As September has finally rolled around, so begins the first of a constant stream of training and observation leading up to the selection of the Ottawa Senators final roster and, eventually, the beginning of the 2007-08 season. The first item on the docket is the 2007 rookie camp, which began today. Included in the camp is the 2007 Rookie Tournament in Kitchener, ON, against three other teams: Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Toronto Maple Leafs. With the rookie tournament beginning Friday, it seems an appropriate time to present a introduction to the players expected to participate. As the furthest thing from a scouting expert, I thank hfboards, hockeysfuture, russianprospects and the Senators official website for most information found below.
26 prospects are expected to participate, with only Cody Bass and Tomas Kudelka having previously participated in a Senators rookie camp before, back in 2005.
You'll likely notice a disproportionate amount of Kootenay Ice players invited on amateur tryouts. They have likely been invited on the advice of the new Binghamton Senators head coach Cory Clouston, who served as head coach of the Ice for a number of years and had been with the Kootenay organisation in some capacity since 1999. While none of them are particularly noteworthy prospects in my eyes, it will be interesting to see how proteges of Clouston perform and how much weight his recommendation carries.
Below are the prospects in alphabetical order. I will give a brief overview of their draft position, 2006-07 season, and a scout report. The statistics listed are for the most recent NHL season and international tournaments (if applicable). Statistics read as follows - Games Played, Goals, Assists, Points, Penalty Minutes. Goaltenders statistics: Games Played, Wins, Losses, Ties/Shootout Losses (if applicable), Minutes Played, Goals Against, Shutouts, Goals Against Average.
#61 - Kevin Baker
Center - 5'11", 185 - March 27, 1987 - Etobicoke, ON
Undrafted, Nick Foligno's teammate in Sudbury has been invited to participate in the Senators training camp. The 20-year old centre was second only to Foligno in Sudbury scoring last season, his fourth season in the OHL. He led the team with 4 shorthanded goals, and also led the team with 7 shorties the previous season. Baker is of average size, and while he is a good skater, solid playmaker and dependable two-way player, he possesses no outstanding abilities.
2006-07 Sudbury OHL 64 23 35 58 18
2006-07 Playoffs OHL 21 6 9 15 4
#58 - Cody Bass
Center - 6', 211 - Jan 7, 1987 - Owen Sound, ON
Drafted in the 4th round of the 2005 NHL entry draft, 95th overall, Bass is one of the Senators' more dependable prospects and by all observers is expected to make the team within a few years. He is projected as a centre similar in style, intensity and leadership to a Mike Fisher or Chris Kelly, two players he will have the opportunity to join in training camp and is very likely that Bass will supercede one of these players in a couple years' time. He is the most experienced of the Senators forward prospects, having already played 14 games in the AHL over the last two seasons. While Bass is not reputed as the most offensively gifted prospects, he can chip in his fair share of points. However, it is his defensive acumen and physical intensity that make him valuable. Bass is a premiere penalty killer and has received invitations to junior Team Canada tryouts for the rounded game he brings. Bass is reliable on faceoffs, skates well, and has a good head for the game in general.
Projection: Spends the season in the AHL. Could very likely serve as Bingo captain in a season or two before making the jump to the big time. He is one of the Senators prospects most likely to see full-time NHL action in his career.
2006-07 Mississauga OHL 23 5 11 16 37
2006-07 Saginaw OHL 30 5 24 29 49
2006-07 Playoffs OHL 6 1 2 3 10
2006-07 Binghamton AHL 5 0 2 2 9
#64 - Clayton Bauer
Left wing - 6', 203 - Jan 31, 1987 - Kelowna, BC
Similar to Kevin Baker, Bauer joins the rookie camp on an amateur tryout. He remains undrafted after four seasons in the WHL, splitting his last season between the Kelowna Rockets and the Kootenay Ice. The 20-year old left winger attended the Vancouver Canucks' rookie camp in 2006, but was cut. While he recorded career highs in goals and points with Kootenay in 2006, I cannot find enough information to make an assessment of his playing style or potential.
2006-07 Kelowna WHL 2 0 0 0 0
2006-07 Kootenay WHL 68 24 28 52 90
2006-07 Playoffs 7 1 0 1 9
#68 - Curtis Billsten
Right wing - 6'3", 213 - Sept 10, 1986 - Calgary, AB
Another undrafted forward, 21-year old right winger Billsten is committed to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds men's hockey team, after four seasons in the WHL. 2006-07 was a banner year for Billsten, as he was named assistant captain for the Kootenay Ice, and recorded career highs in goals, assists, points and penalty minutes. Billsten has a massive frame at 6'3", 213, but appears unlikely to pursue professional hockey at a high level at this point.
Projection: While his size and experience might make him most the most attractive prospect of the tryout players recommended by Clouston, as noted above he is committed to university next season and is therefore unlikely to be signed.
#35 - Ryan Daniels
Goaltender - 6'1", 195 - June 22, 1988 - Scarborough, ON
The Senators 5th round selection in 2006 (151st overall) has some familiarity with other Senators prospects, having attended the previous two development camps. The 19-year old has spent the past three seasons as goaltender for the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL. He had a solid season in 06-07, dramatically improving his statistics from his first two years, dropping his GAA by over a full goal per game. He was the full-time starting goaltender for Saginaw and his minutes played reflected it. Additionally, he was named OHL goaltender of the month twice last season. Daniels' strength is his positional play, but he also has quick reaction and good instincts. He has a strong glove and is generally technically sound.
Projection: Daniels will very likely return to Saginaw for a fourth a final season. Binghamton is set in net with Brian Elliott, and Jeff Glass will likely be given one last opportunity to at least backup Elliott, if not platoon. There is no room for Daniels and it would be unfit for his development to have him wasting away as a third string goaltender in the AHL when he is set to get plenty of action in the OHL. Long-term, Daniels does not likely fit into the Senators' plans with Emery still young at 24 and Elliott having first-dibs on earning a backup position in the future. However the development of goaltenders is unpredictable and Daniels could find his way up the Senators' depth chart with consistently strong play.
2006-07 Saginaw OHL 60 38 18 3 3,553 174 2 2.94There's the first 5 profiles, more to follow.
2006-07 Playoffs OHL 4 1 3 239 13 0 3.26