hockey 18 don cherry

In the midst of Ottawa’s ridiculous off-season the NHL entry draft has come and gone and the Sens had a eight picks as they attempt to…rebuild? Who really knows at this point. Trent Mann ran the board for the second straight year and some Mann-ish trends are now apparent: no Europeans (two years in a row through 12 picks), and staying safe–Mann doesn’t like taking chances so he’s content to pick players with limited upside if that limits the risk (you can read my review of last year’s draft here).

[I completely neglected to review my predictions for the Sens, so briefly: I nailed the Tkachuk pick; the following two selections were via draft deal deals so I wasn’t able to predict them, but I doubt I would have selected Bernard-Docker–who was much further down my list–nor Tychonick, who was much earlier; Gruden was supposed to be gone by their next pick so wasn’t included; Crookshank was ranked much, much later; Mandolese was much, much earlier; Novak wasn’t ranked by anyone; and Loheit didn’t make my list. This isn’t as on-target as last season, but as Mann moves away from the trends previously established adjusting takes some time.]

1-4 Brady Tkachuk (C/LW) DOB 99 6’3 NCAA (Boston U) 40-8-23-31 4th ppg
Son of the former NHLer, his numbers look a little better when you realize he’s second in ppg for players his age on his team (Shane Bowers is slightly ahead). This is a pick many Sens fans are not excited about, largely because of the talented players left available who were ignored for Tkachuk‘s perceived “intangibles” (shades of Curtis Lazar, although Tkachuk isn’t nearly that bad). For fans of actual numbers he does seem to make other players around him better, but this summarizes the general concerns about him:

there isn’t a meaningful (offensive) statistical category where Tkachuk has separated himself from the pack. When viewed through the lens of draft analytics, Tkachuk ranks in the bottom half of the first round or lower in expected likelihood of success; expected production; expected value; and situation, era, age, and league adjusted scoring

Scouts are effusive about him, but it’s all about old-time hockey stuff–they wax poetic about his intangibles, but there’s not a lot of substance. Since all the fluff is positive, let’s look at the concerns from scouts:

The biggest knock on his game at this time is his first-step

And

His burst could still be improved, but his advanced strength makes up for a lack of quickness in tight areas … He does have a habit of overplaying the puck at times, trying an extra move at the offensive blue line and losing possession, instead of dumping the puck deep and forechecking … defensively he could use his strength better. In his own zone, he’s not engaged every shift.

And

Weakness: overall quickness; consistency

My concern with Tkachuk me is that he’s someone useful in supporting talented players, but fourth overall picks are supposed to be the talented player. Over time this concern may go away, but I’m very leery about a player whose primary hype is over things like physicality and “meanness” because they so rarely yield results

1-26 Jacob Bernard-Docker (RD) DOB 2000 6’0 AJHL (Okotoks) 49-20-21-41 2nd ppg for D
I’m not sure what the hurry was for the Sens to pick him (reminds me of the wheeling and dealing to land Matt Puempel in ’11)–while he might not have been available at #48, he’s not first-round material either. Via Nichols we have:

a very solid two-way defenseman…but he’s not a real upside pick. He’s a good kid, plays a reliable game, can move the puck, but I don’t think he’s going to be an impact guy

That’s what a late-round pick is for. Of course, that’s just Pronman’s opinion, what about other scouts?

[one of the best at supporting] his partner … He’s quick to recognize his missed assignment…able to communicate effectively to his defensive partners during odd-man situations. … His wrist-shot is one of the better shots from the backend … he’s good at changing the angle…while laterally shifting positions or shooting. His first pass allows him to make accurate outlet passes but he’s also a capable puck distributor who can thread passes through high-traffic areas. His puck skills are a plus…though he’s a safer player in this aspect compared to some of the more dynamic offensive-minded defenseman … He’s not the most offensively gifted defender…but he’s versatile, smart, and well-rounded

They added that Tychnoick (below) has more upside. And

Positioning in his own zone is sound, although sometimes he appears to be guessing out there. Another drawback, according to scouts, is that he’s not very dynamic

They also thought his ability to get his shot off needed work. And

Good offensive player. Moves the puck well. Has great hands. Needs to improve strength to excel at the next level. Will need to improve defensive positioning and physicality to round out game.

Which sounds like a completely different player. The final guide see’s him as a second-pairing player who eats up minutes. I don’t hate this pick abstractly, but I’m concerned about where they picked this kind of player–one who could be a marginal pro that doesn’t offer anything that couldn’t be found by lower picks or inexpensive free agency.

