Is Matt Puempel’s 30 Goal AHL Rookie Season Worth Getting Excited About?

"Guess who just got his second WTYKY post in a week? ....Oh, it's me." - M. Puempel

“Guess who just got his second WTYKY post in a week? ….Oh, it’s me.” – M. Puempel

Yeh, it is. THANK$ 4 READING! *Frazier ending theme song starts fading in*

I suppose I should back that up. After all, this is the Internet Age where accountability and sound arguments have never been more respected.

Part 2 of my 128 part series on Matt Puempel apparently.

2011 24th overall pick Matt Puempel got his first taste of professional hockey at the end of the 2011-12 season when he suited up for the Binghamton Senators’ last 9 games. He managed a goal. His next shot was late the following season when he was brought over from the OHL to bolster the Bingo lineup in time for their brief playoff run. He put up a noteworthy 2 goals in the 3 post season games he appeared in. It certainly got my attention that in the very limited action he’d seen at the pro level that Puempel had made a bit of noise. It’s never easy to be parachuted into new surroundings and make an impact in such a short period of time. Puempel seemed able to do that.  What’s an even greater challenge to a player, however, is to be able to sustain production over the long term. Could he make shit real and produce consistently in his first full season?

Not really. At first at least. In the first half of the season Puempel managed just 7 goals. Not unacceptable output for a rookie finding his way in the pros but considering he’d put up almost half that in the 14 combined AHL games he’d previously played, it seemed a bit tepid. Especially for a player who’d up to then been described as a natural goal scorer.

WELP, turns out it was just a slow start. I don’t know if it’s the “comes ze shooting, comes ze goals” talking or what but in the second half Puempel (TBH I’m getting tired of typing this name…ah, could be worse, could be zDzizuzrzyznzszkziz) and positively a’sploded scoring-wise. PumpittyPumpPump (new nickname!) more than tripled his scoring output and ended up finishing his 74 games with a smoove 30 goals. He even tied the team lead in goals with the King of Bingo, Micheal Seymour Hoffman. It should be noted that Hoffman got his 30 in just 51 games and had 19 more overall points. But you gotta hear both sides and It should also be noted that Hoffman is an AHL All Star who was in his fourth season with the club.
Point being, 30 goals in a season is not quite elite but breaches that nice-nice threshold that get’s you noticed as a standout player. The question on this piece of human garbage blogger’s mind is: Is it special to score 30 with Ottawa’s American Hockey League affiliate?
To investigate (Ed note: *Hand wanking motion*) I had a look back in time and discovered it is pretty special and more rare than I would have thought. Enter the lower fourth dimension with me as we embark on a spiritual journey and I share my findings and thoughts on Binghamton’s past few 30 goal scorers…

2007-08 Denis Hamel (32)
Aloysius (my imaginary grandson): Grandpa?
Me (fantasy grandpa): Yes, little Aloysius?
Aloysius: Why do only start your journey at 2007-08?
Me: Well, that’s because that’s the exact year we Senators fans started caring about our farm system.
Aloysius: Grandpa can we have Hungry Man frozen dinners for breakfast again?
Me: Quiet, grandpa’s trying to get drunk here.  

Denis Hamel, the long serving captain of the Bingo Sens, may be a familiar name to some of you. By 2007 he had already had played 7 successful seasons in the American Hockey League including a 56 goal 91 point year with Bingo back in 05-06 or as some of you may call that season, “Back when the Ottawa Senators were really good”. So now that I think about it, maybe he might not be a familiar name to you…
Why all that production from a guy who’s NHL career can be summed up in one youtube video? Well after a positively dominant junior career in the QMJHL and then building up his name in the AHL to make the bigs, Hamel suffered a terrible knee injury that hampered his speed significantly. He still had the hands to get on the score sheet but the wheels just weren’t there anymore for poor Denis. What you see here in 07-08 are the numbers of an AHL star and veteran in the midst of a long career.

2009-10 Ryan Keller (34) and Josh Hennessy (30)
Ahhhhh, 2009-10. Remember them days? Heatley had jumped ship, made it hurt on the way out and Ottawa was truly in the midst of a downward spiral from powerhouse of the East to eventual draft lottery participant. It was an awkward in between phase where after Erik Karlsson, who spent an hilarious in retrospect 12 games in the AHL before returning to the big club for good, the team did not exactly have many exciting young players developing in Bingo to reverse the suck. They did have a bunch of talented AHL lifers at the time…which is nice…for the fans in Binghamton.

