Good morning everyone,
My Senators fandom just keeps escalating and I find myself delving into our prospects and the leagues they play in more and more.
Today I was reading up on Michael Sdao since he was just signed to an entry level contract the other day. He looks like he could be more than just a depth signing. I mean do any of us really think that we can tell how good a player is while he is playing at Princeton? I certainly can't but it was nice to see him register both a goal and a dominating fight in his first games as a Binghamton Senator. At the very least Sdao certainly has the size to play in the NHL. For all we know he may be better than Gryba and Borocop. Only time will tell.
But I'm writing this fanpost because of Bryce Aneloski, one of our prospects in the WCHA, and where he led me. I went and looked at his stats and the stats leaders in the league he plays in. Bryce is doing OK, I guess, playing on a Nebraska Omaha team that is currently 7th in a 12 team league. Bryce has 21 points (5 goals) in 37 games and sports a +8. But what intrigues me is Ryan Walters -- an unsigned forward on Nebraska Omaha who is currently the leading scorer in the WCHA.
Ryan Walters has 22 goals and 29 assists in his 38 games for Nebraska Omaha and his 51 points is tops in the league. Add to that he is a +25 on a team that has only twelve more goals for than against and colour me impressed. He is a junior, 6'0", and 196 pounds. He is also 21 years old and turns 22 in June of this year. That makes him older than Noesen, Prince, Puempel, and Stone. He attributes his success this year (last year he only had 25 points, including 10 goals) to a changed training regimen that switched from a focus on heavy weights to agility training. As well he hired a skating coach to improve his stride in the off-season. So far the results are impressive as he doubled his scoring output from last year and currently leads (maybe he has already been annointed scoring champ?) the WCHA. I love that he doubled his output. I like that he is doing serious work on his conditioning and skating. I like that he could be entering his prime 1 or 2 years ahead of many of our young prospects. The senators are short guys who score -- why not sign the highest scorer from a league that produces many NHLers?
I guess my question for you guys is part "could/should we sign him to an entry level contract". Of the top 15 scorers in the WCHA only 9 "belong" to an NHL team. I would like to know what the process is if we are interested in a possibly overlooked player like him. Is it simply first come, first served? Recently I have read something about 50 contracts being the limit. Can we even sign someone like this if we want to?