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Tuesday Night News and Notes

 

During these boring and mundane times, here are a few morsels to satiate your appetite for Ottawa Senators news.

Today the Ottawa Senators released their list of players who will be playing in this fall’s annual rookie camp/tournament that will start on Saturday, September 10th in Oshawa, Ontario.

According to the Senators website, here’s the list of players who are expected to play:

Goaltenders: Robin Lehner (Binghamton – AHL, Ottawa – NHL), Matej Machovsky (Guelph – OHL, Brampton – OHL).
Defencemen: Mark Borowiecki (Clarkson – ECAC, Binghamton – AHL), Jared Cowen (Spokane – WHL, Binghamton – AHL), Eric Gryba (Binghamton – AHL), Jordan Fransoo (Brandon – WHL), Josh Godfrey (South Carolina – ECHL, Hershey – AHL, Chicago – AHL), David Rundblad (Skelleftea – SEL), Patrick Wiercioch (Binghamton – AHL, Ottawa – NHL).
Forwards: Louie Caporusso (Michigan – CCHA), Corey Cowick (Elmira – ECHL, Binghamton – AHL), Jakub Culek (Rimouski – QMJHL), Stephane Da Costa (Merrimack College – Hockey East, Ottawa – NHL), Derek Grant (Michigan State – CCHA, Binghamton – AHL), Wacey Hamilton (Medicine Hat – WHL), Darren Kramer (Spokane – WHL), Stefan Noesen (Plymouth – OHL), Jean-Gabriel Pageau (Gatineau – QMJHL), Andre Petersson (HV 71 – SEL), Shane Prince (Ottawa – OHL), Matt Puempel (Peterborough – OHL), Mark Stone (Brandon – WHL), Mika Zibanejad (Djurgardens – SEL).

From this list, there aren’t (m)any surprises. At least on paper, it looks like this team has everything from goaltending, to a strong D and some good offensive players. Assuming that this team can gel together quickly, it’s the kind of lineup that makes a small road trip to Oshawa seem worthwhile.

If you’re thinking of making the trek to attend the tourney, here is Ottawa’s schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 10: Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa, 2 p.m.; Chicago vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 11: Ottawa vs. Chicago, 2 p.m.; Toronto vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 13: Chicago vs. Pittsburgh, 2 p.m.; Toronto vs. Ottawa, 7 p.m.

Brian Lee One of Worst Draft Picks in Past 10 Years?

According to NBC Sports’ Joe Yerdon, Brian Lee is as big a bust of a first round pick as there has been in the last ten years.

I call horseshittery on this one. Granted, he’ll likely never achieve the lofty expectations that were bestowed on him when John Muckler projected him as the future successor to Wade Redden but it’s not his fault that his GM reached and picked him earlier than many analysts had forecasted. In fairness to Muckler’s staff, ten other teams passed on Anze Kopitar and Marc Staal so it’s not like they were alone in their reasoning. Admittedly, I have a bit of a soft spot for Lee and want him to succeed but he deserves some credit for reinventing himself and asserting himself as somewhat of a physical presence.

Fortunately for Lee, there’s still time for him to prove that he can be a serviceable NHL-player. The same can’t barely be said for the likes of: Alexandr Svitov (2001, 3rd overall); Stanislav Chistov (2001, 5th overall); Dan Blackburn (2001, 10th overall); Petr Taticek (2002, 9th overall); Nik Zherdev (2003, 4th overall in a loaded draft year and destined for the KHL); Al Montoya (2004, 6th overall); Alexandre Picard (2004, 8th overall); Benoit Pouliot (2005, 4th overall); Gilbert Brule (2005, 6th overall); or James Sheppard (2006, 9th overall). Hell, even the Thomas Hickey (2007, 4th overall) pick is starting to look pretty awful.

Filatov Prefers Playing LW

From Nikita Filatov’s Formspring account:

Q: The newspaper says you’ve been playing on the right wing on the on ice sessions? Is this true? We need you at left

A: can play both. but left is a bit easier for me

More on Lee + Filip Kuba and the Defensive Logjam

In an excellent blog post over at SenatorsExtra.com, James Gordon discusses the merits of how the logjam could get sorted out.

The easy move, roster-wise is the hardest one to pull off. Filip Kuba’s points totals have fallen every season he has played with the Senators, and he has missed 47 games due to injury the last two years. He’s 34 and will cost the team $3.7 million against the cap in the final year of his contract. If Kuba bounces back with a strong start, perhaps he could generate some value before the trade deadline. That’s the argument made by Graeme Nichols over at The 6th Sens blog recently and it has merit.

Yet you get the feeling the market has changed for these players somewhat. I mean, at the end of the day, how much value is Kuba going to have, even if he does return to his form of 3-4 years ago (which is a major, major stretch)? Not a decent prospect. A pick, maybe a lousy second or third-rounder if the Senators were really lucky. Meanwhile, if David Rundblad were to crack the lineup in a big way, it would probably be at the expense of Lee, who has shown flashes of being a decent NHLer.

I’m a big fan of value plays, but sometimes you need to cut your losses. If it’s a question of ice time and healthy scratches this season, finding out what the rebuilding Senators have in Lee once and for all should take precedence over playing a creaky veteran on a non-playoff team. Kuba would have made a fine buyout candidate this summer, his salary replaced with a couple of forwards who could plug holes this season.

If Filip Kuba can stay healthy and return to form, is it really a stretch to say that he might be worth a 2nd or 3rd round pick? Possibly, but he’s demonstrated in the past that he can log significant minutes in a team’s top four. Having seen what a third pairing defenceman like Chris Campoli netted at last season’s trade deadline (a late 2nd round pick), teams desperate for help on the backend will overpay.

Looking at Ottawa’s defensive logjam, I’ll have a hard time being convinced that it’s better for the organization to cut its losses and do whatever’s necessary to create room for Rundblad now. As much doubt as there is surrounding Kuba’s game, I could play the devil’s advocate and raise the point that there’s no guarantee that Rundblad will even be playing top four minutes right away. Like Erik Karlsson before him, he may need to spend some time in the AHL developing some confidence and adapting to the North American game.

Conversely, I realize that the veteran Kuba is coming off of a horrific year but he’s not alone in that regard. Chris Phillips and Sergei Gonchar would probably be the first to admit (or shrug) that they struggled last season. Kuba may never recoup whatever value he once had, however, Rundblad’s development will not be hindered if he logs significant minutes in Binghamton awaiting one of three scenarios to unfold:

  1. A trade
  2. An injury
  3. Kuba defecating the mattress

At least if the organization waits for a market to be created for Kuba, they stand a chance to get something tangible for him. It may only be 20-cents on the dollar but at least that 20-cents is better than nothing. A lousy second or third round pick may sound unsexy in the eyes of James Gordon, especially when contrasted with being able to watch a top prospect play every day, but these ‘lousy’ assets can be moved in quantity with other players, prospects or picks to bring in something of a higher quality.

As an unrestricted free agent, Kuba will be gone before the end of the season anyways. Cutting losses to ensure that Rundblad starts what should be a long NHL career right away, just doesn’t seem to make much sense from an asset management perspective. A little patience can go a long way.

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