Ryan Keller went undrafted by the NHL and bounced around the AHL eventually managing to carve out a solid career in the Finnish league. The scoring touch he had in Finland carried over to the American League where he led Bingo in goals in 09-10 with 34.
Just behind him in scoring with an even 30 that season was 2003 San Jose 2nd round pick, Josh Hennessy. One year younger than Keller, Henny seemed at that point to be on that same career trajectory of Junior star turned productive Minor-Pro who just can’t stick with an NHL club. 24 years old at the time, Hennessy wasn’t exactly ancient but had been given about 4 call ups to the big club at that point. 1 point in 20 games and scoring forwards like him typically find out it’s a cold, cold world. Hennessy has since moved on to the KHL.

2010-11 Ryan Keller (32)
Again with this Keller guy! Fully established as a veteran leader, Keller led the Binghamton Sens to a Calder Cup victory serving as captain. He also became the first Bingo player since the aforementioned AHL great Denis Hamel to put up 30 or more goals in back to back seasons. I feel it worth mentioning that he put up 25 points in 23 playoff games that year. Respect. He showed a lot of the younger players who are currently with the big club what it takes to win. R-Keller has since taken his talents to the Swiss League.

2013-14 Mike Hoffman (30)
It’s kind of surprising to me that a guy as hyped as Hoffman has only hit the 30 goal mark once in Bingo. Not even a dis really so much as it’s just a bit of a shock. I think it’s again worth mentioning that The Hoff hit the 30 goals in a remarkable 53 games. He had a team high 67 points at season’s end despite some of his teammates, including Puempel, getting to play in 20 or more games than him. Amazing stuff. His explosive season earned him an extended stay in Ottawa to finish the year and likely a roster spot on October 9th.
The down side to this is that Mike Hoffman turns 25 in a little over a month and if he doesn’t significantly improve on his 3 goals and 3 assists at the NHL level right quick, it could be curtains for his chances. Hoffman is an exciting player. A brilliant skater who can put the puck in the net. I’ll take that any day of the week over a guy who’s really tall or can punch really hard, but history shows Hoffy is hitting that age where a goal scorer like him is getting into that top 6 or bust territory.
He’ll have to go through waivers if he’s sent back to down but if he can’t make a strong impression in the first quarter of the season or so, something tells me that the Senators brass wont be too bothered by that.

FUNCLUSION
We’ve had lots and lots and lots of fun skimming through this thing, haven’t we? Well, I did at least. K, so what do we take out of this examination? I think the most obvious thing is that despite having some pretty good players in the system the past few seasons, many who’ve made the jump to the NHL, the only guys who seem able to put up 30 or more goals in Binghamton are established minor-league professionals who are in their mid 20s or older. The only slight exception is Hoffman who will likely get a longer look in the bigs than Keller or Hennessey ever did. As for Hamel, well, a severe injury basically ruined his shot so he’s a bit of a different case.
What makes Puempel’s 30 goal year special, is that despite struggling out of the gate offensively he still managed to reach this milestone in just his first full season with the club and at age 21 no less. I think acknowledging the words “full season” is important too. I’ve already mentioned that Hoffman did it 22 fewer games but had Jean Gabriel Pageau played more than 46 games for Bingo he’d have likely improved on his 20 goals. Ditto Mark Stone who had 15 in just 37 games.
Threatening 30 next year are Shane Prince and Cole Schneider who had 21 and 20 respectively last season. Scheneider is entering his mid 20s but Prince is probably Puempel’s closest rival so that should be interesting.

N-E-WAY, what’s exciting about this is that the majority of the guys I just mentioned are the players you want to see leading your farm team in points. It’s always great to have veteran leaders around the kids to show them the way but as a fan you want to see the guys with the highest pedigree and best shot at the big club heading the charge scoring-wise. To see a young, first round pick like Pumper(?) do it in his rookie year is worth getting…………..wait for it………………………………PUMPED about.

Sorry.

Here’s a song about Matt Puempel:

Risk Assessment: Matt Puempel, the Senators, Drafting, and the Worst Blog Post Title

pumpel

With the closing ceremonies of the rookie tournament long in the rear view, Newfoundland sleepaway training camp done and now main camp well underway, I’ve been thinking about Madagascar a lot lately. I’ve also been thinking about all of those li’l rookies who are camping.
Who’s the new hotness? Who are the “past their prime” 23 year old senior citizens, who are the DARKEST horsies? I’ve been thinking about a you and one camper in particular. His name is Max Math Puempel.

Ever since his draft day I’ve been very interested in Matt Puempel as a prospect. Call me a changed man since Garbage Pick™ Erik Karlsson™ was selected in the first round back in 20 ought-8. Seemed like a crazy choice at the time to (seemingly) gamble on an undersized player let alone defenseman that high in the draft but that event pretty much single handedly changed my view of player selection to this:
Get good players, yes, for the love of Jah get only good players, but don’t be afraid to think outside the bun in the pursuit of acquiring those good players, player.
God, I am so poetic. That would look really nice on a throw cushion.

