With the Senators as close to making the playoffs as they are to a top-five pick, and currently towing the line between selling and buying, I thought it'd be interesting to have a look at the prospects in the system to see what the areas of need are in the event that players are shipped out for assets - either in a "Bobby Ryan" type trade or if veterans like Phillips, Neil, and Legwand are moved to make room for younger players.
Today, we'll start with a brief look at the goaltenders in the system (non-NHLers), which is a very short list.
Hammond was an undrafted player that took the collegiate route after the BCHL and spent all four years at Bowling Green before the Senators took a chance on him. It's rare to find any scouting report on him, but here's what I could dig up.
From Chris Peters in 2013:
The Senators goalie pipeline needed to be replenished and Hammond is a sound option to help shore up the depth. At 6-1, 196, he has fair size, but his competitiveness has always been on display at BGSU. His breakout performance came last season as he helped Bowling Green make it to the CCHA finals before ultimately falling to Michigan in double overtime. Hammond made 55 saves that night in one of the great goaltending performances you’ll ever see. With Craig Anderson’s injury taxing Ottawa’s goalie pipeline, Hammond provides some instant relief in Binghamton. At 25, his NHL window may be smaller than a lot of other free agents coming out of college hockey, but he has certainly earned his shot at proving himself at the professional level.
Hammond had also attended the Blackhawks prospect camp and his coach spoke a lot about how Hammond has the "right mentality" to be a goaltender:
He’s not willing to accept mediocre or just OK. He wants to be great, and to him, that’s not just about words. It’s about the willingness to do what it takes every day.
Though he's had a couple of call ups to Ottawa on an emergency basis, Hammond has struggled a lot with the increased workload in Binghamton, and his inconsistent play has been one of their major problems. I'm doubtful that he'll ever be an NHL-calibre backup and this may be a factor if the Senators ever do trade Anderson or Lehner - they'd either need a goalie back or would have to go and immediately sign one.
Driedger was a great WHL goaltender for the Calgary Hitmen. He was supposedly given consideration to attend the Team Canada World Junior camp in 2012/13, and played in the CHL Top Prospects game in his draft year after an injury to Malcolm Subban. Here's a profile on Driedger, and some scouting reports on the Senators 3rd round pick in 2012.
Driedger displays a very calm demeanor in the net, and he moves with good balance due to a low center of gravity. He has very little excess movement, allowing him to move around without having to worry about over commiting. The six-foot-two, 186-pound goalie is a superb talent that combines size, athleticism and a professional demeanor that should have NHL scouts drooling. He is postionally and technically sound, has a good glove, excellent rebound control, and never gives up on a puck. His patience and calmness are Chris’ best strengths, and while he is still a low rated goalie, he has shown much improvement over the last year.
Driedger isn’t an elite goaltender yet. He was by no means one of the top CHL goalies, despite being named to the top prospects game, but many believe it was only because Malcolm Subban was injured and couldn’t take part in the event. It was shown this season that one bad goal seemed to hurt him throughout the course of a game, resulting in high scoring games…for the other team. He needs to battle the puck more.
Projected draft round:
With the amount of talent ahead of him, expect him to go around round 5-6.
At best, I would call him a mediocre NHL starter, along the lines of Devan Dubnyk or Alex Auld. He will likely turn into a solid NHL backup or AHL starter.
Driedger displays a very calm demeanor in the net, and he moves with good balance due to a low center of gravity. He has very little excess movement, and is the most minimalistic and economical of the four. His game is very simple; he doesn’t waste any excess energy, he stays in good position, and he shows elements of durability by quietly letting the puck, and the play, come to him.
Driedger was also named one of the most exciting NHL goalie prospects in 2013 by Brad Kurtzberg (Bleacher Report):
Driedger has spent the last two seasons with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. He finished last season with a healthy 36-14-4 record, a 2.51 GAA and a save percentage of .915.
The Winnipeg native rose to the occasion in the Memorial Cup Playoffs, putting up a 2.39 GAA and a .931 save percentage while going 11-4-2 and registering one shutout.
Driedger plays his angles well and has very little wasted movement out on the ice. He needs to improve his consistency and gain more experience before he can reach the NHL, which is probably about three years down the road.
After a strong career in Calgary, Driedger was expected to come in and win the backup job to support Andrew Hammond in Binghamton, but had a rocky camp and has played most of the year in the ECHL. Originally, I thought a goaltender playing in the ECHL is a really bad sign, but thought to look up this belief to see if it's true or not. Although it's certainly not ideal - most NHL goaltenders don't play in the ECHL at all - there are a few who have spent time there. Here's a (current) list of NHL goalies who have played 10+ games in ECHL, and eventually played 10+ NHL games
Quick (1 season), Holtby (1 season), Halak (1 season), Labarbera (2 seasons), Reimer (1 season), Neuvirth (1 season), Hutton (1 season), Hutchinson (2 seasons), Kuemper (1 season), Dubnyk (1 season), Zatkoff (1 season), Peters (1 season), Khudobin (2 seasons), Smith (1 season), Scrivens (1 season)
This list doesn't include Marty Biron, Manny Legace, Tim Thomas, or Tomas Vokoun, who all spent seasons in the minors. As you can see, most of the current NHL goalies only spent 1 season in the ECHL, so I'll start to worry about Driedger's development more if he's still playing for Evansville next year.