2-48 Jonny Tychonick (DL) DOB 2000 6’0 BCHL (Penticton) 48-9-38-47 1st ppg for D
This is the kind of pick I can get behind–players with excellent numbers. What do the scouts say?

exceptional passing ability and impressive four-way mobility. His first-pass is one of the better passes in this class … impressive east-west movement … he does have a tendency to over-handle the puck in the neutral zone … [and] to shoot without traffic at times … he doesn’t control the tempo of a game at the rate he theoretically should considering his skills

And

His skating is remarkable … One of the most dynamic defenders in his draft class … his shot could stand to be crisper and more accurately utilized.

Otherwise there’s agreement on his offensive dynamism and concerns about his defensive play. Defense can be taught, so while scouts tend to fret over it like mother hens it’s not something I’m concerned with–it’s hard to score in the NHL, not defend.

4-95 Johnny Gruden (LW) DOB 2000 USHL (USNTDP Jr) 25-15-19-34 4th ppg
Not the son of NFL coach John Gruden, nothing at all stands out about him to me as he’s yet another “intangibles” player. Here are some scouting opinions.

he plays like a…power-forward despite his frame. He’s got a good first-step and is relentless on the forecheck … The big concern with Gruden’s game is if it’s translatable to the pro levels

And that’s my big concern. I mentioned at the time that he reminds me of Max McCormick and that’s not a player who helps you win–he just takes time away from players who do. And

has a nice stride that allows him to cover the ice with great energy … Occasionally,
he gets caught trying to do too much

And

Despite having solid all-around tools, lacks ultimate assets, which limits his potential a bit among smaller size.

The more you read about him the more he sounds like many other Sens draft picks (Shane EisermanVincent Dunn, etc), although his production makes the McCormick comparison seem the most apt. Max is a good player, but he’s a top-six AHL winger who can’t play on the powerplay and that’s not someone you ever need to draft–they are abundantly available all the time.

5-126 Angus Crookshank (LW) DOB 1999 5’11 BCHL (Langley) 42-22-23-45 2nd ppg
Wasn’t listed by many leaving me with just one scouting report to work with:

His speed ranges in a wide variety of gears that he can utilize with or without the puck … He owns a high level of skill. His puck control is super.

The above criticizes his strength, but that’s easily remedied. It’s hard to make much out of this–we can hope the scoring translates, but it will be a long time before he reaches even the minor leagues.

6-157 Kevin Mandolese (GL) DOB 2000 6’4 QMJHL (Cape Breton) .884 3.46 (best on his team)
Big Montrealer’s numbers are down from last year in the Q, but he plays on a team that’s poor defensively and beat his goaltending partner, so that’s a positive at least.

he’s not aggressive enough in his crease and stays too deep

A common issue for BSens goalie this past season, incidentally. And

Since his midget days, he has had the capacity to win games by himself, only to struggle in the next one. His rebound-control is associated with his consistency

This sounds like Chris Driedger‘s career. And

[has] a great blend of athleticism and aggressive play … can get himself into
trouble when he over-commits to the shot or challenges the shooter too much … must learn to focus better when the shooting pace is low.

And

Plays deeper in his crease and relies on his size to make saves. Positioning and tracking are good and consistent.

The final report is positive, but also comments on him staying too deep in his net. There’s clearly some disagreement on him (particularly his consistency), but he sounds like a shot in the dark–maybe he’ll pan out, maybe not, and that’s what late round picks are for. Whether the Sens needed another goaltender in the pipeline I’m not sure–I think it depends on how much faith you have in either Jordan Hollett (’17) or Joel Daccord (’15)–although frankly if the Sens would ever scout in Europe there are quality free agent goaltenders to pilfer without bothering to draft them.

7-188 Jakov Novak (C/LW) DOB 1998 6’3 NAHL (Janesville) 56-32-41-73 1st ppg
A local boy, it’s worth pointing out that Novak had a ridiculous amount of PIM’s relative to his teammates this season (something that wasn’t previously the case) and that’s an endearing quality to the Sens. He’s another player with just one scouting report to work with (in part, I think, because of how rarely scouts bother with the NAHL).

can play both wing and center due to explosive skating and agility … [gets] too involved after the whistle and can get to focused on trying to be that agitating presence instead of just playing his game

I like both the speed and offensive upside, although it’s harder to project from lesser leagues. The Sens went this route before with Todd Burgess (’16), whose ultimate fate we still don’t know (signs aren’t great, but there’s time left).

7-194 Luke Loheit (RW) DOB 2000 USHS (Minnetonka) 24-12-18-30 6th ppg
It’s not at all encouraging to see how far down the list he is when it comes to scoring on his own team and there’s only one scouting report on him.

played on a very deep roster … was called upon to play against other teams
top lines in a very tough conference … He has a long powerful skating stride … good instincts in his positioning and ability to read the play

Skating and defensive play are not in short supply so this doesn’t inspire much confidence. This is the biggest throwaway pick of the draft–I think he’ll disappear into the NCAA and like many Sens picks before him fade away without a thought afterwards.

