Hi folks! I started this series on Tuesday, which looks at the prospects in the Senators system to give all of you an update on what there is in the pipeline, and the player's strengths and weaknesses. There are many defensive prospects in the organization, so I'll be splitting them up by their handedness. Murray and co. like to play right-shooting defensemen on the right side and left-shooting defensemen on the left side, so you can look at this as a list of "right defensemen" in the organization if you'd like.
Side note: players on strictly AHL contracts (Alex Grant, Patrick Mullen) won't be considered here.
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Let's start this post off by looking at the Senators best, and oldest, right-handed D prospect, Chris Wideman. Selected #100 overall in 2009, Wideman had a pretty prolific NCAA career with the University of Miami (Ohio) Redhawks, being named to the CCHA's all-rookie team and second-all star team, and helping Miami to regular season dominance over his four years there. In his third season with Binghamton, Wideman is leading all AHL D in points with 35 (in 40 games) and is 5th in the league (!) in shots on goal. Wideman is a bit of an older prospect, and needed a big year to keep his NHL dream alive. He played mostly third pair minutes at even-strength last year, but has taken on a bigger role with the club, along with Freddie Claesson, on a really thin Binghamton D corps that currently features two players on PTOs.
Here are some scouting reports on the 5'10 defenseman
From Peter Levi:
Wideman was not ranked in either year of his draft eligibility by Central Scouting. An undersized, puck-moving blueliner, Wideman finished his senior year at Miami and signed a two-year ELC with Ottawa. While he never topped his rookie production at Miami, he remained the teams most productive blueliner throughout his collegiate career. As with any undersized defenseman, his quickness (decision making and speed) will determine how well he adapts to the pro game.
The offensive minded number 6 was paired up with Mike Sdao and Ben Blood on occasion, for the third unit while he emerged quarterbacking the number one power play unit. The intelligent defenseman with his crisp passing and accurate shooting from near the center blue line reminds me of André Benoit in ways having similar characteristics as he feathers in a goal past bodies in front or off a player or two getting a re-direct into the back of the net. Also makes accurate up ice passes threading the needle leading the rush out of his zone.
Wideman is a smooth skating blue liner, with great vision. Shows excellent puck patience and loves to create that kind of offense. Has a fierceness about him when pushed. Plays with an edge which sometimes results into some badly timed penalties especially on the power play, but didn’t make it a regular habit.
Not the most physical type of player on the ice but will play the body when necessary and did get into three fisticuffs last season. He likes to use his stick taking away passing lanes while limiting shot attempts. Possibly overlooked about his small stature but a team leader in the locker room nonetheless while serving as one of the team’s assistant captain’s.
His strength is his intelligence with and without the puck, most notably his ability to make the right decision in high-pressure situations and his gap control with both the body and stick. Binghamton Senators coach Luke Richardson praised Wideman saying, "He's climbed the charts quickly. And he has a chance to play some NHL games." That’s much improved from his status in 2012. Defense is a tough position to play, and often takes years of practice and maturation. Wideman’s development and progress should not be understated and is encouraging for the future.
Overall, Wideman is the closest to making at the NHL, but provides a completely different dynamic than current third pair RD Eric Gryba. It remains to be seen whether the Senators will be the team to give him a chance, much like Mike Hoffman last year, but I hope that they do.
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Remember when the Senators drafted a player with a 4th round pick and the main good thing we knew about him was that he was Brian Boyle's brother?
From the New England Hockey Journal:
Late bloomer is Rangers forward Brian Boyle’s younger brother. A work in
progress who isn’t quite as big or skilled, but has worked hard to be a player. Skated with
Chris Calnan and Adam Gilmour at Nobles and activates smartly to jump into the rush.
From Sens scouts Pierre Dorion and Bob Janecyk:
I'm sure they just didn't see Boyle once... right? Also worrying that the former source listed his best attribute as a "hard-worker". Anyways, Boyle is a longshot to be signed by the Senators. After not playing much in Union (the recent NCAA Champion) in his freshmen year, Boyle left and is now playing a year in the USPHL before transferring to an NCAA division III team, Endicott College.
