5 Thoughts for Friday

Jonathan Drouin, Mike Hoffman, Eugene Melnyk and more!

No time to waste. Thoughts. Five of them. Now!

Jonathan Drouin

Jonathan Drouin just can't seem to keep out of the news.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Syracuse Crunch made it public that Drouin would be kept out of the lineup for one game after failing to report to a team meeting prior to practice on Tuesday.

Now, why are we talking about Drouin again?

Well, it's safe to say the Senators had a lot of interest in the 20-year-old a month ago in the midst of the trade deadline, and that interest is likely to circle back after the postseason.

Plain and simple, if Drouin keeps having these off-ice gaffes, it might be easier for Ottawa to go after him. The Lightning already know they have a big decision to make in the summer, maybe more bad behaviour from their young talent will help persuade them into a more friendly deal with the Senators.

Hoffman for Drouin?

During the first intermission of Tuesday night's affair with the Washington Capitals, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun voiced his thoughts that Mike Hoffman could be a key piece in getting Drouin to the nation's capital. He even went so far as to add Drouin to his 2016-17 Senators projected roster.

It seems like a very Kyle-Turris-for-David-Rundblad type of deal. Except with the added potential stardom.

A lot of fans and media around Ottawa have somewhat come to terms with the notion that Hoffman won't be around for very much longer. Many would rather him stay, and that's extremely reasonable seeing as he is without any doubt a great natural goal scorer, but at this point, I'm already planning for his exit.

Analytics Should No Longer Be Taboo

Queue Mr. Melnyk, please.

"Well, I’ve actually had a lot of experience in analytics when it comes to horse racing. In horse racing, it doesn’t work. I can tell you that. I spent a lot of money on it. In hockey, you defer to and it depends on who you talk to. It can work as a tool, but it’s only a small tool. It’s not even half the tool. It just tells you… a lot of statistics, you have to be into that, but a good, experienced hockey person like a Bryan Murray – of that vintage – they don’t need analytics. They can see it already. They’ve seen the play over and over and over again and they know how to fix things because they’ve been there and done that. It’s just another day in the office, so analytics are great. People should see it, but it’s not the beginning and the end. There’s no chance that it will make that big of a difference." - Eugene Melnyk. 6thSens.com.

It's rather hypocritical that old-time hockey people always use goals, assists, points, plus-minus and other simple stats to back their decisions at a press conference after an acquisition, but seem to have a problem with someone digging deeper into those numbers. Because that's what analytics are; digging deeper, far past the simple stats and exposing the high-event areas where we can get a better understanding of a player's performance.

Why wouldn't you want that in your repertoire when evaluating a player?

I can't tell you the exact chemical breakdown of a certain brand of cough syrup. I can look at it, read the label, take a sniff, maybe a drink and tell you that it is definitely cough syrup. But wouldn't you like to know more about the item you're ingesting compared to others before you consume it and before you make a choice of buying it? That would involve going deeper, looking at the intricacies of the product through a microscope and dissolving every piece of information you can gather before making a decision.

We've gone off track a little, to say the least.

But the point is, it's ignorant to dispose of the entire idea of analytics, especially while a lot of other teams with a budget are using it properly and using it to their advantage. Old-time hockey and only using the eye-test isn't going to cut it anymore.

Analytics is not the only important aspect of a good evaluation system, far from it, but it is a key element and you're missing out on some quality information if you neglect it.

Mark Stone

Last year, we saw him emerge as one of the Senators' top forwards, but after this season, it'll be safe to say that Mark Stone is now the outright most valuable forward on the team.

Even after dealing with an injured Kyle Turris for the longest time and helping Zack Smith move into a top six role - Smith went 26 games this season without an even strength point, for God's sake - Stone has been able to lead the team's forwards in scoring with 60 points in 73 games.

It's been one heck of a second half of the season for the 23-year-old, especially after a month-long debate of whether or not he was playing up to standards in December.

Stone's game is two-way, and it's hard to depict which way he plays better.

That's a good dilemma to have.

Shameless Plug

Like my colleague Michaela Schreiter with her brilliant show That's What She Said on TSN1200, I am beginning on an adventure into the radio side of things, as well.

This Saturday will mark the first episode of Battle of Ontario, a hockey talk radio show my friend Alec Brownscombe, the founder of Maple Leafs Hot Stove, and I will co-host.

We will be doing our best to bring on some great guests - this week we have Sean Tierney and Anthony Petrielli - and have some interesting conversations.

The show will be every Saturday at 6 p.m. on Ottawa radio station CKDJ 107.9 and will be posted as a podcast every Sunday morning.

Thank you guys for allowing me - although, I understand you didn't really have a choice - to share that with you today.

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