This draft is heavily tier-2 (2 BCHL, AJHL, USHS, and NAHL), with a pick from the Q, NCAA, and USHL mixed in. Most of these players are going the college route and other than Tkachuk (who is probably a year away) are long-term picks. This is not what I expected at all, but given the metric ton of free agents signed (Parker KellyBoston Leier, Aaron Luchuk, Ryan Scarfo, and Andrew Sturtz) and trades made (Filip Gustavsson and Julius Bergman) for Belleville it seems like they want to sow the seeds for the future rather than worry about the present.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa Senators Mock Draft

Image result for randy lee arrest

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)

 

Reviewing Ottawa’s 2017 Draft

dorion's reward

This was not an inspiring draft for Ottawa, as Trent Mann’s first time running the board seemed timid and uninspired (reminding me most of 2014, but even that draft class had more skill). As for the Sens usual trends, we saw both the CHL and US systems involved as per usual, a continued commitment to avoiding smaller players, along with using later rounds for goalies. Variations included not drafting out of Sweden for the first time since 2007, as well as taking a USHL player in the first round. In terms of my mock draft the org had different ideas in the first round and all my first-selections after that were gone long before Ottawa made their pick (two of my options, however, were selected). Pierre Dorion was looking for credit for trying (and failing) to make a trade (!), which is more than a little embarrassing. Let’s dig into the players added to the system.

1-28/17 Shane Bowers C-L USHL (Waterloo) 60-22-29-51 t-1st pts (4th points-per-game)
A late first to second round round pick (26-41) with red flags attached. Nichols quotes his Lord and Saviour Corey Pronman:

[He] play[s] on both sides of the ice. The ultimate question with Bowers is his offensive ceiling. Some scouts I talk to swear by him as a potential frontline NHL player; other scouts, including myself, question whether he’ll be able to score much as an NHLer.

Grant McCagg (also via Nichols):

not a high-end talent but he’s a hard working, smart two-way guy

Red Line Report (RLR; also via Nichols):

Has the look of a solid third line, two-way NHL center one day, but we just don’t see any one exceptional carrying tool that leads us to believe he’ll be a difference-maker

International Scouting Report (ISS):

He competes hard. He skates through checks, goes to the net and not afraid to go into traffic. He is aware of his defensive responsibilities. He can play all forward positions and excels on the powerplay and penalty killing effectively. … mid-range NHL player with an upside.

Future Considerations (FC):

Bowers is a bit vanilla when it comes to his offensive game as he lacks flash or creativity and takes only what is available in front of him

Hockey Prospect (HP):

Shane plays a very detail oriented game in all three zones; rarely will he miss an assignment defensively or try to cheat up ice. Bowers isn’t going to make a lot of plays that jump out at you but he uses his elite skating and hockey sense to be in the right places at the right times and will take advantage of the chances he gets.

The commonalities are that Bowers is responsible defensively; most agree he has a limited offensive upside and that he’s very fast. One salient comment I read from an NHL scout was “high floor, low ceiling,” which sounds the Curtis Lazar alarm bells. For an organisation short on skill, using a pick on someone projected as a third-liner checker is a little depressing, although clearly the Sens believe his ceiling is higher than that. He’s slated to attend Boston University in the upcoming season.

2-47 Alex Formenton LW OHL (London) 65-16-18-34 11th pts (13th ppg)
Slotted evenly between the second and third round (32-66), he’s similar to Bowers above (as you’ll see below). Nichols quotes Pronman:

He has average creativity though, I wouldn’t expect him to become a big assists guy. … upon repeated viewings it became apparent that he had trouble finishing plays or paying the ultimate price to get to the scoring areas, perhaps because of his youth.

Red Line Report (via Nichols):

If he’s ever able to get his hands and brain to catch up with his feet, has the tools to be a fine two-way winger.

Hockey Prospect:

Offensively he has good tools. He gets his shot off quickly, and he has fairly good passing ability. His play below the hashmarks in the offensive zone improved as the season progressed.

Future Considerations:

he didn’t show much creativity with the puck when set up in the offensive zone and stuck to more of a cycle game. He’s very engaged defensively, hustling to cover the trailing player on the backcheck and was often the first forward back in his own end in tonight’s game.

ISS:

Plays a 200-foot game. Strong backcheck and back pressure. Plays with a bit of an edge. Project as possible 3rd line forward in NHL with possible upside.

All agree he’s fast (although there’s disagreement on his lateral movement and overall agility); most see limited creativity at this stage, with some seeing hope for more in the future. Just like Bowers though, his ceiling is not high and he projects as a responsible energy player at best. If any pick this year demonstrates organisational fear of failure this is the one.