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The last right-handed defense prospect for the Senators (yup, they only have three) is 2014 draft pick Kelly Summers. Some of you may have watched him play last year, as he's an alumni of the Carleton Place Canadians. The 6'1, 196lbs defensemen was named the CCHL's rookie of the year and top prospect before being taken by his hometown club in the 7th round. In case you're wondering if the CCHL has ever produced NHL players, here you go (the short answer is yes). On Central Scouting's final rankings of North American skaters, Summers was ranked 73rd overall, a big jump from his midterm ranking of 155th and adequately highlights Summers' improved play.
Here's a profile on Summers from Buzzing the Net, which I highly recommend checking out. This quote is taken from there:
Central Scouting has only two Canadian Junior A players ranked above Summers, who tallied 17 goals and 60 points over 56 games. Those are exceptional numbers for any defender, let alone one who's only 17 years old.
"He's a special player — he'll be a top-four guy in the NHL at some point for sure," Canadians coach Jason Clarke says. "Kelly's work ethic and Kelly's attention to detail and just overall maturity level has really just come to fruition ever since Christmastime. He's really taken the next step to becoming an elite player.
"I think the big thing for Kelly is it's just him getting bigger, stronger, faster, His talent that he has, his hockey sense is just a God-given talent and he just has to move forward with some real hard work."
From SBN College Hockey:
Lastly, this video from Sens area scout, Justin Murray:
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Summers started off a little slow in his first season with Clarkson - typical for a young defenseman entering a tough league - but has come on strong recently. Summers is currently 9th among freshmen D in scoring in the ECAC, and can jump to 3rd with two more points. I'm really interested to see how he develops, as it looks like the Senators may have scored a late round gem with this one.
- Lots of newsworthy things since the last Nuggets! First, your game recaps from the Senators loss yesterday to the Dallas Stars. [Silver Seven, Rank the Performances, Ottawa Citizen, SensChirp, SenShot]
- Lots of stories from Jason Spezza's return to Ottawa yesterday, including his thoughts on the Cup final team. [6th Sens, Ottawa Citizen]
- A storyline from yesterday is the splitting up of long-time linemates Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris in order to spread out the offense. MacArthur, who joined Zibanejad and Ryan, looked great all night. [Ottawa Citizen]
- In case you're wondering what the rest of the week looks like, Joe and George have a preview! [Bonk's Mullet]
- Daniel Alfredsson will be awarded the Key to the City in March, announced Mayor Jim Watson on Bell Let's Talk day, which I'm sure isn't coincidental given how much Alfie has advocated for mental health awareness in his work with the community. [Silver Seven, 6th Sens]
- Roster note: Colin Greening has cleared waivers and has been sent to the Binghamton Senators. [Silver Seven, SensChirp, Ottawa Citizen]
- Another roster note: The Senators have signed Brad Mills to a one-year two-way contract. Mills was on a PTO with the BSens when he was suspended due to PED use. Nichols and Jack have thoughts on this + Greening here. [6th Sens, SenShot]
- Injury update: Craig Anderson is out with a hand injury (no! not the chicken!), so Andrew Hammond backed up Lehner last night. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Even before yesterday's loss, Trevor believes that the Senators should be more realistic in their outlook for this season . Travis then asks whether the Senators should "tank" , and Zachary follows this up with a look at some of the decisions the organization will have to make as the deadline approaches  [SenShot 1, SenShot 2, SenShot 3]
- Some of these decisions will revolve around the blueline, which is currently stacked with eight healthy defensemen. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Nichols analyzes where Bobby Ryan's goals are coming from this season in contrast to his previous years. He played fantastic yesterday. [6th Sens]
- The funniest (and most informative?) piece of the week from Chet Sellers, who should work in the Senators marketing department after creating this jersey-buying flowchart. [WTYKY]
- Jeff argues that the Binghamton Senators are swimming upstream without a paddle, and after watching a few of their games this year, I tend to agree. [SenShot]