The 2011 draft was the perfect storm for taking the Karlssonian type high risk high reward action I’m talking about. With the three picks in the first round alone, Bryan Murray took power forward in the mould of Corey Perry, Mika Zibanejad at 6th overall and power forward in the mould of Corey Perry, Stefan Noesen at 21 with his first two selections. He grabbed a couple of guys who fit the bill of hard charging goal scorer with a mean streak that Bryan Murray makes no secret is his ideal type of player. Good, do your thing baby, after all, it should be noted that Murray drafted the real Corey Perry in 2003 at a Jim O’Brienesque 28th overall (Ed note: good value!).
Having more or less played it safe up to that point and with one pick remaining in round 1, the record seems to indicate that B. Murray and Co. felt it was time to take a wee gamble. That gamble was their selection of Matt Puempel (I need to find out what the origin of last name that is btw. He’s like this century’s Todd Gak) at 24th.
As Sens fans well know, the 2011 draft was a special one. Ottawa had an awful season finishing 25th in the league (hi haters!) and sold off many long time players including some fan favorites for picks. As a result of the team’s poor play and the copious amount of selections they’d get in that draft, one plucky young go-getter (me) paid particular attention to that year’s draft class.
I remember an adorable young chipmunk named Matt Puempel being described as one of the best pure goal scorers available. Oh, but he came with a catch. On top of nagging back problems, he had suffered a bone chip in his hip (Ed note: Gross!) that required risky surgery to repair and caused the CHL Rookie of the Year’s value to drop significantly on draft day. Advantage: Team with nothing to lose and a whole world to gain (That’s us btw. I know that was a totally insane way to describe the Ottawa Senators but my backspace key is broken so here we are).
Since making a full recovery from his surgery, Pumper(?) continued his torrid scoring pace in the OHL and made the jump to AHL where he tied Mike Hoffman for the team lead in goals with an impressive 30 in his debut campaign.
Now, its still very early but it seems the Sens made a good move taking a chance on the talented young man. He arrived at training camp this year as one of the team’s best prospects and so far has not disappointed. Let’s see how some of the riskier picks over the past few seasons have fared for the team:

2008
I’ve already noted that Erik Karlsson was a bit of a risk at least as far as Bryan Murray’s draft tendencies go. B-Murr is pretty averse to selecting a forward under 6 feet tall let alone a defenseman. Admittedly I thought it was pretty wild to take him so high with productive forwards like Tyler Ennis or Jordon Eberle still on the board but hey, that’s why I get paid the big bucks to blog (in Doni Brennan’s mumma’s basement).

Risk Vs. Reward: Spending a First Round Pick on an undersized defenseman was a pretty big statement especially when the draft was in Ottawa. But contrary to early scepticism, Erik Karlsson is slowly but surely shaping up to be a competent bottom pairing NHL regular.

2009
Jerry Cowen. Now, a hulking shutdown defenseman from a Saskatchewanese town of less than 700 people seems, at first glance, to be the least risky player you could ever draft. Consider though that he had reconstructive knee surgery just months before being selected. That’s a pretty damn big gamble to take him with a top with a top 10 pick. Despite everyone currently hating his guts, it should be kept in mind that he was coming off another significant injury last season *tugs collar clean off shirt* and should be given a bit more time to see the real Jared Cowen stand up (and hopefully not be severely hurt in the process).

Risk Vs. Reward: Still too early to tell, in my opinion. Come see me at the end of the season and we can talk about our emotions. In the meantime I offer young Jared this olive branch:  

2010
Uhh…Mark Stone couldn’t skate fast?…So they took him way deep in the 6th round…then… heeeee improved his production by scoring 78 more points (!!!)  in the season after he was drafted and THEN he finished his final junior year with 123 points in 66 games on some production of a level that got Alex Daigle hyped as the next Mario Lemieux. Not bad for a guy who played in a tough junior league and was taken at 178th.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, risk stuff.
K. So, in 2010 I suppose the biggest risk Ottawa took was trading away their 1st, 2nd and 5th round picks. The 2010-11 Sens team was terrible and after going on record saying that “Anyone who thinks we should blow the team up, should blow themselves” (slight paraphrase) owner Eugene Melnyk flip flopped and gave Bryan Murray the green light to ship out high priced veterans (a strategy Melnyk has since become addicted to) which lead to both a draft lotto finish and 2011’s big crop of picks.