4-121 Drake Batherson C-R QMJHL (Cape Breton) 61-22-36-58 3rd pts (3rd ppg)
Overage center was only listed by half the draft guides (122/213) and as such there’s very little scouting material on him. Only HP has a report in what I have on hand:

[H]as the ability to change speeds, which makes him tough to handle for opposing defensemen. He has great hockey IQ and puck skills. He has the ability to make defenders miss him one-on-one with his slick hands. … He sees the ice really well, and he’s as good a scorer as he is a playmaker. He has really good patience with the puck…. … he’s way more effective in one-on-one battles along the boards and in front of the net [than in the past].

This all sounds good in the skill department, but it’s worth noting prospects who put up big numbers only as overagers are less likely to replicate those as pros–you also have to ask the question: how much of that production is due to his teammates who lead the team in scoring (Giovanni Fiore, who was signed as an FA by Anaheim, and Massimo Carozza)? On the plus side, at least the Sens picked a player whose principal element is skill (as they generally do out of the Q).

6-183 Jordan Hollett G-L WHL (Regina) 2.83 .901
Serving as the backup goaltender on the high flying Pats (behind the undrafted Tyler Brown), the 6’5/6’4 prospect improved slightly on his numbers in the last season (.887). Only slotted in the draft by half the guides, there are two scouting profiles to look at.

Future Considerations:

[S]ize and athleticism immediately jump out at you. … Hollett’s natural gifts make him an intriguing option but one who will need some time.

RLR:

Huge upside long-term project or bust.

Both agree he has the raw tools, but it’ll either come together or not and the sample size isn’t large enough for a firm indication either way. It’s clear the Sens are impressed by his girth–that raw physicality–because this version of the org has never drafted a back-up goaltender before (the fact he was playing on prospect Filip Ahl‘s team likely gave him more exposure to the org). He, along with Batherson above, is a shot in the dark, but of all the players here he has the most potential upside (with the flipside of busting equally present). He’ll play for Medicine Hat this upcoming season.

Other than Batherson none of these players is coming to a pro arena any time soon. Goaltenders need more development time anyway, but both Bowers and Formenton can be expected to spend a couple of years developing before going anywhere.  Batherson, as an overage player, should be in Belleville sooner than later.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa Senators Mock Draft

markus nurmi

Pictured above is the rarest of things: a prospect drafted from Finland (with Randy Lee looking like he’d rather be anywhere else).

With my massive draft article now posted as well as my look at Ottawa’s draft tendencies, it’s time to make predictions for who the Sens will pick in the 2017 draft. 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 possibilities based on who we might expect to be available. As a quick refresh, here’s the basics of what the Sens do: draft out of Sweden, draft out of the CHL, draft out of the US leagues; what they don’t do: draft Russians, draft smaller players, draft out of the rest of Europe, draft goaltenders early.  With that said, let’s take a look at who they might land.  I’ve listed six players around the pick based on my list (two just before, the actual number, and three after), and we’ll tackle them for probability (with the most likely in green).

First Round Pick (1-28)
26. Jason Robertson (OHL forward) – this is a popular online pick, but it’s unlikely he’ll drop to them
27. Urho Vaakanainen (D; Finland) – he plays in Finland and picking Markus Nurmi last year doesn’t convince me we’ll get a bunch of Finns this year (bus tickets for Mikko Ruutu cost money kids!)
28. Jake Oettinger (G; NCAA) – the Sens don’t draft goaltenders in the first round; they also don’t draft college players in the first round
29. Kole Lind (WHL forward) – the most probable pick
30. Shane Bowers (USHL forward) – the Sens have never drafted a USHL player in the first round (the closest is Colin White from the US developmental program, but Bowers doesn’t have that pedigree)
31. Henri Jokiharju (D; WHL) – I’m not convinced the Sens are over their aversion to taking Finns, so I think Conor Timmins (#33; D; OHL) is more likely (I have Maxime Comtois at #32, but think the Sens would take Timmins)

Second Round Pick (2-47; from Calgary)
45. Keith Petruzzeli (G; USHL) – Sens don’t really draft goalies in the second round either
46. Ukko-Pekka Lukkonen (G; Finland) – he’s Finnish and a goaltender, so no
47. Nikita Popugayev (or Popugaev) (D; WHL) – he’s Russian
48. Joni Ikonen (SWE forward) – he’s 5’10 and Finnish
49. Jake Leschyshyn (WHL forward) – the son of the former NHLer and Senator Curtis, he’s very much in Ottawa’s wheelhouse
50. Joshua Brook (D; WHL) – a plausible alternative to Leschyshyn

Fourth Round Pick (4-121)
119. Nate Knoepke (D; USDP) – he fits Ottawa’s drafting trends (players in the US system proliferate from the fourth round onwards)
120. Tyler Inamoto (D; USDP) – see above
121. Noah Cates (US high school forward) – in the wheelhouse
122. Adam Thilander/Tilander (D; OHL) – also in the wheelhouse
123. Rickard Hugg (SWE forward) – at 5’10 he’s too small for Ottawa, so #124 Jocktan Chainey (D; QMJHL) is a reasonable option

