The Senators need a top-four defenseman. This, by now, looks to be like a fact.
AGM Pierre Dorion is pleased with the Senators place in the standings but knows the team has to tighten up defensively to be playoff threat.— Wayne Scanlan (@HockeyScanner) November 26, 2015
"It's like in baseball, you can't give a team 37 outs, I think you have to give a team 27 outs," Dorion said. Extra chances can be costly.— Wayne Scanlan (@HockeyScanner) November 26, 2015
The big question though, is who or what the Senators may have to give up to acquire a defender that is both a) good and b) cost-controlled for the foreseeable future. This means NO to overvalued 'veteran' options like Kris Russell or Trevor Daley, where the Senators could reasonably get a small upgrade for a minor price. For the type of defenseman we're talking about, the Senators are going to have to give up something of value. It could be another, lesser value defenseman like Patrick Wiercioch or Jared Cowen, packed with something that is enticing enough to force the other team to give up the better asset. It could also be an exchange of young talent, with the Senators giving up a Cody Ceci or Curtis Lazar.
Another option is a player who's incredibly skilled, but an RFA that the Senators may have to shell out big bucks for very soon, like Mike Hoffman. It hurts me to say this as Hoffman is one of my favourite Senators, but he's exactly the type of talent that the Senators can sell high on and acquire something that may be more beneficial for the team. Hoffman is the rare blend of being aesthetically pleasing to watch on the ice, with plus speed and hands with a wicked shot to boot. He's exactly the type of player that you'd love in a scoring role, but he's also a little on the older side for a young player. You don't need the numbers to know how bad the Senators have been on D, but the worrying part has been the lack of improvement of the current group that features Cowen, Wiercioch, and Ceci. With the bulk of the team in their prime (Anderson, Methot, Karlsson, Turris, Ryan, etc.), can the team afford to wait longer than the 3+ years they've already been waiting?
Over past 5 seasons, here are the sum total of external D-men acquired by Sens: Gilroy, Lundin, Corvo, Methot. This is kind of insane.— Tyler Ray (@DefenseMinister) November 8, 2015
Thus, the question I have for you to discuss in the comments and vote in the poll is: would you trade Mike Hoffman for a bonafide top-four defenseman? A Jared Spurgeon, Cam Fowler type of player?
- Two games, two wins! Here are your recaps from Tuesday night's victory vs. the Dallas Stars. [Silver Seven, SensChirp]
- Next, your recaps from Wednesday night's victory vs. the Colorado Avalanche. [Silver Seven, SensChirp]
- The BSens also played this week, and although they lost to their arch-rivals in Wilkes-Barre, they finally have something to build off of. [Silver Seven]
- As a non-Ottawan, one thing I'm always surprised to learn is just how big of an impact the Senators have on the city as a whole. Here's a piece by Adam Stanley on the impact the Sens have on the local economy. [Ottawa Sun]
- Trevor discusses the long leash that the league (+ the Sens in particular) seem to attach to a player just because they were a first round pick. I wonder if we'll see that w/ Matt Puempel, who was a first-rounder, over Shane Prince, who was drafted in the same year, but in the second round. [Silver Seven]
- A piece by Pierre LeBrun on Daniel Alfredsson's season thus far. He seems to really like the scouting aspect of the game, and for a team that has generally done poorly with evaluating NHL-level talent AND has very few pro scouts, I wouldn't mind seeing Alfie settle here. [ESPN]
- Jeff's Bingo Bites look at the steady play of two veterans that are on expiring deals. Their chance at playing in Ottawa has likely passed, but they've been keeping the BSens in games lately. [Silver Seven]
- We've always intuitively known that giving long-term contracts to players who play a "big" physical game isn't a good decision because their play wears down quicker than an average player. Now we have some data to support that finding. [Hockey-Graphs]
- A piece on how advanced hockey analysis means absolutely nothing unless people can understand the concepts being discussed at a basic level. [NHLNumbers]
- Here's a piece on Pens D Adam Clendening, a player who closely resembles Chris Wideman's style of game. Really easy to see the parallels here, and the main message of the piece stands. [PensBurgh]
- If you're really interested into deep levels of analysis, our friend Stefan has a fantastic series on the application of latent variables in hockey. [Stories Numbers Tell - I, II, III, IV]
- Justin Bourne, the Score writer that I often feature in these Nuggets because of his fantastic tactical analysis is now.... an assistant coach with the Toronto Marlies. Although it's for the enemy, congrats to Justin! [The Leafs Nation]
- Speaking of writing, here are two pieces that were very well-shared and discussed this week on the topic of how sports writing is changing. The first from Arik Parnass, and a response by Zoe Claire. [Medium - Parnass, Medium - Claire]
- A basketball piece on how Drake is leaving his role on the Raptors, despite not being on the court. I bring it up because we've seen recruiting efforts by non-hockey personnel feature into organizational decisions before. From a management side, remember how getting a call from Daniel Alfredsson helped convince Matt O'Connor that this is where he should play? [Sportsnet]
- I can't mention basketball without mentioning the Golden State Warriors, right? Here's a wonderful piece on an underrated part of Steph Curry's game: his footwork. [NYTimes]
Thanks for reading!