Risk Vs. Reward: Ignoring the trading of 16th overall pick for David Rundblad for a second, 2010 was overall a fucking terrible draft. Murray n’ friendz couldn’t have played it safer by pretty much only taking big bodied wingers with the few picks Ottawa did have.
If Rundblad ended up the Joe Corvo level healthy scratch in Ottawa that he’s become since being traded (twice), this could have been one of the worst drafts in modern Sens history! Think grumbling over how Kopitar could have been taken instead of Brian Lee but change the names to Tarasenko and Rundbleezy.
Anyway, that whole Rundblad for Turris murky revisionist history aside, Murray and co. goddamn lucky all that chatter about Mark Stone’s lack of adequate foot speed was overdone and they ended up getting an NHL capable player out of him. None of the other guys who were taken in 2010 are even in the conversation as far as call up is concerned. 2010 had the potential to be their worst draft since the 2005 where they were lucky to end up with Colin Greening in round 7. Yeah you just read that shit right. That’s how poorly they drafted that year. LUCKY to get Colin Greening…in round SEVEN.

2011
As alluded to earlier, 2011 is the draft where Ottawa got to play with house money the most (Ed note to Casinos: Can I haz some of this House Money? Only got to gamble with own real money so far, thx). They got the luxury to take some risky picks along with some of your safer bets. Something-something Matt Puempel’s hip drama. Oh but there was a second in that class. Jean Gabriel Pageau.

You know you can’t trust Wikipedia (#staywoke) when they list JG at a generous 5 foot 9. He’s short. AKA The equivalent of the Bubonic plague to most pro-scouts. He’s not just undersized for an NHL player he’s undersized compared to most adult males. I’ve never actually seen dude in person but I have a feeling when I do I’ma step to him and it’s going to look a little something like this…

Still an amazing hockey player tho and it’s pretty foolish to discount that.

Risk Vs. Reward: Look, if there’s one thing GMs continuously front on it’s skilled players under 6 feet tall. There’s just boatloads of them out there up for grabs. Pageau has made it impossible for the big club to ignore him as anyone who’s watched him can see he is a speedy, surprisingly tough two way player with a great head for the game who can both set up and finish plays AND kill penalties. Sounds ideal…except for one thing…this:

But I ask this: Has his size ever really hindered Pageau on the ice? Not that I’ve seen.

With the exception of Karlsson, Bryan Murray rarely drafts players under 6 feet tall let alone a guy of Marty St. Louis-like stature. If Jean Gabriel never suits up for another game again it could be argued that rolling the dice on him has already paid off for that one playoff game alone. The fact that I don’t need to specify what game I’m talking about speaks for itself. I seriously hope JGP serves as a lesson to Murray and his staff that though they are still pretty rare, there are a number of smaller guys doing quite well in the league now and you could potentially buy pretty low on a very good player who other GMs were too conservative to take a chance on. Even if he can’t squeeze into the lineup full time he remains one of the best players in Binghamton and an extremely competent call up. I’ll take a guy with his potential upside over a safer Cody Bass in round 4 any day of the week. Gold star!

2012
Here we go, Jarrod Maidens! Now THIS kid is like the street cred Matt Puempel. Rumored to have the potential of a top five to ten pick before suffering a severe concussion, the Senators scooped J-Maids (?) up in the 3rd round at 82nd overall. If this kid works out we could have a horse SO DARK on our hands that — *Puts on reading glasses to check incoming Jarrod Maidens Ask Jeeves News Alert, starts reading under breath* “mumblemumble Senators prospect Jarrod Maidens mumble mumble suffers set back in recovery mumble mumble mumble hockey career likely over Senators release his rights…”
WELP you know how that go.

Risk Vs. Reward: Def lost out this one. Sincerely,  best wishes to Jarrod. Really feel for the guy.

2013
Uhh, I don’t know. P-solid draft, tbh. Thanks for reading!

2014
Uhh, I’ve got nothin’ so i’m just going to take this opportunity to type in the words Curtis Lazar to drive up hits. #CurtisLazar

Scotchcast Episode 7: Shout Out to Pretty Much Everything

Scotchcast

Your favourite Cyber Badboys are back in the latest, greates—uhh MOST RECENT episode of the Scotchcast.
Join them as they go on a spiritual journey and discuss edgy Senators-related topics of the day. In what has been described as their STEAMIEST (citation needed) episode yet, these legendary (citation needed) bloggers take on:
– Expectations for the team this season in the garbage dump East
– Their player picks for potential breakout seasons, flameout seasons or BOTH (Controversy, She Wrote!)
– Thoughts on the new Supporters Section at the Tires.com Arena
and of course they answer YOUR questions in the Talk To The Audience Segment (Special SexXxy Edition)

Oh, and a special mystery houseguest (It’s Uncle Euge)

Great Mikspectations: Do We Want Too Much From This Delightful Young Scamp in 2014-15?