Sixth Round Pick (6-183)
181. Yaroslav Alexeyeev/Alexeev (QMJHL forward) – he’s Russian
182. Calle Sjalin (D; SWE) – in the wheelhouse, although I don’t think the Sens have picked a Division 1 player before (he could easily slide to their pick)
183. Corey Andonovski (CISAA forward) – he comes from the kind of obscure league the Sens occasionally tap into (ala Colin Greening)
184. Jordan Hollett (G; WHL) – I’m a dubious because I can’t recall them drafting a backup goalie with so few games played before
185. Finn Evans (OJHL forward) – in the wheelhouse

It’s possible, depending on how things play out, that the options above would not include a player from Sweden and the inclination to pick one is strong (have to justify those European scouts somehow), so here are the possibilities that are close to the various picks: Jesper BoqvistLucas Elvenes; and Jonatan Asplund (D).

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The Silver Seven’s Ary M and Colin have been doing a series of draft articles on the Sens and I thought I’d go through them.  Rather than compose a list as I have above they’d pushed out six articles covering forwards, defense, goaltenders, overage players, European defensemen, and late round forwards (I’m amazed at how many separate pieces they’ve pushed out on the topic).  Here are my thoughts:

European Defensemen
Jonatan Asplund (Swe SuperElit) – a possibility
Juho Korhonen (Finn Jun) – no (he’s 5’9); he’s also not listed by anyone
Otto Latvala (Finn Jun; WJC-18) – he’s Finnish so seems unlikely
Gustav Lindstrom (Swe Allsvenskan) – a possibility
Adam Thilander/Tilander (Swe SuperElit; WJC-18) – despite being smallish at 6’0 he is within the org’s range, so maybe
Overage
Giorgio Estephan (WHL; Buf 6-152/15) – he’s not on anyone’s radar (the Sens do go off-board occasionally, but with forwards it’s either off of back-to-back big numbers (Hoffman) or numbers plus grit (Smith))
Nikita Korostelev (OHL; Tor 7-185/15) – he’s Russian (and see the no radar above)
Denis Smirnov (NCAA) – he’s 5’8
Tim Soderlund (SHL) – he’s 5’9
Matt Timms (D) (OHL) – the Sens haven’t picked a D-man under 6’0 since 2009 (he’s 5’10); see the no radar above
Linus Weissbach (USHL) – he’s 5’9
Forwards
Aleksi Heponiemi (WHL) – he’s 5’10
Joni Ikonen (Swe SuperElit) – no (see above)
Antoine Morand (QMJHL) – I think it’s unlikely (he’s 5’10)
Jason Robertson (OHL) – see above
Kailer Yamamoto (WHL) – he’s 5’8!
Late Round Forwards
Linus Nyman (OHL) – he’s 5’9
Jonas Rondbjerg (Swe SuperElit) – possibility
Mason Shaw (WHL) – 5’9
Zach Solow (USHL) – as above
Joel Teasdale (QMJHL) – possibility
Defense
Erik Brannstrom (SHL) – 5’9
Henri Jokiharju (WHL) – see above
Pierre-Olivier Joseph (QMJHL) – possible
Conor Timmins (OHL) – see above
Filip Westerlund (SHL) – 5’11 so not very likely
Goaltenders
Adam Ahman (Swe SuperElit) – no chance (he’s 6’0)
Michael DiPietro (OHL) – as above
Olle Eriksson Ek (Swe SuperElit) – possibility
Lassi Lehtinen (Finn junior) – 5’11 and not listed by anyone other than CS
Jake Oettinger (NCAA) – see above

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa Senators Draft Trends

I was going to wait for Ary M and Colin’s draft series to conclude before putting out anything of my own, but as that’s going to stretch on for quite some time I decided to move ahead. The Senators have followed particular trends since John Muckler was fired in 2007, and ignoring that specific draft (since Bryan Murray’s people were not in place for it), let’s look at the trends from 2008 until the present.  Before we dig into the numbers, here are the current picks for Ottawa: 28th, 47th (Cal), 121st, 183rd (their 2nd is with Tor, 3rd to Chi (via Car), 5th to Pit, 7th to SJ).

