You know what time it is: links, news, and notes for Thursday!
- Supposed “best player in training camp” Artem Anisimov was placed on waivers yesterday, and we will know shortly if he got claimed or not. Pierre Dorion would’ve been shopping him on the trade market, but the fact that he had to be waived means that no team was willing to give anything up for him. Since Anisimov is a centre, people thought that was good news for Logan Brown, but...
- Logan Brown was actually sent down to Belleville just hours after. Dorion has said that he wants to see Brown get some action in the AHL before hopefully playing in Ottawa shortly after, which is fine. Although it is a bit perplexing as to why he was called up to the taxi squad in the first place. We’ll see Brown soon enough because of another centre who might be on his way out...
- Dorion said yesterday that Derek Stepan has not requested a trade to an American team, although that could either be semantics or a lie. Sources such as Elliotte Friedman, Bruce Garrioch, and others have been reporting that a Stepan trade might happen due to his desire to be with his family (combined with his poor play), and I can’t imagine him staying in Ottawa past the trade deadline. With a potential Stepan departure, that could be a perfect opportunity for Logan Brown to get playing time.
- On the rest of Dorion’s TSN1200 radio hit, he had a few noteworthy points:
Pierre Dorion to @TSN1200 - if Marcus Hogbergs play doesn’t improve “we’re going to have to evaluate other options”— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) February 10, 2021
#Sens GM Pierre Dorion on Stützle: “Tim’s a fantastic player...we competes, works hard, etc...He just has to figure out at times that the smart play is to dump it in instead of trying to deke around 3-4 people”.— SENS TALK (@senstalk_) February 10, 2021
#Sens GM Pierre Dorion on Erik Brannstrom and Christian Wolanin: “We are seeing a different player this year from Brannstrom...Wolanin has put it in full gear in the NHL.”— SENS TALK (@senstalk_) February 10, 2021
So there’s some good and some bad in there, with certainly lots to talk about. You can listen to the rest of his interview here.
- In Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 thoughts, he says that Mike Reilly could also be on the move once Erik Brännström is cleared to play. Based on the comments from fans I’ve seen about him so far this year, I think people would be more than okay with that.
- Is Artem Zub...actually good?
After an impressive 84.28% Corsi, 27 attempts for, five against, Artem Zub ranks second league-wide in even-strength Corsi among defenseman playing six games or more. Only Cale Makar's 61.61% is better than Zub (64.26). #Sens #avs— Murray Pam (@Pammerhockey) February 10, 2021
It’s an incredibly small sample of six games, but he’s looked steady out there, plus he has the possession stats to back that up. I’m not ready to call him a key piece of the blueline just yet, but he’s clearly better than most of the other defensemen that have been playing thus far.
- On the TSN intermission on Tuesday, Bruce Garrioch mentioned something interesting about Drake Batherson:
Garrioch says on the broadcast that he believes the Senators seriously considered scratching Drake Batherson. I don't know, seems like it'd be a goofy thing to do.— Graeme Nichols (@6thSens) February 10, 2021
Now, there’s no point in getting upset until it actually happens, but if they do scratch Batherson, it’ll be a big mistake. Apologies for tooting my own horn here, but he’s been one of the unluckiest players in the league:
Ottawa's SH% with Drake Batherson on the ice is 2.13% (and 4.52% in all situations).— Trevor Shackles (@ShackTS) February 10, 2021
Combined with an xGF% of 55%, he's one of the last people I'm worried about. Get outta here, come on.
I’m not worried about Batherson, and I hope neither is the coaching staff.
- Matt Murray got off to the worst start imaginable, and it was more than fair to criticize him. He still has a paltry .886 SV%, but if you look at his last 4 games, you can see a glimmer of hope that he is turning things around:
I meant to include Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx), which is a better goalie stat than Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA) as it takes into account shot quality:— Paül (@PaulGb_) February 10, 2021
GSAx: -7.45 (50th/50)
GSAx: 3.8 (1st/32)
- As previously alluded to, the Belleville Senators are back! Sort of. They have their first four games scheduled, and it looks like they will take things one step at a time after that. Either way, some good prospects will finally get playing time:
- Bell Media has made even more cuts this week to its programming, and these ones are even more baffling. TSN sports radio in Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Hamilton were shut down, and every sports talk radio member was abruptly let go on Tuesday. It was another needlessly sad day for the sports media world, as these stations were not only surviving but thriving. It’s incredibly disappointing to see these kinds of decisions made by Bell, and I hope Ottawa’s station will be able to hang on.
- Scott Wheeler of The Athletic ranked the Senators farm system as 3rd best in the league, moving up four spots from last year. It’s a very in-depth look at the system, and if you haven’t subscribed yet, I highly recommend signing up.
- NHL analyst Kevin Weekes was reportedly the runner-up for the Pittsburgh Penguins President of Hockey Operations role. He has reportedly interviewed with many other teams in similar positions, and I wonder if Ottawa has ever taken a look at him for either a POHO role or something different. I can’t speak to whether or not he’d be a good fit, but the Senators desperately need someone to lighten Dorion’s workload, plus it would be great to have a spokesperson as well. Who knows if Weekes would even want to come to Ottawa, but I thought it was at least worth mentioning.
- And lastly folks, Brian Burke is back in the NHL:
Let’s just say that’ll be an interesting experiment.