Now that the Senators are toiling away with the NHL’s worst record, it’s difficult not to scoreboard watch or indulge in some serious prospect porn.
Nashville keeps losing games and dropping in the standings? Nails! We could use a higher mid-round pick. Now if only Columbus could you pull up its socks and pass the Predators already. The Gabriel Landeskog Appreciation Tour arrived in the nation’s capital yesterday? Fantastic! Ottawa has a good track record of drafting players who share first names with girls - Marian, Robin and Gabriel(le). Let's just give this kid a jersey already and start the Gabriel’s Pizza marketing campaigns and anoint this kid as a future cornerstone of the franchise. (H/t to Twitter follower @isavji.)
Forgive me for being facetious but I just think it's surreal to see how many people are gravitating towards the young Swede. Take one our Twitter followers named @Senturion for example:
gotta get the Skog, it's fate. Fav player Alfie, fav team #Sens, draft year 11, #92 in 20th anniversary 1992. Swede w/ NA attitude
you cant ignore fate like that, the guy is an Iginla/Alfie hybrid. Future 'C', heir apparent.
More following the jump...
Or you could ignore “fate” and just chalk it up to the fact that fans love a sentimental tale about a young Swedish player who became a Senators fan after meeting Alfredsson and Arvedsson at the Bell Capital Cup. Frankly, if I wanted a good story, I’d prefer to watch a looped video of this. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Landeskog isn't the best player available, I just simply haven't seen enough of him to comment fairly. I mean, how often do most people get a chance to watch the top prospects play regularly? Rather than strictly rely upon some subjective prospect list or treat what some anonymous forum's user wrote as gospel, at the risk of sounding redundant, I'll throw out the cliché that the Senators should draft the best talent available and ignore the current positional needs of the organization.
If Adam Larsson is considered that best player and Ottawa has the first pick, the should draft him and worry about the consequences later. Or at the very least, maximize his value by using the leverage of the first pick to squeeze a good return out of Edmonton – a team that desperately needs to draft a defenceman.
Another Thought on the 2011 NHL Entry Draft
With absolutely no guarantee on where they’ll be drafting in the first few selections of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, it’s completely within the realm of possibility that the Senators could wind up with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Listed at 6’0” 164lbs, there’s no question that one of the knocks on Hopkins is that he hasn’t filled out physically and lacks the size necessary to handle the daily rigors of the NHL. So it’s worth addressing: in light of comments made by management over the past few weeks that this year’s lottery pick would play in the NHL this season, is it not foolish to be so definitive with these public statements?
I realize that player development isn’t an exact science and that each player is unique but fans have endured the Alexandre Daigle era and watched players like Tyler Seguin or Josh Bailey struggle during their rookie campaigns elsewhere. For an organization that isn't expected to be a contender any time soon, what exactly is the rush? Or is this part of a marketing and PR initiative to sell the fan base on an exciting youth movement and help preserve ticket sales during the spring and summer months when the team is out of the playoff picture and limelight?
One Last Thought On Chris Phillips
As I was driving earlier this morning, I was thinking a little bit more about the Chris Phillips extension and and I thought of something that I wanted to mention before moving on.
One of the subplots of the 2009-10 season were the contract negotiations with Anton Volchenkov. As an impending unrestricted free agent, the A-Train played a large role in helping the Senators draw back into the playoff fold. Looking back at the negotiations, Murray could have signed Anton – a younger player than Phillips – to a deal similar to the one that Jersey offered but ultimately the hockey operations brain-trust balked at the term citing Volchenkov’s mileage and style of play as deterring factors that could contribute to injury.
I find it bizarre that we haven't heard the same concerns about Phillips’ new extension, especially when you consider that Anton signed a 6-year deal with the Devils that will expire when he’s 34 – exactly one year younger than the age Phillips will be when his extension ends. (Albeit, Phillips deal will end earlier than Anton’s.)
But please don't mistake this for some revisionist bullshit. If you're familiar with this website's history or have listened to the podcasts, you'll know that that we understood and agreed with the logic for letting Volchenkov go. And granted, I realize that the organization’s plans deviated slightly because of the team’s poor performance this season, but it’s worth wondering how a playoff team that was willing to bite the bullet and let go of Volchenkov, would feel so compelled to re-up an older and less effective player one season later because of his intangibles.
The latest media scrum tweets from this morning’s practice indicate that Milan Michalek has a broken bone in his foot and will be out for 4 weeks. Peter Regin had surgery to repair a separated shoulder and he will be out for 4 to 6 months. And Matt Carkner is having his knee scoped today and will out for the next 2 to 4 weeks.