B-I-G , Z-I, B-B-A /no info for the NHL-PA/ Coach MacLean is mad cuz I'm flagrant/ Calls my cell, says "Youre demoted to the A, kid"

B-I-G , Z-I, B-B-A /no info, for the, NHLPA/ Coach MacLean is, mad cuz I’m flagrant/ Calls my cell, says “Youre demoted to the A, kid”

Missing the 2014 post season and then losing Jason Spezza to a pretty smart business decision trade has left many an Ottawa Senators fan, like this one, with no choice but to look toward the future. Like an army of miniature Alicia Keyeses we sing to the heavens, “Where do we go from here?” Who fills the void in Spezza’s absence this coming season?
Well, for one, Bryan Murray helped provide a bit of an answer by signing free agent centre David Legwand to a juicy very reasonable 2 year contract. Legwand will be the perfect insulation for the up and coming Mika Zibanejad as he at long last slots into that vacant second line centre spot and – whoa, whoa whoa Salade Du Chef, 2nd line centre?
Hey, I’ve been seeing peoples ’round the internet penciling him in that way on their opening night rosters. That’s more or less how I had it too because, well, DJ JazZiba Jeff is the new hotness and David Legwand is boring old Uncle “Mugger #2 From Season 1 of New York Undercover.” The more I think about it though, the more likely it seems that Mika will find himself centering line 3 at least at the start of the season.

David Legwand has Nearly 1000 NHL Games Under His Belt.
I cannot imagine a coach coming off his first season missing the playoffs, a season in which he was roundly and deservedly criticized, telling a 21 years young boy to “Shoot his hopes and dreams” on opening night. Especially over a guy like Legwand who’s been known for his combination of speed and reliability for a decade and a half now. I think MacLean plays it safe. Plain and — Plain and … I forget how that saying goes. Plain and Sisqo! There it is.
At 34, Leggz (a nickname is born) is a dependable veteran type but not so old that he’s relegated to bottom six role player duty. This is a guy that was brought on board to lead an injury riddled Detroit Red Wings into the playoffs just mere months ago. He’s spent a career building up a name for himself as a guy who can handle being assigned the West’s toughest competition; think Toews, think Getzlaf, think outside the BUN. It could prove beneficial to Zibanejad’s growth that Legwand can take the pressure off the youngster and go in there and handle the powerhouse Atlantic Division’s superstar centres like, Nick Bjugstad who led the Florida Panthers last year with 38 points. You read that right. Milan Michalek TOPPED the entire Florida Panthers in points last season. K, then there’s this…

Mika Didn’t Even Make the Opening Night Line Up Last Season
*Dodges most of the terrible looking Kyle Turris bobbleheads pelted from all angles*
Hey, listen, I didn’t like the move that ushered in the brief and frightening reign of Evil Paul MacLean either BUT you gotta hear both sides (you don’t): Obviously the coaching staff felt Ziba still had some elements of his game that needed rounding out or something-something entitlement issues just a calendar year ago. Full “Hi haters” marks go to Mika as he pulled the ol’ Karlsson Special of “Oh, a demotion? Let me just go ahead and put up a point per game in Bingo while you guys lose some games without me.” I can’t decide if the credit goes to the coach or Zibanejad for making the 6 games in the AHL look pretty ridiculous, both I guess…so…we ALL win there?
The point I’m trying to make here is that despite the rocky start last season, it was overall a very positive one for Mika’s development. At an impressive 16 goals and respectable 33 points we are beginning to see what the young Swede can do. If Mika can stay healthy and get some C.O.N.S.I.S.T.E.N.T. shifts with quality line mates (I am glaring at you, Ghost of Evil Paul MacLean) it’s not unreasonable to expect 20 goals from him in 2014-15. His 33 point effort was a high of his very young career and something that I am confident he can surpass. Mika’s current career high in points, however, is one that Legwand has pretty much consistently bested from the time Mika was about 7 years old. What’s more is that Legumi is coming off a particularly productive season by his standards. Between Nashville and Detroit he cracked the 50 point mark for just the third time, notching a career high 6 power play goals in the process. Do I think Mika will reach Legwand’s Mike Fisheresque heights? I do. When that is I’m not sure, but a bump of 20 points is a lot to ask a guy entering just his 3rd NHL season.
Again, given the pressure on MacLean to right the ship, I think he goes with the safer bet of Legwand and continues to shelter Zibanejad another season to let him grow.