First Round
1-6/11 Mika Zibanejad – 6’2; Djurgardens (SuperElit/SHL/WJC-18)
1-9/09 Jared Cowen (D) – 6’5; Spokane (WHL)
1-11/16 Logan Brown – 6’6; Windsor (OHL; WJC-18)
1-13/13 Curtis Lazar – 6’0; Edmonton (WHL)
1-15/08 Erik Karlsson (D) – 5’ll; Frolunda (SuperElit/WJC-18)
1-15/12 Cody Ceci (D) – 6’2; Ottawa (OHL)
1-18/15 Thomas Chabot (D) – 6’2; Saint John (QMJHL)
1-21/11 Stefan Noesen – 6’1; Plymouth (OHL)
1-21/15 Colin White – 6’1; USDP (WJC-18)
1-24/11 Matt Puempel – 6’2; Peterborough (OHL)

Second Round
2-36/15 Gabriel Gagne – 6’5; Victoriaville (QMJHL)
2-39/09 Jakob Silverberg – 6’1; Brynas (SuperElit)
2-40/14 Andreas Englund (D) – 6’3; Djurgardens (SuperElit; WJC-18)
2-42/08 Patrick Wiercioch (D) – 6’5; Omaha (USHL)
2-42/16 Jonathan Dahlen – 5’11; Timra (Allsvenskan)
2-46/09 Robin Lehner (G) – 6’3; Frolunda (SuperElit)
2-48/15 Filip Chlapik – 6’1; Charlottetown (QMJHL)
2-61/11 Shane Prince – 5’10; Ottawa (OHL)

Third Round
3-70/14 Miles Gendron (D) – 6’3; The Rivers (USHS)
3-76/10 Jakub Culek – 6’3; Rimouski (QMJHL)
3-76/12 Chris Driedger (G) – 6’4; Calgary (WHL)
3-78/13 Marcus Hogberg (G) – 6’5; Linkoping (SuperElit)
3-79/08 Zack Smith – overage; 6’2; Swift Current (WHL)
3-82/12 Jarrod Maidens – 6’1; Owen Sound (OHL)

Fourth Round
4-96/11 Jean-Gabriel Pageau – 5’9; Gatineau (QMJHL)
4-100/09 Chris Wideman (D) – 5’10; Miami (NCAA)
4-100/14 Shane Eiserman – 6’2; Dubuque (USHL)
4-102/13 Tobias Lindberg – 6’2; Djurgardens (SuperElit)
4-103/16 Todd Burgess – 6’2; Fairbanks (NAHL)
4-106/10 Marcus Sorensen – 5’11; Sodertalje (SuperElit)
4-106/12 Tim Boyle (D) – 6’2; Noble & Greenough (USHS)
4-107/15 Christian Wolanin (D) – 6’1; Muskegon (USHL)
4-108/13 Ben Harpur (D) – 6’6; Guelph (OHL)
4-109/08 Andre Petersson – 5’10; HV71 (SuperElit; WJC-18)
4-109/15 Filip Ahl – 6’3; HV71 (SuperElit; WJC-18)
4-119/08 Derek Grant – 6’3; Langley (BCHL)

Fifth Round
5-126/11 Fredrik Claesson – 6’0; Djurgardens (SHL)
5-130/09 Mike Hoffman – overage; 6’1; Drummondville (QMJHL)
5-133/16 Maxime Lajoie (D) _ 6’0; Swift Current (WHL)
5-136/12 Robert Baillargeon – 6’0; Indiana (USHL)
5-138/13 Vincent Dunn – 6’0; Val-d’Or (QMJHL)
5-139/08 Mark Borowiecki (D) – 6’1; Smith Falls (CJHL)
5-139/15 Christian Jaros (D) – 6’3; Lulea (SHL; WJC-20)
5-146/09 Jeff Costello – 5’11; Cedar Rapids (USHL)

Sixth Round
6-156/11 Darren Kramer – overage; 6’1; Spokane (WHL)
6-160/09 Corey Cowick – 6’3; Ottawa (OHL)
6-161/13 Chris Leblanc – 6’3; overage; South Shore (EJHL)
6-163/16 Markus Nurmi – 6’3; TPS (U20; WJC-18)
6-166/12 Francois Brassard (G) – 6’1; Quebec (QMJHL)
6-168/13 Quentin Shore – 6’2; Denver (NCAA)
6-171/11 Max McCormick – 5’11; Sioux City (USHL)
6-178/10 Mark Stone – 6’2; Brandon (WHL)

Seventh Round
7-186/11 Jordan Fransoo (D) – 6’3; Brandon (WHL)
7-189/14 Kelly Summers (D) – 6’1; Carleton (CCHL)
7-190/09 Brad Peltz – 6’0; Avon (USHS)
7-190/14 Francis Perron – 6’0; Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
7-191/09 Michael Sdao (D) – 6’4; Lincoln (USHL)
7-196/10 Bryce Aneloski (D) – overage 6’2; Cedar Rapids (USHL)
7-196/12 Mikael Wikstrand (D) – 6’2; Mora (Allsvenskan)
7-199/08 Emil Sandin – 5’10; Brynas (SuperElit)
7-199/15 Joel Daccord (G) – 6’2; Cushing (USHS)
7-204/11 Ryan Dzingel – 6’0; Lincoln (USHL)

So, basic numbers first (through 9 drafts):
CHL (OHL, WHL, QMJHL, tier-2): 28
US systems (USHS, USHL, NCAA): 18
Europe (Sweden, Finland): 16
Goaltenders: 5 (2 CHL, 2 Sweden, 1 US)
Defensemen: 20 (9 CHL, 7 US, 4 Sweden)
Forwards: 37 (17 CHL, 10 Sweden, 10 US)

Thoughts: in general there’s not much preference, other than the restriction of CHL, US, and Swedish systems.  There are trends within those limitations, but I’ll get to them later.

