Thursday, September 6, 2007

Rookie Profiles Pt III


#65 - Brett Gallant
Left wing - 5'11", 175 - Dec 28, 1988 - Summerside, PEI

The 18-year old left winger for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL went undrafted and is attending the rookie camp on an amateur tryout. Despite his average height and low weight, Gallant served as the Sea Dogs' enforcer over the past two seasons. Spending his time on the fourth line, he lead his team in penalty minutes in 2006-07 and finished second in the league in that category. Gallant had a remarkable 30 fights in just 48 games last season. While no one will mistake Gallant for a scorer (he has just 7 points in his junior career), it is possible that his fighting skills could draw the attention of Clouston and Tim Murray. However, his unimpressive size makes it unlikely that his career will continue at a higher level. He lacks the size to be a true enforcer and lacks the offensive skills to be an agitator in the vein of a Sean Avery or Chris Neil. However, he is also the youngest player at camp (now that Jim O'Brien is not attending), and should be judged accordingly.
Projection: cut

2006-07 Saint John QMJHL 48 5 1 6 192



#60 - Michael Grenzy
Defense - 6'3", 206 - Feb 6, 1984 - Lockport, NY
Though he was selected in the 9th round of the 2003 draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, Grenzy was unsigned by them and arrives at the Senators camp on an amateur tryout. The 23-year old just completed a full four years at Clarkson University. While he didn't have the banner offensive year in 06-07 he did in 05-06 (when he lead the defense corps in points), Grenzy had a solid all-around senior year. Grenzy possesses great size and uses it well, however he has also developed into a smooth skater and strong positional player. He has shown great improvement through his college career but at this point does not project to be an NHL-calibre player at any point. Grenzy quarterbacked Clarkson's power play, but did not put up outstanding numbers while doing so.
Projection:Wwhile he does have an outside shot at earning an AHL contract based on his size and experience, Binghamton already has substantial depth at defense with recent signings, and it is unlikely Grenzy would be able to put his offensive skills to good use as he would likely not see power play time. However, his physical tools are valuable and Binghamton might see a use for Grenzy as a 5th or 6th defenseman.

2006-07 Clarkson ECAC 30 2 12 14 12



#49 - Chaz Johnson
Right wing - 6'1", 210 - Jan 30, 1984 - Montreal

The 23-year old Johnson joins the Senators camp on a professional tryout, after having spent most of the last two seasons with Rockford of the UHL. He also received brief playing time in the AHL on tryouts with Milwaukee and Rochester. Johnson joined Rockford after going undrafted after four seasons in the QMJHL with Rimouski, Val D'Or and Drummondville. Johnson was a relentless agitator in the UHL, racking up 361 penalty minutes in 111 games over two seasons. Humourously, his 248 PIM season in 05-06 was only good for third on his Rockford team. In 17 games in the AHL, he recorded 2 goals and 25 PIM. He has a few fights on his record and seems willing to go toe-to-toe when challenged, but doesn't appear to search for a scrap.
Projection: could possibly sign a contract with Binghamton as he has some AHL experience, however his skills seem to be better replicated by others already in the Senators system. It is unlikely he fits into the team's plans, and will likely be cut.

2006-07 Rockford UHL 45 14 12 26 113
2006-07 Playoffs UHL 17 6 9 15 16
2006-07 Milwaukee AHL 1 0 0 0 0
2006-07 Rochester AHL 8 1 0 1 13


#57 - Mattias Karlsson
Defense - 6'3", 228 - April 15, 1985 - Stora, Sweden

The 22-year old defender was selected in the fourth round of the 2003 draft (135th overall). He has not played in North America yet (having spent his whole career so far in his native Sweden), however he has attended the past three Senators development camps. For the first time, Karlsson spent the entirety of the 2006-07 season in the Swedish Elite League, with Bofors IK. He had his best season in 06-07 and recorded career highs in goals and points by a significant margin in addition to leading his team in points as a defenseman, an appauldable feat as it was his first full season in the SEL. While Karlsson has been working on his physical game, his strength remains his offensive play. He has good passing skills, a hard shot an
d is a strong skater.
Projection: Karlsson will likely start the season in Binghamton as a #5-6 defender, but should receive second unit power play time, or better if his play dictates it. He isn't likely to challenge for an NHL spot for a number of seasons.

