To cap off our look at Sens free agents, I thought I'd take a quick glimpse down under and list off some bullet point opinions on where the situation stands with many of the BSens free agents. As with most organizational depth, many players in the minors are only signed to one or two year deals at most. However, they shouldn't be underestimated as an NHL organization only has 50 standard player contracts (SPC's) to hand out. Bad contracts, even in the minors, can limit the ability to move players at the big league level.
[As always, cap situation garnered from our friends over at General Fanager]
Unrestricted Free Agents
- The Ottawa native has had a rough year in Binghamton. Generally playing top-four minutes, he's taken a bunch of bad penalties and only has 4 points to show for it. However, he's big, fast, and provides Veteran Leadership (TM). Earlier this week, Randy Lee mentioned how he likes to have guys like Fraser around to protect the younger prospects and to be a fill-in call-up if needed. I think he may get re-upped for another year, especially given the lack of defensive depth currently in Binghamton, although I would personally move on.
- Ol' Thor has had a couple of call-ups to the Senators albeit unable to get into an actual game. The 30-year old has been consistent for the BSens and is putting up a 0.5 PPG while headmanning their powerplay. An example of a good veteran who can actually play with skill, I'd keep him around if he wants to stay. His ~65 games of NHL experience help, too.
- What the Senators are doing with Matt Frattin reminds me of when the team had to waive Cory Conacher and loan Joe Corvo to the Chicago Wolves just to be able to absorb Ales Hemsky's salary a couple of years ago. Frattin currently makes his NHL salary while in the minors -- something the Senators cannot afford to pay -- so although he's Senators property, he's still playing with the Marlies. I doubt he'll re-up with the BSens given all of this and if he can't get an NHL contract, he'll likely move onto overseas hockey.
Restricted Free Agents
- signed as a college free agent out of Lake Superior State, Robinson left the NCAA early to try to get a headstart on the organization's depth chart. He started off with a ton of promise, being hailed as a 4th line RW replacement for Neil at his first training camp due to his size (6'5, 225lbs) and speed. However, despite his strength on the forecheck and penalty kill, Robinson has been pretty ineffectual as a puck carrier and has been unable to improve on his rookie numbers very much. He started off the year injured (only 41 games played) and never seemed to get back into a groove, but has also been paired with some marginal AHL talent for most of the season. At 24, I'd maybe give him one more contract to try and prove himself (only him, Schneider, and Stortini are listed as RWers).
- A first team all-star with Penn State before he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs last offseason, Casey Bailey is a 24 year old that I'd definitely keep around. Unlike some of the others on the list, Bailey is now finishing up his entry level deal (the age thing happens with college players) and provides some needed *good* centre depth for the BSens. A depth player with the league-leading Marlies, Bailey will be given more ice-time and opportunity with the BSens.
- The "other" part of the Jason Spezza deal, Guptill has been unable to deliver after being named CCHA rookie of the year with Michigan in 2011-12. He's only spent three games with the BSens this season and back in January, was loaned to the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL -- a team not even affiliated with the Senators. He's gone.
- Much like Guptill, Ewanyk was the leftover from the Eric Gryba deal. A year younger, the 22 year old has spent 40 games with the BSens this season, but only has 5 points and hasn't been good on their porous penalty kill when he's been on. A rugged centre that was drafted in the 3rd round by the Oilers after 27 points in 72 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL), I'd move on. He Works Hard and was an Assistant Captain though, so..
- Although he hasn't had as good of a season as the player he was brought in to replace, Derek Grant, the 25 yo O'Dell has been a bright spot for the BSens as one of the team's leading scorers. Again, he provides centre depth like Nick Paul and Casey Bailey, and should be kept around for the foreseeable future. As his 41 NHL games suggest, he's available as a fill-in too in case of injury, although the team has often given spot duty to its young players first.
- Oh Cole. After 3+ years as one of the BSens leading players without a call-up, I wouldn't be surprised if he asks the team to let him move on. Randy Lee mentioned how his skating is the only thing holding him back from being a depth NHL player, but I think he'd be fine if given the opportunity. Smart, cerebral, with great vision, he reminds me of Erik Condra and has been a staple on Binghamton's top-six ever since he was brought in. I *think* he may have a contract situation similar to Chris Wideman's last year where he could be a Group VI UFA, but I'm not sure. I'd definitely re-sign him if he wanted to stay.
- After he was let go by the Colorado Avalanche (have you SEEN their defensive depth?), the 5th round pick in 2010 was awarded an entry-level deal by the Senators to help out in Binghamton. You can see why: he was a leader on the WHL powerhouse Portland Winterhawks teams and had 66 points in 72 games in his last season there. However, it looks like he was the beneficiary of his teammates rather than the other way around, as his ineffectual skating has left him unable to transfer his offensive skills over to the BSens. Given that he's only suited up for 30 AHL games over the last three season (spending most of his time in the ECHL), I think he's gone. When you can't crack a D corps as bad as Binghamton's, it's probably for the best.
