Training camp continues to dominate Senators news headlines, and it's safe to say that watching the split-squad game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday got me itching for regular season hockey. It's always a good week when the Sens beat the Leafs twice (in the same night), right?!
This brings me to today's Nuggets. With the group now split into NHL/AHL groups, it's time to see which of the "bubble guys" will make the team. In the space below, I'm just going to quickly touch on some players that have impressed me over the past two weeks, and I'd love to hear your observations in the comments below! It's always important not to put too much weight into training camp, and this great column from Justin Bourne serves as a nice reminder before we get into our observations. That being said, it's our first look at the players since April, and it's nice to see if there's any noticeable improvement off of first glance.
The young blueliner was easily the best defenseman in the Sens-in-TO game on Wednesday. He was adept at using his mobility to provide some great neutral zone defense, and when the puck was in the zone, he was able to get the puck out via a clean first pass, or by skating it out himself. These things, along with others, contributed to his great shot attempt numbers. Ceci, a noted point-getter in junior, didn't put up the points like fellow draft-buddy Olli Maatta last year, but I thought he played well enough to belong in the NHL full-time. Despite being the only one of the 8 "NHL" defenseman on the Senators with a two-way deal, I don't see Murray and co. sending Ceci down any time soon.
I've only seen Chiasson play about 7-8 times before this, and a majority of those viewings happened when he was battling an injury that hampered his production for the second-half of last year. I knew that his strength was skating straight to the net, using his size to get his plus shot off, and that he may have some defensive troubles. He delivered. Every time I noticed Chiasson, he was parked in front of the net, or battling down low, which is exactly the traits that Bryan Murray loved in him. I was also impressed by his skating when retrieving the puck in the offensive zone, as he was a dogged forecheck and wasn't shy to backcheck hard either. The Michalek - Zibanejad - Chiasson line seems set in stone, though Matt Puempel skated with the latter two at practice yesterday with Michalek nursing a day-to-day injury.
Despite my personal bias that Hoffman should get an extended opportunity on this team, I think that he's fared well in the games I've seen him play thus far. Hoffman's strength is using his blistering speed to beat defenders wide, or cut to the middle of the ice in order to get his quick shot off. He's fantastic at generating a lot of individual shot-attempts, and was asked to work on his overall game ("be a little grittier") over the offseason. From what I've seen, his backcheck/stick-checking has been very strong, and I sincerely hope that he doesn't end up on waivers in order to keep Curtis Lazar. Actually, I wish we could keep both players, but the unfortunate locking up of marginal players may limit that possibility until next year.
I just picked three players that impressed me, but obviously there are a ton of notable performances so far. Who has impressed you?
Lastly - here's the training camp schedule today from @Sens_Army_
- After the split-squad game v. the Leafs, the Senators could finally shorten down their roster to something more workable. The cut group featured players who will be spending most of the season in the AHL/ECHL. Here's our thread on the cuts, as well as a column from Wayne Scanlan on the topic [Silver Seven, Ottawa Citizen]
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Milan Michalek, Mark Methot, and Erik Condra all sat out Thursday's practice with day-to-day injuries. Out of the four, Condra's is the worst. I thought he didn't play much in the games thus far, and this is probably why. [Twitter]
- Recaps of Wednesday's split-squad games from the Ottawa Citizen, SenShot and SensChirp [Ottawa Citizen, SenShot, SensChirp]
- If you're looking for Corsi et al. from the split-squad game, Manny has you covered over at SenStats [SenStats]
- For those of you that have complained about post-game traffic, the Senators announced some changes this season. [Ottawa Senators]
- Wayne Scanlan has a feature on Erik Karlsson heading into the season. [Ottawa Citizen]
- A column from the Citizen on Nick Paul, who was sent back to Junior with Ben Harpur and Matt Murphy earlier in the week. [Ottawa Citizen]
- On Tuesday, we linked Elliotte Friedman's 30 thoughts column, which had a couple of tidbits about Ryan/Methot. Nichols expands on Friedman's thoughts, and offers some analysis. [6th Sens]
- James has a nice article on risk assessment when drafting, using Matt Puempel as a feature case study. [WTYKY]
- Peter Levi, who runs Eye on the Sens, has hit 1000 posts. One of the really early bloggers dedicated to the Senators, we at Silver Seven wish Peter congratulations in his achievement. [Eye on the Sens]
- Jeff's great Binghamton Senators preview continues, this time focusing on offense. [SenShot]
- Our Under Pressure series finished yesterday with Sheer_Craziness looking at Marc Methot. Here's the whole series - we hope you enjoyed it! [Cowen, Zibanejad, Ryan, Methot]
- Your local junior scouting report from Sareon! [Silver Seven]/
- Great analysis from Rob Vollman on teams who used their players most effectively. Click through to see where Ottawa ranks. [Bleacher Report]
- A story on Todd Mcllarth, a former college player at Bowling Green, who talks about depression, addiction, and hockey. [March Hockey]
- TSN finally updated their website to look more modern! No more reading articles on a grey background. [TSN]/