Two weeks ago, Silver Seven user Valley Milkman had a great FanPost that highlighted an important reality for many of the AHLers under contract in the Senators organization: it's time to establish yourself. Why? As put in the piece:
Ottawa has 24 non roster players, 8 of which are signed beyond next season. Of the remaining 16 players whose contracts will expire after the upcoming year, Kostka and Mullen are the only two who will qualify for group 3 unrestricted free agency (aka, the "regular" free agency, not the one that Grant and Wideman qualified for this past season).
Here you see the Senators dilemma. Due to the lack of roster space at the NHL level because of poor management decisions, the team can't really see what prospects like Shane Prince, Chris Wideman, Matt Puempel, Fredrik Claesson, and Cole Schneider can do at the NHL level... yet. With all five of these 'NHL-ready' players as RFAs, they either have to force themselves onto the NHL roster with a Mike Hoffman-like AHL performance, wait for injury, or be consistent in their spot on the organizational depth chart to ensure that they aren't passed by Nick Paul, Tobias Lindberg, Ben Harpur, or Mikael Wikstrand.
Most of the BSens roster are RFAs next year, and there's no real graduation threat from the Junior/NCAA ranks as most of those players will either play out their four NCAA eligible years, stay in the CHL until their 20, or hone their craft in Europe. Thus, they only have each other to compete against, and is also why following the BSens is going to be plenty of fun this year. Given that there's not going to be a massive influx of talent to Binghamton in the offseason, I think there's only a *couple* of players who run the risk of not receiving a qualifying offer if things go poorly this season: Alex Chiasson on the NHL level, Alex Guptill, Travis Ewanyk, and Troy Rutkowski on the AHL level. Age is also a big factor at play, as Fredrik Claesson, Shane Prince, and Matt Puempel are RFAs, but are 22/23, while Eric O'Dell and Cole Schneider are 25. The window is a LOT smaller for the older players as it is for the younger ones.
All in all, I hope the depth chart is useful for all of you! This exercise showed me that the Senators still have a ton of work to do on the NHL end in terms of clearing contracts if they want to give Prince et al. a fair shot with this organization. If they can't, Bryan Murray hasn't been shy in trading players or letting them go for a better opportunity, so don't be alarmed if you see a number of these AHL RFA's packaged up at the trade deadline if the Sens want to add a piece.
- The Top 25 Under 25 series continues, with Ross on Andreas Englund, B_T on Jared Cowen, Richard on Colin White, Callum on Alex Chiasson, Trevor on Fredrik Claesson, and Michaela on Matt O'Connor. [Silver Seven T25U25 - #18, #17, #16, #15, #14, #13]
- Chirp looks at all the "What-if's" from this offseason in a great post that outlines all of the options that didn't happen. [SensChirp]
- Chet Sellers contributes to the offseason with the most August post ever -- a guide to Sens summer cocktails. [WTYKY]
- The SenShot crew goes over their keys to the 2015-16 season. Though there's a lot of good, young pieces on the team, the Senators need some players (hi Jared Cowen, Cody Ceci!) to take the next step. [SenShot]
- Curtis Lazar was featured last week, with a fantastic guest post on his junior days from a dedicated Oil Kings fan and Lazar himself posting a hockey card where he replaced himself with Marian Hossa. Chirp also has a column on Lazar, where he states that he's doubtful that the Sens will assign him to Binghamton. [Silver Seven, Hockey Card, SensChirp]
- InGoal Magazine released their top-50 goaltending prospects list, and two Senators were featured. Matt O'Connor at 22nd overall, and Marcus Hogberg as an honourable mention. [InGoalMag]
- Speaking of goaltenders, the Senators will be expecting a lot more out of Andrew Hammond this coming season, in the sense that it's up to him to establish himself as a consistent NHL backup. Chirp's piece also features a wonderful highlight video that's worth the click. [SensChirp]
- Brian Reynolds looks at what we can expect out of Mike Hoffman's sophomore year. Here's hoping it's another 20+ goals! [SenShot]
- An offseason column on Marc Methot, who had a bit of a tumultuous offseason last year. If he's healthy, Ottawa will be fine. If not, they're going to rely on a third-pair player to help Erik Karlsson... again. [Ottawa Citizen]
- NKB does a great job of rationalizing the prospect news last week in his Five Thoughts column. [Silver Seven]
- Peter Levi's News and Notes column as a prospect focus as well, this time looking at Corey Pronman and Hockey Prospectus' lists. [Eye on the Sens]
- bRian5or6, a fantastic follow on Twitter, will be writing for Bonk's Mullet this coming season. [Bonk's Mullet]
- I hope that some of you were able to make it out to the Sens Summer Fan Fest on Sunday! I couldn't attend this year, but last year's was a blast. The folks over at Sens Callups recorded the blogger panel, featuring our Callum Fraser AND Adnan! Give it a listen! [Sens Callups]
- A piece by Toni McIntyre on how the NHL community's recent actions towards women is leading to unintended consequences. [The Riveter]
- A probability exercise by Ed Feng that is applied to baseball streaks in this instance, but can easily be replicated in how we think about hockey. [Detroit News]
- A two-part series on the "new" NHL defenseman: the first by Justin Bourne, and the second by Connor Tompkins. [The Score, Null Hypothesis Hockey]
- An exploration piece by Arik Parnass on how pace of play can affect shooting percentages. The Senators have always been a high-event team under Paul MacLean and Dave Cameron, for the record. [AP Hockey]
- Oooh Ah Silfverberg signed a 4-year, $3.75M extension with the Anaheim Ducks. [Anaheim Ducks]
- A really interesting piece on a high school football coach who is revolutionizing tactics with his outside-the-box thinking. [Washington Post]
- Part 2302903 of "Jeremy Jacobs is the Worst" [Boston Globe]