The 19th game of the 2013-’14 season has surpassed as it’s time for the B-Sens quarterly grades. Luke Richardson and his staff have the Senators off and running to a 14-5-0-0 mark and playing with loads of confidence. As a result of the team’s good fortunes, the club sits in first place in the East Division and tied for third overall record in the AHL. The blueline has been fairly steady, add to the mix some sound goaltending, plus a very potent offense that leads the league at 3.95 goals per game is part of the reasons for the Senators first quarter success.
- #3 Fredrik Claesson B+
Nothing fancy but gets the job done by his steady work in front of the net. Good vision, doesn’t really stand out yet you still notice his work. Has shown his physical capabilities at times that doesn’t extend to irrational penalties. Possibly in the running as the next call up while leading the league in plus/minus category.
- #4 Mike Sdao C+
Big, strong player who hits and likes to play physical and will fight leading with his lefts. That is also the knock against the bruiser as he’s been urged to tone it down as he leads the team in penalty minutes. Could use some work defensively and makes errand passes however it’s good to have his presence on the ice.
- #6 Chris Wideman B
Has had a really, solid start while quarterbacking the first power play unit and creating offensive scoring opportunities by shooting more. He reminds me of Benoit at times. Hard, quick and accurate shot from the point. Remains one of my favorite B-Sens.
- #7 Cody Ceci B+
Great offensive instincts, fast skating puck mover who likes to join the offensive rush. Defensive troubles at times by getting rid of the biscuit to quickly leading to a turnover and not strong behind the net or in the corners. Needs to use that large body more often but is improving. Needs a full year before the next step up.
- #9 Matt Puempel B+
I like this kid, a lot. The rookie can score as he has a quick, fast shot and is good on his feet. Gets in the melee’s often but not real effective lacking his size and inexperience. Although, he has a lot of potential and has all the offensive tools needed to excel his game to the next level. One to keep your eye on.
- #10 Buddy Robinson B-
Big winger has a quick release and can score. Has some upswing that surprises you as he is good with the puck. Uses his large frame with some thunderous hits, but as he tries, he’s not a fighter when challenged. Covers a lot of ice quickly, hard not to notice him.
- #15 Cole Schneider B
Likes to score in bunches, good hands and has a knack around the net. Continues to improve as you always notice #15 out on the ice. The versatile forward gets shuffled around the line up but proves he can be just as effective whomever he’s with. Could get a drink with the big club if not this year, next.
- #16 Mark Stone B+
Was injured for a while and just starting to get his game rolling. Great vision as he reads the ice very well and is smart with the puck. His skating is not the best and can allure you to sleep but has sudden bursts that produces points. Quick, heavy shot and is a point producer.
- #18 Shane Prince A-
Great talent, wish I had more players like him. I haven’t seen anyone move his feet so fast the way he does. Always shooting the puck and looking for that rebound. Size might be an issue in the long run but his passion will perhaps lead the way instead. Really rooting for this guy like no tomorrow.
- #19 Jim O’Brien D+
Having a real rough start this season as he’s earning NHL coin. Scored one goal, being an empty netter, and was hurt with a pulled hammy for a while. Couldn’t quite find his place on the roster after the team rattled off some wins in a row but has recently returned. Always liked his hustle and was an important piece in that Calder Cup team in ’11.
- #20 Andre Petersson B
Pro: New attitude and new hustle when he’s on his game and has one of the best shots I’ve ever seen. Was hurt for a while but has returned cranking up the numbers and skating real well. Con: Continues to get bumped off the puck when he’s off his game. Most likely his last year in the organization as his style tends to be best suited for the larger rinks across the pond.
- #22 David Dziurzynski C
Not a point producer but plays a hard, gritty style of tempo. I like his toughness, but hasn’t really improved his overall play to merit a call up as I don’t see his game changing for whatever adjustments to the next level it needs to be. Most likely his last season as a B-Sen. Hope I’m wrong.
- #23 Corey Cowick C+
Was wishing for better results on the scoresheet this season but playing mostly on the fourth line find it hard to come by. Solid penalty killer and occasional fighter sticking up for his team mates. Great presence in the locker room. This season could be a make it or break it for the winger’s future in this organization.
- #24 Stephane Da Costa A
Deadly shot from the top circle, good on faceoff’s, and his playmaking wizardly is a thing of beauty. Lots of talent with this guy, but this will probably be his last season in the organization. I’ll then selfishly continue to soak in his contributions as the recent AHL Player of the Week recipient might be the last one standing if other team mates get the call up.
- #26 Ben Blood C+
Uses his big body delivering some punishing checks. He’s come along but needs more ice in the AHL where as last season it was mostly played in the ECHL. I do like his physical style and his low penalty minutes he receives despite his hands on approach.
- #27 Mike Hoffman A+
Veteran player, and now team Captain, has been the club’s most potent offensive weapon and leading scorer. Man has eyes in the back of his head, I swear. Has a lethal wrist shot that will beat you every, single, time. Gets a little careless with his passes but that aspect of his game has improved over last season. Once he gets called up, he’s never coming back.
- #29 Tyler Eckford C-
Veteran leading a young defense eating up some minutes on the blue line, makes occasion bad decisions with and without the puck but stands strong amongst the younger prospects.
- #30 Andrew Hammond B+
The rookie shot blocker started out on real shaky grounds but has settled down after getting a visit from the big club’s goalie coach. Great glove but goes down too quick leaving upper part of the cage open, which surprising hasn’t hurt him too bad. Takes time for the adjustment to kick in from college to pros as his progress continues but he’s done a more than adequate job serving as back up.
- #36 Wacey Hamilton C+
Veteran player and is decent at the dot. Brings experience within. Not a big scorer but gets his chances and a strong skater. Would like to see some more shots on goal from the centerman but nonetheless a career AHL’er.
- #37 Darren Kramer C
Team pest. Not the most talented on the club but does have a wicked slapper. His bread and butter remains the role that agitates opposing teams. Always chirping and decent fighter. Tried to take on three different guys in one fight recently.
- #44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau A+
He brings three critical elements to this hockey club: 1) Leadership; Last season’s MVP has shown what it takes to be able to elevate one’s game to make it to the big show. 2) Attitude; Goes a long ways once you have the backing of your fans and gives 110% effort. 3) Determination; Sent down after a good camp and despite his size goes balls to the wall hockey.
- #52 Nathan Lawson A
Steady netminder gets the job done on a consistent basis as he’s not flashy, but gets the ‘W’ often. Likes to get involved and handles the puck away from the crease as he has a tendency for the home run pass, which you gotta adore. Hope he re-signs next year and a crowd favorite as everyone knows we love our goaltenders here!
- Rookies #2 Troy Rutkowski, #41 Jakub Culek, #45 Ludwig Karlsson – Incompletes. All three have a combined twelve games being played and that wouldn’t be right to assign a grade.