I left Hogberg for last purposely, as he's the best bet to become an NHL-calibre starter. Currently, the only U21 goaltenders playing in the SHL is a small list - three undrafted goaltenders and six drafted goaltenders. Of those six, only three have played 10+ games, and Hogberg leads the three in save percentage with a .906 for Linkoping. All good signs. Here's a profile on the Senators third round pick in 2013, and a scouting report from Justin Goldman:
Sens snag another big Swedish goalie, taking the first International goalie of the draft. In 23 games for Linkoping in Sweden’s top junior league (SuperElit J20), Marcus posted a 2.41 GAA and .917 SV% along with two shutouts, while also appearing on the international stage in two separate tournaments .. due to his solid 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame, he has the luxury of being able to play the progressive Swedish butterfly style, one in which he stays deeper in the crease and displays a wider stance in order to bait shooters to aim low.
Another from McKeens (via SensChirp):
big, poised goalie with sound technical abilities, plus sharp reflexes .. determined and competitive- yet plays calm and controlled – does not force plays and overcommit..reads and anticipates the play well .. adopts a progressive Swedish butterfly style .. a massive frame allows him to stay deeper and display a wider stance in order to bait shooters to aim low .. will challenge shooters though, and make saves at the top of his crease depending on the situation – his depth being referred to as ‘nonstatic’..uses his size to his advantage – stays tall in the butterfly with a straight back in order to optimize net coverage .. proficient at keeping himself square to the puckcarrier .. agile and balanced on his feet – both in stance and moving sideways .. smooth and proficient sliding laterally – or when recovering to skates – maintains a strong seal to the ice .. must guard against over-sliding or excess movements in the down position, which can expose unnecessary space over the shoulders .. shades of Nashville’s Pekka Rinne – in the ‘European’ mold.
- The Sens have an extended all-star break as they don't play again until Thursday night vs. Dallas. Dave Cameron called it a "mini training camp" which allows him to work on the details with his players. Given that he took over midseason, it'd be interesting if he uses this time to differentiate his system from MacLean's. Take a look at B_T's week ahead! [Silver Seven]
- The S7 staff had an email thread on the All-Star break and our thoughts on the Sens season so far. Give it a read and discuss your answers to the questions with us. [Silver Seven]
- Steph has a recap of the All-Star game in one of her great game summary drawings, and Jack has his thoughts on Hoffman, Ryan, and the high-scoring game. [WTYKY, SenShot]
- Trevor discusses whether the All-Star game should be made meaningful, like the MLB, or whether it should stay as it is - a show for the fans. [SenShot]
- Here are your post all-star break storylines frm the Citizen. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Chirp notes that the Senators are approaching the trade deadline as "selective buyers". What does that mean? Hopefully that Murray won't mortgage young assets for a "win-now" type of player. [SensChirp]
- Should the Senators trade David Legwand? The veteran forward was signed to a reasonable two-year deal in the offseason but after being a healthy scratch under Dave Cameron, it looks like the team is embracing the youth movement. Travis has more. [SenShot]
- Given all of this uncertainty with the lineup, Jean-Gabriel Pageau is taking it one game at a time. Given his rising ice-time, I think the Senators want to keep him with the big club. Of note, Pageau is the only regular with a >50% faceoff percentage. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Sheer_Craziness has your Ups and Downs for the short week. Of note, Erik Karlsson was named the NHL's second star of the week so guess what colour arrow he had? [Silver Seven]
- The Senators CFO (i.e. the one who helps Melnyk balance his budget), Erin Crowe, is leaving for another job. A name most of us might not know, but all indications are that she was a very important person as many present and former Senators execs praised her work with the organization. It's rare to see a woman in such a high ranking executive position with a hockey club and Scanlan's piece touches on some of the hardships she had to face. [6th Sens, Ottawa Citizen]
- Jack talks about how Bryan Murray is deserving of admittance into the Hockey Hall of Fame and I completely agree. His fellow GMs are thinking of holding something for him at the next set of meetings. [SenShot]
- Your prospect + AHL All-Star update from Ian. The BSens seem to be in a similar situation as the big team right now, minus the fact that goaltending is their biggest weakness. [Silver Seven]
- Here's Jeff's game recaps from the two BSens losses last week (one in OT!). [SenShot - v. St. John's, SenShot - v. Hershey]
- Jeff also talks about the AHL All-Star weekend, which looked to be fun for Prince (3G 1A) and Wideman. [SenShot]
- We're all hyped about the 2015 draft, but should the Senators consider trading their first round pick given the current age of their core players? Richard takes a look in this great fanpost. [Silver Seven]