Or, You Know, Maybe I’m Being More Conservative Than Shane Prince’s Tweets About This Whole Thing
That’s kind of the beautiful thing about sports. Wacky stuff happens. Sure, being safe in your predictions allows you to save the most face when the dust settles. It’s easy to look like an expert by playing the percentages like, “Karlsson’s a Garbage Pick” or Predicting the Sens to win the Stanley Cup in 2013 (thanks for cursing the season, The Sports Forecaster). But seriously, some unpredictable shit always seems to happen along the way and that’s the stuff that keeps us tuning in. Yes, so and so’s shooting percentage is unsustainable and due to regress back down to Earth and blah blah blah but didn’t we have fun while their shooting % was unsustainably awesome?
My dude(tte), sometimes life comes at you fast and a undersized garbage pick becomes one the best players in the world. Sometimes Milan Michalek scores 35 goals. Sometimes a “reclamation project” in Kyle Turris comes here in a risky trade and within a couple of seasons takes the job Jason Spezza’s held for a decade. Sometimes Craig Anderson basically becomes the best goalie in the league and gets a battered team into the playoffs. Sometimes an 5 foot 8 kid who’s played less than 10 NHL games scores a hat trick in said playoffs. Sometimes Cody Ceci makes the big club in his first year of eligibility and forces Joe Corvo to re-join Crazytown, fedora in hand. What I’m saying is, regardless of how you feel going into a season, there tends to be a couple of pleasant surprises no one was counting on along the way. With the off-season addition of David Legwand, it allows for the possibility of Zibanejad establishing himself as 2nd line centre to be a pleasant surprise, not a requirement.

I’m Okaig With Craig or Defending Big C: Y Craig Anderson’s New Extension Am a Good Thing.

File Photo of Greg Anderton Bobblehead

File Photo of Greg Anderton Bobblehead

Hi,

I’m here to talk to you. About a human goaltender who signed a contract. His name is Greg Anderton. A few days ago when the Senators announced they had extended him, I have to admit I was pretty shocked (shocked!) by the amount of hand wringing and frustration that the announcement seemed to be met with.

In review, this [long] off season has seen a cornucopia of signings. (Ed note: Is a cornucopia even a real life thing? Comment if you’ve ever seen one. Pffft, more like Unicornucopia)

Great, smart signings: Clarke MacArthur, David Legwand, Clarke MacArthur, Clarke MacArthur

Weird signings: Milan Michalek for knee years, knee million dollars per knee.

A full on psychedelic rock ride signing: Mark Borowiecki being made part of the Sens exciting new generation because he…passed…his…2 year, 21 game audition? Heyyy, currently second longest contract for a Sens defender, behind only Erik Karlsson.
Interesting fact: Karlsson himself, coincidentally, was also signed after just 21 games in NHL. Wait…was that signed after 21 games or re-ASSIGNED to Binghamton after 9 games? I don’t remember. I wish there was a microfiche thing I could that up on.  

Goalie signing(s): Robin Lehner was locked up until 2017 solidifying his rightful seat on the Thrown of the Skulls of Heretics as the goalie future and — oh and what’s this right here? Craig Anderson was also re-upped a few days later, for twice as much money until 2018…solidifying him…on the Corvette of Good Tidings?…huh…Confusing move but you know what? Good.

Now, before I am pelted with folding chairs, let me grovel explain why I think his signing is a good one for the Ottawa Senators in my patented Thirty Several Thoughts column.

Goaltenders are just people. Regular Joan Lunchpails like you and me who, you know, get injured.

As much as any fan wants their team to have a undisputed, dominant starting goaltender, a couple of recent examples of how that all eggs in one basket strategy can actually be a pretty big risk come to mind: 

Ottawa – Montreal 2013 Playoff Series: Carey Price is a good, consistent starting goaltender. In my opinion, he helps float Montreal into a strata of success that they wouldn’t otherwise enjoy without him. Case in point: He was pretty shaky against Ottawa in that series but was I the only one who thought “Oh wow, these guys are
 fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked” when Price went down and Budaj had to start all of a sudden? Sure, price only played particularly well in one game that series but it was only when Budaj got the call that it felt like the Sens were going to win.  

Tampa Bay – Montreal 2014 Playoff Series: This one may hit close to home for Sens fans as we saw Ben Bishop get traded to Tampa for Cory Conacher (The OTHER Ryan Shannon) and watched him go on to almost single headedly turn Tampa Bay from toilet trolls to contenders in a heartbreakingly impressive, Vezina nominated performance. Contenders they were, of course, until Bishop was injured toward the end of the season. The question became ‘Can Anders Lindback hold the fort dow-‘ aaaaaand Swept in 4 games in the first round. See you in the car, Milhouse.

You knew I was going here: I needn’t remind Sens fans about Dominek Hasek getting hurt heading into the post season back in “Our Year” of 05-06. No pressure, up from the AHL rookie, Ray Emery. Lead us to the promised land.

Lehner might indeed be the starting goaltender of the future but today ain’t the future.

I’ll start this off by saying this: Lehner is my guy. I want him to be the best goaltender that Ottawa’s ever developed in-house. But the pragmatist in me (read: snivelling coward) can’t ignore that he has only 61 regular season games and two playoff starts under his belt at this point. To illustrate how little experience that is, Anderson played 63 games in his first full season in Ottawa. Just because Lehner got his first Big Kid contract doesn’t mean he’s officially a starter. These things take time. 
Yes, you have to start getting those starts at some point and I do hope that Paul MacLean gives Lehner fair shake this season but at just 23 years of age (a toddler in Goalie Years) its relieving to have Lehner insulated by one the best goalies the franchise has ever had.

