Category Archives: Scouting

28th and dropping fast! Why a 29th place finish is now likely for the Ottawa Senators.

New Jersey is now tied with Ottawa for 27th place, with more wins. Under tiebreaker rules that places Ottawa in 28th place if the season ended today.   Given that New Jersey is playing very good hockey and has received 16 points out of a possible 20 in it’s last ten games Ottawa fans should wave goodbye as the Devils climb up the ladder.  If they keep the pace up they may reach 90 points this season, and bizarrely might actually qualify for the last playoff spot in a weak Eastern Conference.

Given their season averages, Ottawa and the Islanders are headed for a tie with 65 points.  However, if you look at the last ten games, it tells a different story.   The New York Islanders are if nothing consistent losers, their 4-6-0 pace matches their season average exactly,  given that 65 points seems exactly where they are headed.

The Ottawa Senators have managed a measly four points in their last ten games.  If they continue their current pace,  they will end up with a mere 54 points.   Only Edmonton has a worse record in the last ten games.  While their season average would give them 60 points,  their recent performance would give them a pathetic 47 points and the worst record in the league.

So let’s split the difference for all four teams,  take their season-wide projection and the projection given their last ten games, and split down the middle.

New Jersey:   (65 + 89) /2 =   77

Islanders:       (65 + 65) /2 =  65

Ottawa:            (65 + 54) /2  = 60*

Edmonton:     (60 + 47) /2 = 54*

*rounded up.

Unless Edmonton goes on a tear, 29th place looks increasingly likely. Given draft lottery odds, this means that the Ottawa Senators at 29th will have a 100% chance of picking first, second or third, with  a 40% chance of picking third, a 42% chance of picking second, and a 18% chance of  picking first overall.

So, let’s look at those draft picks once again.  It looks like Edmonton is hungry for a young D, so it looks like Adam Larsson will be their pick if they don’t lose their lottery position. The most Ottawa can drop is one.

Ht/Wt:6.02/200 lbs
Team: Skelleftea AIK (Swe)
Gabriel Landeskog
Team: Kitchener (OHL)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Ht/Wt:6.00/170 lbs
Team: Red Deer (WHL)

Sean Couturier
Ht/Wt:6.04/195 lbs
Team: Drummondville (QMJHL)

Given the Senators lack of, well, everything regarding scoring,  even dropping one spot and losing out on Gabriel Landeskog isn’t bad.

If that happens, and Edmonton stays first,  would Ottawa be willing to trade one of it’s defensive prospects to Edmonton to guarantee a move up the ladder?  And which one? Given that the other teams that could claim second pick in the lottery are all likely to pick a forward, wouldn’t this be  prudent for both teams as Ottawa would guarantee it’s choice and Edmonton would get more defensive depth?

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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in NHL, Scouting, Senators


Avoiding Flailure

I’ve started or been an early hire in several high tech companies, and now work for a big one.  Some succeeded (if you define success as reacquisition or IPO so someone else can fuck it up).  Some failed.  All had one thing in common: Avoiding the deathmarch, or if on it,  ending it and fast.

Few get everything right in the beginning.  The smart ones change course when they sense they are going down the wrong path.  Change requires innovation.  There is one small problem however,  summarized by this axiom:

Innovation is inversely proportional to organizational strength.

Organizational strength increases over time.

New companies and larger companies that have successfully survived a near-death experience (hello, Apple) can innovate.  Newer companies have little organizational strength, so change is easy.  Larger companies can only do this by purging themselves of existing organizational strength, and to do so radically.  In other words, they  must change their executives, discard, isolate or encapsulate the current organization, and reboot.

Apple, at one time,  needed a US$150 million investment from Microsoft to make payroll and survive.   The giant today is a result of a reboot in technology and mindset (OS9?  Power PC?) .  For larger companies the situation has to be this extreme,  as only a true rebirth allows for a return to real innovation.  Half measures don’t count.  Half-measures result in flailure, in other words,  being good enough, but no better, and in reality getting worse.

If you haven’t heard of flailure,  here’s a definition.

flailure: (noun): misfortune that occurs because of clumsiness; an accident that includes a wild flailing of limbs.

What does this have to do with hockey?  Well, everything.

The Senators have been in flailure state for a while now.  Doesn’t matter who’s fault it is.  Too many favorites.  Too many empires.  The only way forward is to take the great leap into rebirth.   This, of course, means that everything must be on the table,  from management to player personnel to expectations of the fans and the media.

Such a decision can only come from ownership.  The fans seem ready,  some media (not Sun media) are there,  it appears some players are there,  as is some management.   Is the team ready, willing and able for a rebirth,  or will it continue to sadly march along in seemingly endless flailure?


Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Eugene Melnyk, Scouting, Senators


Let The Rebuild Begin

Bryan Murray at today’s presser.

” I feel for the fans.”

“If we continue to drop games going forward, there are a lot of players I will consider moving.”

On “The Euge” – “He’s realistic.

Murray added that he’s considering bringing up Robin Lehner. Given the way the Senators are playing, you might as well start with him.

It’s also clear that he’s gone as GM at the end of the season.

The rest was valedictory. He mentioned that when he came on as a GM the organization was short in depth and their drafts were not up to scratch.  They’ve done a good job in the last few years of selecting people in the draft for the future.

Robin Lehner will play in Bingo for the weekend and then he may be brought up if things don’t go well between the pipes.

He’s not yet at the “blow it up” stage, at least publicly.  But it seems that the Senators are already in transition towards a total rebuild with a new GM and a new head coach.

Could both roles be filled by St. Michael’s Majors head coach and GM Dave Cameron, who has done a brilliant job coaching Team Canada at the World Juniors?

Since Cameron already works for “The Euge”,  why not?



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All Aboard The Draft Lottery Express!

Ottawa is in 25th place with other teams having games in hand. At this pace the Senators will have a lottery pick at the 2011 draft, giving them an outside chance at the number one pick.

Let’s look at the ISS Top 10:

Sean Courturier, C
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C
Adam Larsson, D
Gabriel Landeskog, RW
Ryan Murphy, D
Joel Armia, RW
Victor Rask, C
Duncan Siemens, D
Brandon Saad, LW
Matt Puempel, LW

Of these, let’s look at forwards, where Ottawa is a little bit starved for the future:

Sean Courturier, C
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C
Gabriel Landeskog, RW
Joel Armia, RW
Victor Rask, C
Brandon Saad, LW
Matt Puempel, LW

Ottawa suckage and lottery luck will define how close to 1st Ottawa can go. Not sure if they can beat Jersey, Edmonton and the Islanders for the bottom, but it’s just like the Leafs and the Sabres to go on a pathetic end-of-season tear. So let’s place the Ottawa Senators at 26th with no changes due to the lottery, as per usual.  Since they have traded their pick to Boston the Leafs have no incentive to suck.  Buffalo of course is a suckage wildcard, as always. But let’s assume 26th.

Courturier is likely a first or second pick, a classic Islanders choice. Gone. Adam Larsson plays D, and is a perfect fit for New Jersey. Gone. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, an Alberta WHL boy, is too tempting for Edmonton to pass up.

It means that either Gabriel Landeskog,  or Victor Rask could end up in an Ottawa Senators uniform.

Of these, my bet is that it will be, should be, must be Gabriel Landeskog.

This is Elite Prospects’s take:

“An offensively skilled talent with good speed, technique and eye for the game. Likes to carry the puck a lot and finish himself. Could sometimes pass the puck a little earlier. Fairly well-rounded. Very strong. Loves to hit people.

Uh huh. Any further questions?


Posted by on January 4, 2011 in Eugene Melnyk, NHL, Scouting, Senators



30/50 vs 25/50

This page from shows what’s what.  The Senators need to win 30 of 50 if they expect (a 94% chance or greater) to make the playoffs.  If they fall five short and win 25 of 50 their chances of making the playoffs falls to a tiny 9%.

Five games.  That’s it.  Given how they’ve played, what  do you expect to happen?


Don’t re-sign the expiring contracts

A short sweet table of farewells:

Kovalev, Alexei » $5,000,000
Ruutu, Jarkko » $1,300,000
Shannon, Ryan » $625,000
Phillips, Chris » $3,500,000
Campoli, Chris » $1,400,000
Leclaire, Pascal » $3,800,000
Elliott, Brian » $850,000
Total: $16,475,000


Some of the players are inexpensive RFA’s (Shannon, Elliot).  Some are grinders and pests (Campoli, Ruutu), and one has a long history  with the team (Chris Phillips and arguably Brian Elliot). All one-way contracts must be on the table, including Brian Elliot.  Let’s give it a look after the jump:

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Posted by on December 14, 2010 in Scouting, Senators


A look back at the 1994 NHL Draft

Behold all the picks from the 1994 NHL draft  that have played one NHL game:  Who has played the most?

Daniel Alfredsson.

Which teams did best? Detroit, San Jose,  New Jersey and Ottawa, in that order.

Of these teams, which has not won a Stanley Cup in the meantime?

The one that is in that list by accident.

Who was coach and GM in Detroit?  Bryan Murray. The team had mixed results in each of his four seasons.

Long list after the jump…

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