Ryan Dzingel + Max McCormick
- Constantly paired together, I think you know what the organization things of the former Ohio State boys. Dueling 2011 picks, both have seen NHL time this year at the back-end of their entry level deal. I expect both to re-up and be leaders for the BSens next season while serving as initial call-ups for the Senators when they're in trouble.
- It's funny how the players the Senators chose in the later rounds of the 2009 draft (Hoffman, Wideman, Sdao) are the ones to remain, with Cowen, Silfverberg, and Lehner all shipped out via trade after being hailed as cornerstones of the franchise. The organization always says nice things to the 6'4, 225lb blueliner in training camp, but given his age (26) and his injury status (only suited up for 14 games in Binghamton), the team may opt to move on. IF he is kept around, it's for depth reasons.
- Traded for in January, Allen is onto his third NHL organization. He's actually spent the last couple of games as forward (!), which is slightly shocking given the BSens poor defense, and makes me confused on whether the team sees him as part of the organization down the road or whether they just made the trade to get rid of Mullen's higher AHL salary. Given that he's likely a better option than Sdao, Rutkowski, and the ECHLers currently in Binghamton, I'd keep him around.
Randy Lee lists Quentin Shore, Francis Perron, Gabriel Gagne (early birthday) as players who could potentially play w/ #BSens next year— 『 ary 』 (@carteciel) February 12, 2016
- The Senators played two games this week and won (!) them both. First, your game recaps vs. the Sabres. [Silver Seven, SensChirp, Ottawa Citizen]
- Next, your game recaps from a hard fought win vs. the Canes. [Silver Seven, SensChirp, Ottawa Report]
- Since our last check-in, the BSens have played three games. Jeff has recaps for all! Like their parent club, the team went 2-1-0. [Silver Seven - vs. Lehigh Valley, vs. Syracuse, vs. St. John's]
- In more Binghamton news, Jeff looks at the play of Ryan Dzingel and Matt O'Connor - two prospects on different trajectories right now. [Silver Seven]
- Speaking of Dzingel - he was the topic of a feature piece by the Citizen. [Ottawa Citizen]
- The folks over at TSN 1200 had Randy Lee on to ask him about the prospects the Sens gave up in the Phaneuf trade, Ryan Dzingel, and organizational depth. Nichols has a transcript, and Peter has thoughts on the interview as a whole! [6th Sens, Eye on the Sens]
- Rob also has a look at the Sens future, just from a different, dystopian angle. [Bonk's Mullet]
- My favourite piece of this edition of the Nuggets comes courtesy of James and Luke. They break down the team's plans for the future eloquently and (I think) accurately captures the fanbase's feelings. [WTYKY]
- For the last two weeks, we've been running our "Free Agent Dossier" series to give you all a glimpse of the Senators free agents (UFAs + RFAs) this upcoming offseason. Here's the full series! [Silver Seven - UFA Neil, RFA Hoffman, RFA Chiasson, RFA Prince, RFA Puempel, RFA Wiercioch, UFA Wideman, RFA Ceci, RFA Claesson]
- Want to get caught up on Sens happenings? Chirp has a great column that touches on all of the hit points: budget, Murray's future, decisions on Neil/Smith/Wiercioch, and Drouin. [SensChirp]
- Nichols has a wonderful piece on Karlsson's dominance this season. I was worried we'd never see him at his 2013 self pre-injury, but it looks like we've gotten that and much more. I wish he was surrounded with better talent. [6th Sens]
- In contrast, Ross has an excellent piece on Drew Doughty's Norris case *chuckles* [Silver Seven]
- I must've missed this but Steve and Chet made me laugh the stomach-pain laugh with their video tributes to Jared Cowen. [Bonk's Mullet, WTYKY]
- Two more radio appearances for our team! First, Callum was on Ian Mendes' Advanced Chats, and Ross was on the Arctic Ice Hockey podcast! [Silver Seven]
- Nick Paul played his first couple games as a Senator this week and didn't look wildly out of place. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Who's up, who's down? Find out! [Silver Seven]
- Your end-of-Nuggets audio courtesy of Chet Sellers & Luke Persity. This time, they discuss the implications of the Phaneuf trade and what the Sens should do given their middling position in the standings. [Silver Seven]
- What does Erik Karlsson buy at IKEA? Find out now! [Sportsnet]
- An interesting post by David Johnson on whether underlying metrics predict the future or analyze the past. [Hockey Analysis]
- Want to become an 'analyst' of whatever sport you're interested in? Tom Worville has some great tips. [Medium]
- There's some strange overlap between WWE fans and hockey fans. Concussions affect both, and WWE star Daniel Bryan chose to retire at a young age due to them. The video in this piece is incredible. [Deadspin]
- Victor Hedman penned a piece on the differences between Swedish hockey and North American hockey that serves as an enlightening read. [The Players Tribune]
- I love behind-the-scenes stories, and Shannon Proudfoot has an excellent Sens-related one on Dion Phaneuf's hockey gloves. [Sportsnet]
- The quintessential Doughty vs. Karlsson piece, courtesy of Ryan Lambert. [Yahoo! Sports]
- The NHL chose to upload Dennis Wideman's suspension. The case, however, isn't closed. Look for Wideman to go to a neutral arbitrator to appeal. [NHLPA]