In what might be the most ridiculous waste of time I commit this week, I've assembled a succession plan based on the Ottawa Senators' current defensive depth:
Legend: Green = current contracts; yellow = contract extensions; numbers = position on depth chart
It was actually kind of cool to put together, even though it's the kind of depth chart which would change every week with a player's play and every season with the incoming and outgoing players. There are, obviously, flaws, a few of which I will openly admit:
- I'm likely overstating the development of prospects Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen; as a fourth-year pro, I have Karlsson leading the Senators' defence corps, and Cowen jumps into the fold next season.
- After this year, Chris Phillips begins a rapid and steep decent down Ottawa's depth chart. It's unlikely he'll fall to the third pairing that quickly.
- The only way Brian Lee sticks around Ottawa as an eighth-ranked defenceman is if he signs a two-way contract extension this off-season, and that's not something he'd like to do. If he sticks around, I do think he'll turn into a solid part of the Senators' d-corps.
- Although Matt Carkner's NHL career is on an upward slope, he falls down Ottawa's depth chart above. If that happens, it would be a reflection of other players improving than him declining. It's to soon to say whether or not Carkner's still improving steadily enough to climb the depth chart.
- Of the three RFAs this season, Alex Picard is my opinion of the strongest blue-line contributor. He's got a lot to prove to get that highly sought after spot.
- Filip Kuba walks or is traded after 2011-12. At that point, he'll be 35, and may be re-signed--but injuries already seem to be catching up to him.
- GM Bryan Murray's going to have to swallow his pride if Chris Campoli walks during or after this season, but he looks like the odd man out at this point.