Friday, July 14, 2006

Some minor Sens signings to make note of

The club announced yesterday they'd signed three prospects as well as re-upping a veteran AHLer. Inking new one-year deals were forwards Bobby Robins and Jeff Heerema as well as defencemen Neil Komadoski and Neil Petruic.

All four spent last season with the Baby Sens in Binghamton last season, and I'd expect that's where they'll be this coming fall.

I first saw Komadoski in last year's rookie tourney, and was very underwhelmed. He has a decent pedigrree, having spent years with the U.S. national junior team as well as being a major player for Notre Dame as a college player (quarterbacked their powerplay). He was given the C in last year's freshman tournament, which said a lot, to me anyway, about how the organization viewed him, however, he failed to impress. He was solid enough in his own zone but didn't really show me that he had much upside beyond that. Perhaps this was because of nerves, in that he was fearful to make a mistake and decided to play it safe instead. He reportedly struggled with consistency down in Binghamton last season and was even a healthy scratch with regularity, only suiting up for 41 games. Komadoski is now 24 and it's beginning to look like, barring a late blossom, he won't develop into the NHLer the team hoped when they selected him in the third round in 2001. He seems to exist only for organizational depth and a warm body down on the farm.

Petruic is said to be a powerplay specialist, a skill he honed for the full four years he spent at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. In last year's rookie tourney, I remember him showing good puck moving abilities and decent skating skills, but his game clearly showed that he was right out of college. He spent last year split between Bingo and Charlotte of the ECHL. Petruic was picked the same year as Komadoski, but far later (8th round) and was actually a product of the trade that sent Andreas Dackell to Montreal. The question marks with Petruic continue to be his inability to play the body and his lack of consistency in his own end. But he's said to possess a great shot and with Filip Novak and Lance Ward no longer in the system, it's possible he's further up the depth chart than he was a year ago, meaning if Ottawa runs into some injury troubles on the blueline, we might see him up here.

Robins came to the AHL Sens late last season, signing his first pro contract after doing the full four years at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. It's tough to say how much upside he has, given that we haven't seen much of him, but at 6'1 and 220 pounds, he's a big body and according to those who followed the Bingo Sens last season, isn't afraid to use it.

Heerema is an interesting one. He was one of the few offensive bright spots on a very poor Binghamton team last year, racking up 74 points in 77 games, third on the team behind sometimes-NHLers Denis Hamel and Steve Martins. While it will be difficult for Heerema to win a job with the big club, based on those numbers, he should at least get a shot. He's a former first round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes (11th overall in 1998) and has bounced around amongst a few organizations, but has truly never been given a good look at the NHL level, having only played a total of 32 games over two sessions. There is, really, only one roster spot that's not locked up, and Christoph Schubert and Hamel have the jump on Heerema (as do a few prospects like Igor Mirnov and Arttu Luttinen I would think), but a good camp might make the organization think twice about how they view him.


At 8:24 AM, Blogger Hightower said...

Hi Chris,

In terms of the depth chart - and in light of the lines that you made up yesterday - do you really feel that Kaigodorov is a lock for a roster spot (unless of course he grossly underperforms)? I would have thought that the Sens would have looked at giving Hamel a chance at center or wing and bring in a cheap veteran presence (i.e. Greg Johnson).

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Alison said...

I am a season ticket holder in Binghamton, and am pleased to see that these four will be returning for another season.
Though we weren't given the opportunity to see much of Bobby Robins due to his additon so late in the season, I would go so far as to say that he may be one of the strongest and most energetic players to have come through Binghamton in the past few years. After coming to us from U of Mass-Lowell he quickly showed everyone what he came here to do. He was a breath of fresh air after a less-than-fantastic season and an instant crowd pleaser- receiving a standing ovation by his second or third game. There are few things in this world more inspiring than watching this guy unleash on the ice. Hopefully he will keep up his energy and passion for the game through the duration of this upcoming season.
As far as everyone else is concerned, Chris pretty much covered it. Neil Petruic got off to a rocky start, and was even sent back down to Charlotte after some time. He was given another chance to prove himself after being called back up due to various injuries/Ottawa call-ups, and showed much improvement throughout the rest of the season. I am optimistic about his upcoming season, as he is hard-working and determined to develop into the player that Binghamton needs.
I was curious as to whether or not Neil Komadoski would be back for another season in Binghamton. He seems to be prone to long-lasting injuries, and has spent a decent amount of time in the stands these past two years for this very reason. The fact that he was signed back shows that someone up there is confident in what he has to offer.
And lastly, Jeff Heerema's stats speak for themselves. We Binghamton fans know that we can sit back and relax a little when he is on the ice. I would love to see him in Ottawa eventually, but at the same time, would hate to see him go.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

In terms of the depth chart - and in light of the lines that you made up yesterday - do you really feel that Kaigodorov is a lock for a roster spot (unless of course he grossly underperforms)?

Lock is an exaggeration, but based on the rumblings out of the organization, and what Muckler himself has said, it seems like Kaigodorov has a job to lose. A GM doesn't talk, even hypothetically, about someone centering their best player (Alfie) unless they have that perspective.

Having said that, I've maintained the transition from Russia to the NHL could be a tough one, especially since he's not considered an overly physical player, so it's more than a possibility that he doesn't start the season there if he has a poor camp.

I would have thought that the Sens would have looked at giving Hamel a chance at center or wing

They've said Hamel has a shot at the spot on the fourth line, but the truth is, it seems like the club views Hamel as a minor leaguer. The fact they didn't bring him up for the playoffs last year, in spite of the season he had, says a lot.

and bring in a cheap veteran presence (i.e. Greg Johnson).

They still may do this, but it'll be in a minor role.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...


Thanks for the insight. I can only write so much based on what I've heard and/or read, so having a perspective from someone who sees the team is very helpful. Feel free to post often.


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