Dearest readers, welcome, to this the most dreaded assignment I’ve taken on this site (and I’ve recapped my share of Pacific coast losses, lemme tell ya). In a perfect world, every first round pick would pan out into the every day NHL player we hope them to become, every prospect acquired via trade would transition smoothly into the system, and no one would ever have to write a piece like this. In the real world however, expectations go unfulfilled and this leaves us with disappointment. Let the pain commence by taking a look at our three nominees (and if you missed the first instalment then check it out!):
Vitaly Abramov: The 23-year-old winger who came to Ottawa as part of the Matt Duchene trade with Columbus played in 23 AHL games this season with a respectable if not underwhelming seven goals and 12 assists on 54 shots. Abramov had no points and no shots in two NHL games this season.
Logan Brown: Also 23, and a former first rounder, Brown played in 13(!) AHL contests in 2021 accumulating just two goals and seven assists on 23 shots (yikes!). Brown had no points and no shots in one NHL game this season.
Jonathan Davidsson: 24, famously the other winger who came over as part of the Duchene return, Davidsson had a whopping zero points on 13 shots in a dozen games with Belleville this season. Davidsson didn’t play any NHL games in 2021.
And the winner(?) is—
Logan Brown (84% of the vote)
What can we say about Brown that we haven’t said before? We’ve probably spilled more ink over Brown this season than any other player not currently on the roster and that includes top prospects like Jake Sanderson and Ridly Greig combined. Health continues to elude Brown who played another fraction of a season and didn’t score a goal until May. Even Spencer, the most ardent of Belleville Senators writers, gave Brown the lowest grade imaginable in his end of season report cards: a C+.
Brown got off to a rough start, missing the cut for the NHL squad and starting the season in Belleville where he never really got into gear. You can argue (and trust me, we have argued) that Brown needed an opportunity in order to succeed or vice versa, that he needed to succeed in order to get an opportunity. Either way, throughout the season, injuries rendered the argument moot.
If I may impart my own take here, I still like Brown as a prospect. He has good nerd numbers in limited minutes in the NHL, he has in the not-too-distant past dominated the AHL, and he occupies a very important spot in the Senators’ long-term depth chart. Not that any of that matters much if he can’t stay healthy.
The Senators still have a few options with Brown and I agree with those of you who believe the organization should just ride it out and see what happens. The first and third-round picks used to get Brown ain’t coming back. You can’t recover a sunk cost so just accept what you have. Some folks believe the team should package Brown with picks as part of a trade to make the team better now and that idea has its merits while really only sweeping the Brown problem under the rug. I still need someone to explain to me the reasoning for exposing Brown in the expansion draft unless we think Seattle will take Brown instead of a goaltender. We can only conject here.
Time will tell what becomes of the Logan Brown experiment but in the meantime we have a near-consensus that he has failed to live up to the expectations of the fanbase reardless of whether you blame injuries, poor performance, or management. Brown’s wingers in Belleville, Abramov and Davidsson didn’t fare much better and we can already expect to see the former in Europe next year (could an SHL contract happen for the latter?). Pierre Dorion has decisions to make on all three restricted free agents this summer (he can still tender an offer to Abramov to retain signing rights). Pragmatically speaking, fans should probably update their 2022 Senators depth charts without the three aforementioned forwards. I’ll still miss them.
Others who received >1% of the votes: Abramov 4%, Davidsson 4%, Jonathan Tychonick 2%, Lassi Thomson 1%, Jacob Bernard-Docker 1%, Erik Brännström 1% (it ain’t easy for a young defender around these parts!)
Stay tuned for two more instalments next week and thanks again to everyone who voted!