Last week brought us a Mike Hoffman extension. So far this week, nothing’s happened. But, as always, there are things to talk about. Here are five things on my mind.
1. The Atlantic Division
We’ve started a series asking three questions to every SB Nation blog, and I’ve noticed one overwhelming thing now that we’re done the Sens’ division: everyone sees this as a weak division. Basically everyone except the Maple Leafs and Sabres expect their teams to make the playoffs (and to be fair, I didn’t ask the Sabres this question), which means there will definitely be disappointed fans. Personally, I expect the Senators to make it, but when six teams think it’s a guarantee and at most five will make it, who knows?
2. Top 25 Under 25
We had another series going on this week in our annual T25U25, and there were some comments that the first few players were rather underwhelming. I think it says a lot about the state of the Sens’ prospect system. I said the team essentially has three categories of players:
- Mark Stone
- Decent NHL players or prospects with potentially high ceilings
- Who? feat. Max McCormick
Is that good? I think there’s very little correlation between having a good prospect pool and future success. Unless your T25U25 includes a gamebreaker like Sidney Crosby or Jonathan Toews, there’s no telling how it’ll work out. Hockey’s Future had the Sens with second-best prospect pool in the entire league to start
2012-13, and the Sens turned that into... one playoff series win? So anyway, the Sens don’t seem to have a particularly deep talented prospect pool, but I’m not sure that’s too much of a concern.
3. Eric Gryba
The site manager from three iterations ago had this to say yesterday:
Although maybe it's time we talk about Eric Gryba, who doesn't have a contract yet. I think that's a shame... he's a good third pairing guy.— Peter Raaymakers (@rymkrs) August 4, 2016
And well, I don’t know what I think. Gryba is fine. He’s an adequate third-pairing defenceman. There aren’t a lot of remaining UFA D that I’d like more. Nicklas Grossmann? The shell of Barret Jackman? The main thing is if Guy Boucher is going to insist on left-right pairings, I’d prefer to see the team sign a left-shooting d-man. That being said, adding Gryba wouldn’t be a move that I think would significantly impact the Sens either way. But at this time of the summer, you take what hockey-related things you can get.
4. Top NHL players
The NHL Network is starting a series ranking the top 20 forwards, 20 defencemen, and 10 goalies in the NHL. And, well, I have a hard time getting excited about that. It just seems very “August in the NHL”. Sidney Crosby remains the best player in the NHL, and the only time these series change is when someone feels the need to be controversial. Like picking Toews over Crosby when Toews won the Cup, or picking Carey Price over Crosby in a redraft of 2005 last year. There will be interesting things for sure (where does Connor McDavid slot?), but I have a hard time seeing this as cutting-edge content.
Or maybe I’m just bitter Erik Karlsson won’t be #1.
5. Cody Ceci extension
Hoffman being extended leaves the Sens with just one remaining RFA: Ceci. Where he will fall is anyone’s guess. Dorion’s said they’ve discussed contract lengths from one to six years at a variety of figures. So here’s a little question for the comments: what do you think Ceci’s final contract will be? I’m on record predicting conservatively at two years, $4.8M (total).