Additional BSens Signings and Miscellaneous Thoughts

Just two days after my Belleville speculation post the team signed three more players. These are two-way AHL/ECHL deals, so they are (in theory) simply there to fill holes due to call-ups or injuries. Here are the additions (an aside: inexplicably the BSens press release calls Hoelscher a defenseman):

Mitchell Hoelscher CL, 21-22, OHL 62-34-42-76 1.22 (OHL career 0.72)
Drafted by New Jersey in the 6th-round in 2018, the Devils chose not to sign him and Ottawa picked him up on an ATO at the end of last year (7-0-1-1). Given the number of injury-prone veterans in the BSens lineup, it makes sense to have a depth player who doesn’t just run people through the boards (particularly one who plays center), but the odds are strong that he’ll spend most of the season in ECHL Atlanta.

Xavier Bernard DL, 21-22, QMJHL 26-0-8-8 0.31 (QMJHL career 0.37)
Yet another discarded New Jersey pick from 2018 (4-110), the blueliner’s offensive peak was his draft year and he’s an unremarkable depth addition I expect him to spend most of his time in Atlanta.

Tyler Parks GR, 29, Slovakia .940 (ECHL career .911)
The undrafted college player has spent most of his pro career in the ECHL, with his first ever AHL call-up coming two seasons prior. He provides depth without challenging the young players intended to carry the load in Belleville.

One interesting change I’ve noticed in the org’s strategy is that they have abandoned their habit of signing players out of Maritime universities (Jordan Murray being the prime example). Both Hoelscher and Bernard are via the more traditional route of the CHL.

Kirill Kaprizov Stats, News, Videos, Highlights, Pictures, Bio - Minnesota  Wild - ESPN

A bit off-topic, but as someone long fascinated with the translation of offensive numbers in Europe to the NHL, Kirill Kaprizov is a great example of how hard that is to do. Unlike so many other KHL stars (eg Kaigorodov), he put up excellent NHL numbers with Minnesota (Artyom Zub‘s numbers were also not that dissimilar from those he had in the KHL). This is why you can’t lean too hard on the averages used by analysts, even if 99% of the time a player’s production falls through the floor (Roman Cervenka comes to mind). A related note: Ary wrote about how rare it is for a player like Zub to come out of Russia in the first place, much less succeed.

Quebec Nordiques - Wikipedia

Speaking of off-topic, but how is it 2021 and there’s still no franchise in Quebec City? I’m aware of the NHL’s Western strategy with both Vegas and Seattle (I feel like the former will struggle to maintain a fanbase when the team declines, while the latter should be on solid ground). Broadly speaking, I think the NHL has over expanded and would better off with around 24-teams. Despite that, whatever the league’s situation, a team in Quebec makes so much sense. Not only is there a fanbase for it, but there’s plenty of corporate money to keep it afloat. Regardless, it seems unlikely to happen any time soon.

Eric Macramalla

Since I’ve dipped my toe back into hockey, various random things have come to my attention and one that struck me is related to TSN 1200 personality Eric Macramella. His idea seems to be that if someone is known to have done something illegal in their past it should forever destroy their future in the league. Cancelling people has become a common occurrence these days, albeit seems more about social media behaviour than actual criminal acts, but the premise that people are forever condemned by past mistakes is dystopian and it’s surprising how often those who preach it are later found guilty themselves–Andrew Cuomo and Roberta Kaplan are the most recent examples. I’ve always found Macramalla an interesting and entertaining guy to listen to, but this puts a dent in that estimation. For those who missed the specifics, he argues that anyone looking to hire Sean Burke is making a mistake–Burke was guilty of domestic assault in 1997, a charge not repeated since. One can argue about how Carolina handled the case at the time (which is to say, horribly), but I think 24-years without recurrence says something. Macramalla makes a similar argument for Craig MacTavish, who as a drunk driver killed a woman in 1984, but again, while the passage of time doesn’t diminish the act, I think 37-years of sobriety is enough that it ought not be controversial to hire the guy (Rob Ramage, who in similar circumstances killed Keith Magnuson in 2003, wasn’t brought up). Let’s leave some room for either Macramella not being clear or me misunderstanding his argument, but if the interpretation is correct, I think it’s beyond the pale.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)