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Silver Nuggets: Mark Borowiecki edition

As Vaclav Burda would say, "he hits the bodies"
As Vaclav Burda would say, "he hits the bodies"
USA TODAY Sports

Let's get one thing clear: I'm very happy that out of all the things we could discuss with outrage, it's a meh contract to a 6th or 7th defenseman. At least it's not David Clarkson, am I right everyone?

Also, that may be the last thing in this post that some of you agree with me on, but that's fine. I can only speak for myself in this space, but I love critically analyzing the decisions made by members of the organization - that's why I write for Silver Seven. It means a lot when I can generate discussion on a post, whether it's in agreement or disagreement, and I'm all about evidence-based analysis, which could include both qualitative and quantitative data. I don't plan on having boundless optimism for every move made, nor do I want to be hopelessly pessimistic about a certain decision, and if an opposing argument is presented with evidence, I respect it and hopefully have a productive conversation on why our arguments differ. That being said, as someone with very limited access to what goes on inside the dressing room, it's hard to know all the information. This is why it's hard to properly evaluate "how good Mark Borowiecki is in the dressing room", which has been brought up as a supporting argument for his contract extension. This observational information by Randy Lee, Bryan Murray, and the rest of the Sens organization is a piece of the puzzle, just like analytics, critiques on positioning, data such as penalty minutes, etc. It's not the end-all-be-all and I think that it's fair to include information on Borowiecki's character, alongside his other, more tangible characteristics, when trying to evaluate this deal. Below is a list of pros/cons that I have generated for and against Borowiecki's deal. It's not an exhaustive list, and feel free to jump in the comments section if you'd like to discuss this further or have something to add.

Pros

  • Cap hit of $1.1M, which is minuscule in the grand scheme of things
  • Borowiecki's leadership experience: Captain of Clarkson University (NCAA) in his junior year; Captain of the Binghamton Senators
  • from all indications, a very strong work ethic - a quality documented in most interviews where Borowiecki is brought up, and evidenced by two "Hardest Worker Awards" at the Senators annual development camp
  • played in 21 playoff games with the Binghamton Senators and won a Calder Cup, making the jump from NCAA to AHL right away
  • in his draft year (07-08), he was voted as the CJHL's Best defenseman
  • was an AHL All-Star in 2011-12 and was trusted by the coaching staff to play tough minutes and penalty kill
  • he's from Ottawa, giving the fans an opportunity to see a local hometown player on the roster
Cons
  • of the eight defenseman signed to one-way contracts, Borowiecki is the 4th oldest (25) after Gryba, Methot and Phllips, but has the least amount of NHL experience. Patrick Wiercioch is two years younger (23).
  • how tangible is leadership experience? Although I see it as an effect of the team, if it wants to be highlighted as Borowiecki's outstanding quality, it's worth nothing that in his three years at Clarkson, they had a losing record, and outside of the Calder Cup run, the Binghamton Senators have either missed the playoffs, or bowed out in the first round
  • Although defenseman peak later than forwards, entering the league at 25 means that what you see is probably what you're going to get. Don't expect Borowiecki to be more than a 6th or 7th defenseman. This then leads to the question: why lock up a 6th or 7th defenseman when you can find decent possession drivers in free agency every year for under $1.5M?
  • has had issues with puck skills, being asked to work on it during his exit interview last year. Evidenced by minimal offense throughout his career: 0.32 PPG (NCAA),  0.24 PPG (AHL), 0.05 PPG (NHL).
  • His PPG during his AHL career has declined as the years have passed: 0.30 (Y1), 0.25 (Y2), 0.16 (Y3)
  • his games played during his pro career has declined, maybe due to the "hard-nosed" style he plays leading to injuries: 75 GP (2011-12), 59 GP (2012-13), 63 (2013-14)
  • similar 3rd pairing defenders like Philips and Gryba, plus the younger Claesson (21) and prospects in the future (Wikstrand, Englund, Harpur) may be blocked of a roster spot due to the term of this deal. As discussed by Darren in yesterday's post, why use a roster spot on a marginal talent; why four years of one-way contract for less than 25 games of NHL experience?
  • the aforementioned Claesson, who is three years younger, plays a similar style of game but provided more offense in similarly tough minutes.



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Sens Links
  • Here's the official press release from the Senators on Borowiecki's contract extension, followed by our discussion thread. [Ottawa SenatorsSilver Seven]
  • Randy Lee was on TSN1200 yesterday to talk about the extension. [TSN 1200]
  • Varada and Yost have some thoughts on the signing. [WTYKYTravis Yost]
  • Mark Stone, who's been training in Ottawa this season, stopped by for an interview with SensTV. [Ottawa Senators]
  • Erik Karlsson also returned to Ottawa, saying that he feels "miles better" than where he was at this time last year. I'd like to remind you all that last year, Erik Karlsson had 74 points, and was tied for the top scorer at the Olympic Games with 8. I love Erik Karlsson. [Ottawa SenatorsOttawa Citizen]
  • TSN + RDS announced their Senators regional broadcast package yesterday, and will have coverage of 54+ Senators games with a broadcast lineup of Chris Cuthbert/Gord Miller with Ray Ferraro/Jamie McLennan. Top notch. [Ottawa Senators]
  • Yost had a column on the supposed extension for Craig Anderson, who met with Pierre Dorion in Chicago last week. [Travis Yost]
  • Nichols has a transcription of the entire Randy Lee segment I linked last time, so give it a read/listen if you haven't already! [6th Sens]
  • Amelia has a good read on someone we haven't been talking about much, Alex Chiasson. Can't wait to get an in-depth look at him in September [Silver Seven]
  • Our Top 25 Under 25 series continued with Ian tackling #15 Derek Grant, and Sheer_Craziness looking at former Ottawa 67 Shane Prince [GrantPrince]
  • Our weekly question centers around snipers in the Atlantic (still laughing at that name) Division! [Weekly Question]
  • Lastly, thanks to everyone I met at the first annual Sens Summer Fan Fest! It was very exciting, and I can't send enough praise to Kevin Lee and the Bonk's Mullet gang for organizing such a great event and raising $1000 for the Ottawa Senators Foundation. Hope to see more of you next year. Here's a recap! [Bonk's Mullet]
NHL Links
  • Talking about character, here's an interesting interview of Josh Ho-Sang, who speaks on why he might not have been invited to Team Canada's WJC Camp. Fantastic read. [TSN]
  • The fantastic Justin Bourne has a tactics post centered around defensive zone exits for wingers [The Score]
  • Though this is on baseball, here's a great piece on how to exploit draft inefficiencies which is definitely relevant to the NHL from Arik Parnass [Link]
Thanks for reading!