News & Notes: L. Karlsson, Team Canada, Greening

Using the ErikKarlsson principle this guy is going to be incredible…but there is a school who prefer the MatthiasKarlsson principle which projects a much less optimistic outcome.

Who has it right? Only time can tell.

What isn't in dispute is this, he's 22, plays wing, has size at 6'3 200lbs and produced at an ok level in college.

TEAM GP G A PTS SH SH% PIM SH/gm PTS/gm
Northeastern 32 10 16 26 56 17.9 8 1.75 .81
Northeastern 17 5 3 8 27 18.5 4 1.59 .47

There's reason to think he's more freshman than sophomore too:

"Last season, he fell short in the scoring rankings due to a fluke wrist injury that
resulted in surgery in February and put him out for the rest of the season."

Hard not raise an eyebrow at that shooting percentage though.

I haven't seen a good scouting report on him yet but Corey Pronman's curt assessment was; "Solid skill, big shot. Low to mid tier prospect."

I'll take it!

Team Canada Olympic Camp

The fact Spezza's invite to next month's Canadian Olympic orientation camp was lost in the mail is news…but at the same time I would have been shocked to see him make the team. As great offensively as Jason is, there are superior offensive options at center; Crosby, Stamkos, Giroux. And as much as his two-way game has improved nobody's mistaking him for a perennial Selke favourite like Bergeron or Toews. Center on Team Canada might be the most hotly contested roster spot in international hockey.

I think his playing just five games last season is part of the story for the snub, but I also think the simple truth is that Yzerman et al. don't see him as one of their top 4 centers in Sochi, or as a guy who could be converted to wing.

At the height of his PIZZA LINE powers Spezza made it to Turin on the taxi squad. Was there much reason to think he'd make the playing roster for the first time at 30 years old?

Spezza will still be on the "long list" submitted to the IOC in October for drug testing purposes, so he at least has a theoretical chance to change some minds. As Elliotte Friedman mentioned yesterday, from the Sens perspective you just hope he uses the experience as motivation.

Marc Methot receiving an invite instead is a nice feather in his cap, but again I'd be real surprised if he made the final roster. In fact I've made a vow to "eat all the hats" if he's playing in Sochi.

Which is not to say there aren't factors in his favour like:

– being a left-shot
– demonstrated ability to play alongside skill players
– experience internationally
– good skating mobility to hack it on the big ice
– fact there will be eight defenceman roster spots, as opposed to 7 in Vancouver

All those are plausible enough reasons to build a case around…and if I squint really hard I can maybe see him there. On rare occasions specialist defensive defenceman (Adam Foote, Robyn Regehr) have made the Olympic roster with mixed results.

Traditionally Team Canada has liked left and right-shot pairings – balance on the blueline. With the retirement/long term injury of Niedermayer and Pronger, two longtime national team left-shots need to be replaced. Thing is, Duncan Keith is really the only all around elite #1 defenceman Canada has at the moment that shoots left. Whereas the right side is overloaded, start list; Doughty, Weber, Pietrangelo, Seabrook, Subban, Letang to name a few. Is the idea of balance something the management and coaching staff care about? It'd be interesting to hear Babcock's thoughts on the topic, does he think this is less or more of a concern on big ice? FWIW Sweden won the gold in 2006 with 8/8 left-shot defenceman.

Players of a similar ilk invited to camp Methot will be vying with are; Alzner, Hamhuis, Bouwmeester, Hamonic, Staal and Vlasic.

Greening Extension?

Few days ago SensChirp put this out:

Compared to 2011/12 Greening had a down year (albeit a good postseason). A pending unrestricted free agent next summer, if the organization feels he's worth committing to, now is probably the time to do it. I haven't really given too much thought to what he's worth, partly cause I'm not sure what he is. What do you pay a utility guy who can play up and down the lineup? And for how long?

Suffice it to say I'll be very interested to see what he gets, same goes for Cowen's extension.

Zone Entries And Exits

Corey Sznajder who runs the excellent blog Shutdown Line took on the monumental task of tracking every zone entry and zone exit for the entire 2013 postseason. A job I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies.

When Corey had looked at zone exits earlier in the 2011/12 regular season he'd found Erik Karlsson was the top defenceman in the league, breaking it out of the zone successfullly 38.0% of the time, whereas league average was 22.5%.

In the playoffs Kyle Turris was the Senator shining through with his ability to gain the offensive blueline with possession, doing so 71.7% of the time. That's in comparison to Spezza 53.3%, Alfredsson 42.4%, Silfverberg 46.8% and Zibanejad 48.1%.

Only three teams gained the zone with possession on over 50% of their entries, an individual mark of 71.7% is exceptional. A definite positve sign for 2013/14 where a hopefully healthy Spezza can have Turris slotted back in a better situation.

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