First-rounders (10): 7 CHL, 2 Sweden, 1 US; 4 Defensemen
Second-rounders (8): 4 Sweden, 3 CHL, 1 US; 1 Goalie, 2 Defensemen
Third-rounders (6): 4 CHL, 1 Swede, 1 US; 2 Goalies, 1 Defenseman
Fourth-rounders (12): 5 US, 4 Sweden, 3 CHL; 4 Defensemen
Fifth-rounders (8): 4 CHL, 2 Sweden, 2 US; 4 Defensemen
Sixth-rounders (8): 4 CHL, 3 US, 1 Finland; 1 Goalie
Seventh-rounders (10): 5 US, 3 CHL, 2 Sweden; 1 Goalie, 5 Defensemen

Thoughts: with few exceptions, the top-90 picks will be either from the CHL or Sweden; there has been a shift towards the CHL for the first-round (5 straight selections are from Canadian junior), but otherwise this preference is unchanged. The org also likes to stash various players in college or Europe from the fourth-round onwards (all tier-2 picks are within this range as well as 15 of the 18 US selections; in total 27 of 38 have more time on the development clock). What’s also clear is that goaltenders are not first-round material (we haven’t had even a second round selection since 2009).

Size*
6’0: Peltz (09), Claesson (11), Dzingel (11), Baillargeon (12), Lazar (13), Dunn (13), Perron (14), Lajoie (16)
Under 6’0: Karlsson (08), Peterson (08), Sandin (08), Wideman (09), Costello (09), Sorensen (10), Prince (11), Pageau (11), McCormick (11), Dahlen (16)
Goalies 6’0 and under: none
Defenseman under 6’0: Karlsson (08), Wideman (09)
*we can quibble over size all day long, since teams tend to “grow” players, but for the sake of simplicity I’m using what’s listed on Elite Prospects

Thoughts: it’s painfully obvious that whatever tolerance the organisation had for smaller players has ebbed away.  Since 2011 only one player under 6’0 has been drafted (Dahlen), and he was subsequently moved.  Five players at the bubble height have been taken in that time, with one already moved (Lazar), one failed (Dunn), one unsigned (Baillargeon), and the other two undetermined (Perron and Lajoie). In essence the Senators will not take a smaller player outside of extraordinary circumstances.

Trends:
-First-round players are from the CHL and will not be a goalie
-Rounds 1-3 are from the CHL or Sweden
-No goaltenders until round 3 at the earliest
-Always 1 player from Sweden and 1 from the US systems taken; there’s also been at least one French-Canadian player picked since 2008
-Despite having done so in the past, it’s unlikely the Sens will take a tier-2 or NCAA player (just 1 in the last 8 years and 1 in the last 7 respectively)
-Despite taking a Finnish player last year, Ottawa does not draft from anywhere in Europe outside of Sweden
-Russians are not drafted regardless of circumstances
-Size is important; just one player under 6’0 has been taken the last five drafts; no goalie 6’0 or smaller has ever been drafted by this org; there hasn’t been a D under 6’0 since 2009
-The org has relied more on the Q than the OHL and WHL of late (4 of the 6 players drafted from the CHL in the last 3 years have been from the Q)
-As much as Dorion/Lee still overvalue toughness, they haven’t drafted a bonafide goon since Kramer (2011); they may also be moving away from drafting agitators/pests, as neither Dunn (13) nor Eiserman (14) have panned out; perhaps they’re settling on big as opposed to targeting aggression

I’ll get into my specific picks for Ottawa subsequently, but with all the mock drafts out there (and more forthcoming) I think remembering the tendencies of what the org actually does will get you closer to what’s actually likely.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

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Thankfully the Alex Chiasson era is over in Ottawa, as he was shipped off to Calgary in exchange for underwhelming defensive prospect Patrick Sieloff.  The latter, a former second-round pick by Calgary (2-42/12), never had impressive numbers either when he was drafted or since (reading the scouting reports on him everything praises his strength and competitiveness rather than his skill).  He’s signed for the upcoming season, so it looks like B-Sens fans can look forward to his 10-15 points playing the left side.  That said, the fact that the Sens got anything for Chiasson is something.