2006-07 Bofors Sweden 44 11 21 32 34



#59 - Tomas Kudelka
Defense - 6'3", 198 - March 10, 1987 - Gottwaldov, Czech Republic

Selected in the 5th round of the 2005 draft (136th overall), Kudelka is one of the Senators more experienced prospects, despite his relatively young age. He has 16 games of AHL experience over the past two seasons, and has competed in the World Junior Championships in each of the past two seasons, in addition to playing in the WHL with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and competing in the Czech Extraliga as a 17 year old. Kudelka is likely the Senators #2 or #3 defensive prospect, only clearly behind Brian Lee. Kudelka was a key member of a poor Hurricanes team in 06-07 and developed his skills tremendously thanks to the significant role he played.


Kudelka is a strong all-around player, with no significant weaknesses (though his decision-making needs work, it should improve with experience). He is a strong, fast skater, with great offensive ability as both a passer and shooter. Though he could stand to add weight to his 6'3" frame, he uses his size well. He is strong positionally in his own end, but as already mentioned he needs to work on his decision making.

Projection: Kudelka will most certainly start in Binghamton this season, and could very well play a key role on the first power play unit with Brian Lee. He is still a number of years away from the NHL, and likely won't see time as an injury call-up because of the Senators depth on defense (Nycholat, Richardson and Lee will all see time
before him, and Senators GM Bryan Murray is reportedly still interested in signing another depth defenseman). However, he is a strong prospect and will likely be a regular NHL rearguard eventually.

2006-07 Lethbridge WHL 59 14 27 41 74
Czech Republic WJC-U20 6 1 2 3 6
Binghamton AHL 11 1 2 3 8


#55 - Brian Lee
Defense - 6'2", 208 - March 26, 1987 - Fargo, ND

The Senators highest pick since they selected Jason Spezza 2nd overall in 2001, Lee fell into the Senators hands at 9th overall in 2005 thanks to a lottery. Knowing the Senators could well risk losing both Zdeno Chara and Wade Redden in the coming years, former GM John Muckler envisioned Lee would develop into a replacement for the latter player, though Muckler admitted Lee would be a project. While on paper Lee did not have the sophomore season at the University of North Dakota that observers may have wished for, especially following his solid freshman debut, he improved with much-needed strength training and focused on improving his play in his own end. While his statistical production was comparable with his 05-06 season, Lee emerged from 06-07 a much more rounded defenseman. He represented the United States in the World Junior tournament for the second straight season, and though he failed to log a point, he did help his team earn a bronze medal. Lee signed an entry-level contract with the Senators in the summer of 2007, forgoing the rest of his college eligibility.

At the time of his drafting, Lee was projected to be a player in the mold of a Wade Redden or, to the particularly flattering observers, Brian Leetch. While he remains an offense-first defenseman, understandable considering his great transition skills, smooth stride, stellar puckhandling and enviable hockey sense, as mentioned he has begun to round out his game, an adapation that should only continue at the professional level. While he has shown great dedication over the past year bulking up his frame, he is still not a physical defenseman, and, much in the vein of former Senator Tom Preissing, appears eager to eschew that part of the game completely. What he lacks in physicality he makes up for in smarts and dedication to his own development. Lee is also truly underrated in his own zone.

Projection: If Lee isn't Binghamton's #1 defenseman by the first puck drop, he will be by the last. While Lee is still not ready for the NHL, he should log huge minutes in Binghamton in all three situations. Ideally Luke Richardson can serve as a mentor of sorts; if not, Lee should get some limited time as an injury call-up that will give him a taste of the NHL. He might be ready for the NHL in 08-09, but I wouldn't expect him to really come into his own until the following season. While the Senators have a number of defenseman who have made the NHL at extremely young ages (Redden, Phillips, Meszaros), it is unreasonable and likely detrimental to his development to expect Lee to make the same jump, despite his draft position.

2006-07 U. North Dakota WCHA 38 2 24 26 69
USA WJC-U20 7 0 0 0 14





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