Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ottawa Senators Early Look

In a bit of a pre season preview for the Ottawa Senators there is some room for some cautious optimism as the team is being put together. The team may be more even now but are they better? There are other teams in the East that have also made moves to get better too. There will be plenty of teams with a good shot at the final 4 playoff spots. With the Dany Heatley situation now over (still would rather him in a Sens uniform but what can you do) and the new players in town and ready to go, the team is looking for an identity.

Without the "sniper" in the lineup the team will have to rely on everyone to help out with the load offensively. Maybe the team will be more free now to be more creative in the offensive end but along with that comes some real pressure. Over the last 2 pre-season games Mike Fisher has proven that he can score versus non elite or AHL players and may have played his way to center the 2nd line to start the season but can he do it when it counts is the question. Fisher is very hard worker but has shown struggles putting the puck in the net, which is frustrating because he has a great wrist shot and quick release, not to mention a very hefty contract that may be a little too steep for what he can give you. Speaking of overpriced players there are 2 more that spring to mind and those are Chris Neil and Chris Kelly. I didn’t want Neil to get re-signed this season and especially for the money that he got. The team now has the potential to run out a 4th line that is paid like a second line...but without the same level of talent.

There is also too many bodies on 1 way contracts and there are some young kids that could prove to be better fits given the chance. I have broken down some potential line combinations given the players available but there is room for movement. GM Bryan Murray has hinted that calls have been made around to see if other teams are in the market for some veteran players and based on some of the line that I have looked at there could and/or should be some players that could be moved out for cheap.

Right now this is how I see the team looking: With that there are also players that don’t seem to have a place unless other moves are made

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Daniel Alfredsson
Jonathan Cheechoo - Mike Fisher - Alex Kovalev
Nick Foligno - Ryan Shannon - Chris Kelly
Chris Neil - Jesse Winchester - Jarkko Ruutu

Chris Phillips - Anton Volchenkov
Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Chris Campoli - Alexandre Picard
Brian Lee

Pascal Leclaire
Brian Elliott
It will be interesting to see where these guys end up and if sent down how quick do they get called up - Shean Donovan Christoph Schubert Zack Smith Peter Regan Cody Bass

After final cuts are made maybe things will be more clear and there may or may not be less bodies to have to try and juggle. It would be a huge bonus and a good bit of managing if Murray can work out some deals to free up some money and some roster space while acquiring a few more draft picks going forward.

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