I’ve heard some concern from other fans that judging by Anderson’s comments at the end of his [disappointing] season that he has no interest in playing second fiddle which is just asking for a goaltending controversy.

Ummm good? After having such a series of mediocre goaltenders for years, where the true controversy was over who was less bad, the last thing I want to see is a guy in full Marty Biron “Lady, Lundqvist’s puttin’ my kids through college!” career backup mode. Drive is something I, and I think many others, have always loved about Lehner. I definitely want some caliente fuego in the goalie tandem. Comfort is for the now retired in Florida Roberto Luongos of the world.
Oh and here’s the other thing…
If Lehner emerges as the undisputed starter, he’s going to take that job whether it’s Craig Anderson backing him up or Craig David.      

Here’s the most interesting counter argument. Let’s act it out. You be the bold letters and I’ll be Police Chief Wiggum: 

Why tie up 6 million in cap space on our budget team when it can be spent on locking up another player who fills a team need? I hear Zenon Konopka and Joe Corvo are available.
First off, I don’t think in today’s NHL that $6M dollars is a lot of money for two goalies that we know are good over rolling the dice on Lehner as starter and having Andrew Hammond (1 career NHL game) or Nathan Lawson (11 NHL games since being signed undrafted in 2008) to step in if he struggles. Keep in mind, former unproven Bingo goalie Mike Brodeur is currently an ECHL free agent. Also, there are no goaltending prospects in the system beyond those guys who appear even close to the pro level.  

So, just find a cheaper proven goaltender through free agency or a trade you smart ass son of a bitch.
K, a bit harsh with the name calling but feel me dawg: Looking for a goalie through free agency or a trade means competing with other teams to get a player sign and to or convince a GM to deal. That might not prove well for the team’s budget either or worse could cost us from our now dwindling prospect pool. On top of this you’re introducing a new player to a new system.
Instead we get our up and coming guy in Lehner as well as our vet Andy who’s been a very respectable 81 – 52 -17 since coming here btw. And hey, if Lehner blows Anderson out of the water and Andy wants out? I wouldn’t imagine it would be too tough to move Andy in a league where year after year come trade deadline without fail a team or two seems desperate for goaltending help. I’m hoping with the Sens current tandem that we wont have to be one of them.

The Hidden #TRUTH Behind Bobby Ryan’s Contract Negotiations

#STAYWOKE

#STAYWOKE

    Benghazi
mOon landing was faked by Stanley Kubrick (name contains letters R.Y.A.N.)
oBama birth certificate
    Bilderberg Group met in Ottawa once
    Y r u covering up the chemtrails?

      Rituals of the Illuminati take place in Bohemian Grove. Ryan used to  play in California
      Y is the Federal Reserve Bank controlling Sens new TV revenue?
      Alluminati
moNsanto foods is putting genetically modified no trade clauses in our chicken nuggets

30 Thoughts™ From Sens Dev. Camp (or “That 2 Period Scrimmage I Watched”)

Fred
I recently attended a two period long, clock running the whole time ass scrimmage where the Senators development camp prospects squared off in a battle where my personal entertainment was on the line. No beer or cell phone reception at the Kanata Rec. Centre means I can actually recall what I saw.
Please note that I was sat up on some gully ass bleachers and could only really catch team black attacking and team white defending. What’s that? That statement mean’s little to nothing? Good, you’ve prepared well for this post! Fuck around and get baptized as I share my 30 Thoughts™ on the affair.

1. Mark Stone was hilariously, hilariously better than all of the other forwards. Maybe it’s the confidence that comes with suiting up for a couple dozen NHL games but Stoner/Stoney/Stones (def. one of those 3 is his nickname) seemed to get 2 extra seconds to decide what to do with the puck. He played with urgency but was noticeably patient as well. Really dictated the pace in the attacking zone. His smarts resulted in him scoring a super nice turn around, top shelf goal from the slot when everyone else seemed kind of gassed on the play.
Best part: Despite a dominant performance he actually looked like it was taking it easy on the kids.

2. I know it’s in style to be very unexcited about any of our prospects right now but you come here to read the garbage musings of a Cyber Badboy like myself so here it is: I’m buying in on this Curtis Lazar hype. I can see why the book on him on his draft day is that he is an extremely safe bet to help your NHL club (or around the house!). Considering that this was a scrimmage my dude had an impressively complete game. I was pretty blown away by how he could consistently be part of the rush, if not leading it, and manage to be first back to his own end. In industry terms, we call this type of play “A Coach’s Wet Dream.” Incredibly fast backchecking. Very hard to tell what role he eventually projects to  but certainly left me with the impression that he will be part of the big team sooner than later. I can’t imagine he has many aspects to round out at the AHL level from what I saw.