2016_NHL_Entry_Draft_logo

I posted my review of draft prognostication (mein gott in himmel! Nichols RT’d it), as well as my thoughts on Ottawa’s draft, so those of you interested you can check them out via the links.

Speaking of the draft, both The Silver Seven and The 6th Sens have weighed in on the Sens performance.  Nichols’ piece leans heavily on Corey Pronman (because reasons) and McKeen‘s (a little quid pro quo for Grant McCagg’s appearance on his podcast) when it comes to analysis.  I’m not a big fan of either (I have more time for the latter), and Nichol’s piece would benefit from the inclusion of multiple scouting profiles on each prospect, but he does cite an SBNation profile I missed that I’ll quote about Todd Burgess:

There are a couple factors working against Burgess’ impressive point total. First, he’s already two years past his initial draft year, so he’s an older player, dominating a league where it’s traditionally tougher for a player to be drafted from. Second, he played a softer schedule even by NAHL standards. Due to travel/cost considerations, the Ice Dogs play an unbalanced schedule with 16 games against fellow Alaska team Kenai River, who only won four games this season. Burgess scored 32 of his 95 points in those 16 games. He averaged about 1.4 points per game against everybody else, so the extra Kenai games added about an extra ten points to his total

For those of you who math this would take his totals down to 47 points in 34 games, which would still lead the league in points-per-game, but not by as wide a margin.  This isn’t to say he’s a bad pick or poor prospect, but to temper expectations (perhaps he’ll be another fourth-round dud ala Ben Blood (a Pronman favourite) or Timothy Boyle), or perhaps not–we’ll have four years in the NCAA before we’ll know for sure.

Moving along Nichols echoes a point about the Sens blueline depth that I share:

the Senators don’t have a lot of good puck-moving defencemen within their system – whether it’s at the AHL level, the junior ranks or in Europe. It seems like the bulk of their defensive prospects are blue collar types who play the prototypical defensive style that is becoming more and more outmoded as the years pass

The aforementioned Sieloff certainly fits that outmoded category.

Nichols posted a piece in the midst of writing all this that I’ll shoehorn here because it’s draft-related and the thing that struck me is very short: Pierre Dorion gave us the “they have size” comment for Burgess and Markus Nurmi–yay?

As for Trevor Shackles writing for The Silver Seven, his piece is more about the depth in the organisation, noting the disappointing 2012 draft and middling 2013 effort (now that Tobias Lindberg is gone).  I’m less enthused with Andreas Englund than most of the fanbase (until I see signs that he can move the puck he’s just another 7th defenseman), but I do like Francis Perron.  I don’t think this draft (2016) will match the twosome from 2015 (Thomas Chabot and Colin White), but it’s a solid haul.

prospects

Sens development camp is underway as of today and I like to see who they invite as sometimes we later see these players signed by the organisation later for the AHL or ECHL:
Michael Babcock (RW) – son of the NHL coach, he’s in his first year at Merrimack (so yet another teammate of Chris Leblanc); an unimpressive USHL player, his rookie year in the NCAA was no different (38-3-4-7); at only 5’9 he’s an oddity at a Sens camp
Vito Bavaro (RW) – just graduated from high school on his way to Sacred Heart in the NCAA (28-17-20-37)
Domenic Commisso (C) – an OHLer I expected to be drafted this year (#152), he’ll be eligible next year (at 5’9 he’s not someone I’d expect the Sens to take); 66-18-24-42
Hampus Gustafsson (LW) – Chris Leblanc’s teammate from Merrimack, the 6’4 Swede is coming off another solid season in the NCAA (39-8-18-26); he’s entering his senior year
Hunter Miska (G) – after an impressive year in the BCHL he put up a middling season in the USHL (2.46 .913, tied for 11th in the league in save percentage), prior to his attending Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA
Brady Reagan (DR) – 6’3 WHLer will go through the draft again next year (71-6-14-20)
Eric Robinson (LW) – Buddy’s brother has been a pretty unremarkable NCAA player at Princeton (31-7-4-11)
Zach Saar (RW) – he’s 6’5 and that appears to be the only reason the Penn State player is in camp (25-6-3-9)

Gnomes_plan

In somewhat tangential news Sportsnet shook up their hockey coverage as attempts to appeal to a younger audience with George Stroumboulopoulos were thought to have failed (the overall audience has dropped by 30% in just two years), so Ron MacLean has replaced him as a sop to older fans.  I was less interested in the host change than in the firing of the insufferable Glenn Healy along with P. J. Stock (Damien Cox was shuffled to PTS which services an even older demographic).  I won’t miss either Healy or Cox, while I’m indifferent to Stock (a feeling apparently in common with the audience).  For those who missed it, I wrote a piece back in March discussing the struggles of traditional sports in appealing to a younger demographic–the very conservative hockey powers are certainly not in a good position to stop the trend.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)