Monday, August 29, 2011

Off Season Review: Ottawa Senators

In Review: The 2010-2011 season began full of hope for the Sen's. Feeling confident that previous inadequacies were addressed with the addition of Gonchar on the back end and a healthy pascal leclaire. All hope quickly faded due to injuries and substandard goaltending and GM Brian Murry began a fire sale,

moving out Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Alex Kovalev, Brian Elliot, and Chris Campoli . Filling the roster out for the final part of the season the Sen's gave auditions to youngsters Bobby Butler, Eric Condra, Colin Greening and NCAA free agent signing Stephane Da Costa. In the off Season, Murray had his contract surprisingly renewed, and not too surprisingly head coach Cory Clouston was replaced with Paul MacLean. The Sens had a lottery pick for the 2011 draft but fell all the way to sixth and selected Mika Zibanejad. The Sens also came out of the draft with highly skilled prospect and enigma Nikita Filatov after Columbus felt the need to purge them selves. In free agency Murrays most significant addition was the signing of the big Z. (No not Chara) Zenon Konopka will make the Sens one of the biggest and toughest teams this season in the NHL with Konopka (leading the NHL in PIM's the last 2 seasons) Chris Neil, and Matt Carkner all in the fold the Sens may lead the league in PIM's this season.

Depth Chart
Left Wing                Center                Right Wing
Milan Michalek         Jason Spezza        Daniel Alfredsson
Nikita Filatov            Mika Zibanejad     Bobby Butler
Nick Foligno             Peter Regin           Chris Neil
Colin Greening          Zenon Konopka   Erik Condra
Jesse Winchester       Zack Smith           Mark Parrish
Mike Hoffman           Stephane Da Costa

Left Defense             Goal                    Right Defense
Erik Karlsson            Craig Anderson     David Rundblad
Chris Phillips              Alex Auld             Sergei Gonchar
Filip Kuba                 Robin Lehner        Brian Lee
Jared Cowan                                          Matt Carkner

Top Breakout Candidates
Filatov will be given every chance and a lot of leash to finally realize his enormous potential.
Top Rookies 
Plenty of candidates to make the team and make an impact. Da Costa, Butler, and Zibanajed will be given chances, but the top rookie for the Sens and a potential Calder candidate is David Rundblad.
Hidden Gem
Last year was supposed to be a break out season for Peter Regin. It wasn't. If the kids don't steal the second line center spot it is all Regins.
Don't Draft
Sergei Gonchar. Perhaps Clouston insisting to play Gonchar on his off point on the powerplay last season led to his drop in points. Perhaps it is simply his age and he is declining. Either way Karlsson and Rundblad are the future.
Best Fantasy Value
Not many sure things to choose from but Karlsson is a franchise player, and if healthy Spezza can pile up points.
Fantasy outlook
The Sens are a much younger team with new faces and just beginning what looks to be like a quick rebuild phase. There is so much uncertainty at every position  going into the 2011-2012 season. What rookies will make the team? Will veterans Spezza and Alfredsson be relatively healthy?. Is Anderson the goalie the Sens have been searching for since coming back into the NHL? Will Filatov flame out like he did in Columbus or replace Dany Heatley on Spezza's wing.
Expectations going into the 2011-2012 season are much lower than this time last year. It will be a long season for the Sens, full of growing pains.

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