3. Time to talk about Anders Englund AKA Li’l Ivan Drago AKA Yung Big Grill. Looked raw like sushi out there at times but made a couple of pretty nice defensive plays. Pancaked a couple of youngins along the boards and made some safe exit passes. Anything fancy seemed to throw him for a loop which is a bit surprising for a Euro WHO PLAY LIKE A BUNCHA GRRLS ON FIGURE SKATING ICE! LETS GOOOO (thumbs up). Given that he was paired with slickster Mikael Wikstrand, Englund would got pretty hot potato when passed the puck with speed. It should probably be noted that Anders Englund is an 18 years young human boy who was drafted in the 2nd round like a week ago and is probably still dealing with 5 hours of jetlag.

4. Didn’t really get to see the much talked about Freddy Claesson as he and Cody Ceci were quite far away from where I was sitting. I did get to see him take a pretty dynamite shot from the point which was a nice takeaway considering all your hear about him is his +/-. Hope to see him get a game or two this season. Sounds like he’s really earning his praise in Bingo. Dmen take time to develop (RIGHT JARED COWEN?!) but sounds like Freddy is on a steep curve.

5. Newly acquired Nick Paul and Alex Guptill each had a pretty solid showing. Guptil even potted a goal. How’s it feel to already be grouped together boys? Anyway I have a feeling at least one of these fellas will go on to score 687 points in 686 games for the Senators. Dare 2 Dream.

6. A surprise standout for me was Tobias Lindberg. My dude was one of the few players that I would describe as flashy in the game. He created a number of chances with his Toilet Mitts™ and blinding speed. Pretty cool to see him stand out as he’s only 18 and was just drafted last year. There’s not a ton about him on the ‘net (internet) but with speed and skill coupled with a 6’2″, 187lbs frame, he doesn’t have a ton working against him. Also not working against him: Not much organizational depth at right wing. Wasn’t really a guy on my radar screen before (What? I’m not MADE of radar screen space, okay? Your mother and I work like dogs to put a radar screen over your head and food on your radar screen, so show a little respect.) but I’ll be keeping tabs on him going forward.

7. Shane Prince (who’s back in the Twitter game on some Godfather III, “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in” shit) missed the scrimmage with a mild injury. He was sitting down the bench from me in the bleachers. I am happy to report he still has the mightiest hairline in the Ottawa Senators organization. Thing is like a fortress.

8. The guys with AHL experience like Buddy Robinson and Ryan Dzingle (whom I found particularly impressive) really showed that extra poise. They were both calm with the puck and always in the right spot positionally. Good to see your farm club guys playing the system effectively.

9. Miles Gendron is just a tremendous, tremendous skater. So smooth he makes 1999  D’Angelo seem like dusted 2010 D’Angelo. The one thing I would say is that despite being listed as tall as 6’2″ and as heavy as 186 on certain prospect sites, he looked very slight out there. I could be wrong but I’m talkin’ getting crossed out and dunked on by Jean Gabriel Pageau slight. He’ll be starting his freshman campaign at University of Connecticut next year so that Residence Cafeteria slop should fatten him up considerably over the season. Expect him to put on an additional…oh I don’t know…15™ pounds.

10. Matt Puempel was fairly quiet all “game” long. Even went so far as to hear someone in all seriousness call the first round pick a bust. I mean, you know what they say, you don’t come second in AHL rookie scoring without making a few enemies. In fairness, I suppose I was hoping for a  bit more flash from one of our more promising hopefuls but I’ll take his performance in his first year as an AHL pro over one scrimmage.

11. They played a recording of Lyndon Slewidge singing “O Canada” over the tinniest PA system at the beginning of the game which…you can’t write this shit.

12. Speaking of quiet performances, one guy I really had my eye on that I didn’t have much to say about afterward was Swedish defenseman Mikael Wikstrand. Wikstrand garnered a lot of attention from Sens fans after putting up 20 points in 27 games for Mora’s tier 2 team.  Fam, you see my dilemma. 20 points in 27 games is a pretty exceptional output for a dman but I don’t know if the tier 2 Swedish league is the Euro QMJHL scoring-wise. I was looking forward to seeing him play in person. He’s earned a graduation to the top level Swedish Hockey League where he seems to be continuing to produce. What was I saying? Oh yeah, couldn’t get a read on him in a 40 minute game where they didn’t even stop the clock between plays. If I knew how to do that shrugging guy emoticon thing…BELIEVE I would be using it right here.

13. Did I talk about the Lyndon Slewidge thing? I did, eh. What a world tho…when you sit and think about it for a second.

14. There was some shootout thing at the end I don’t remember very well. I think Mark Stone scored a nice goal. Mark Stone is really good. Especially at development camp scrimmage shootouts.

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24. Stay woke: New episode of the Scotchcast coming soon.

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