With yesterday's news that Matt Carkner is nearing a return, there seems to be some discussion on what the Senators should do with their defencemen. Barring any further injuries, there will be eight healthy defencemen. Erik Karlsson, Sergei Gonchar, Filip Kuba and Chris Phillips are locks to play for now.
That leaves two spots for four players, Jared Cowen, David Rundblad, Brian Lee and Matt Carkner. I am in the minority of people who feels Rundblad has outplayed Cowen so far, especially considerng that Cowen has seen the easier opponents to play against, but Cowen has played every game this year so I would consider him a lock to play as well.
The last spot is between Rundblad, Lee and Carkner. The Senators could send Rundblad to the AHL and play Lee as the sixth defenceman with Carkner as the spare coming in for the odd game. Alternatively, they might be playing Lee right now to find a trade partner willing to take him. In the case of Lee being traded, Rundblad would almost certainly be playing and Carkner would again be a healthy scratch. Lastly, they could trade Carkner, but then they are still in the current situation where one of Rundblad or Lee are sitting every game.
I would like to keep Brian Lee for next year, but I am not sure if we can plod him along until the trade deadline and I don't think David Rundblad should be in the AHL for that length either. All that to say, it's a very tricky decision. If you made me choose by threatening to take away my cookies, I would vote for trading Carkner.
Lastly, just in case Darren cast any doubt on voting for the Senators, don't forget to vote for all the Senators on the all-star ballot. It's a good cause! Go to vote.nhl.com to vote.
General Sens News
- Erik Karlsson's eventual hall of fame career will now likely include two all-star game appearances in his first three seasons. After one week, Karlsson is leaving second place Daniel Alfredsson eating dust, with a lead of almost 16,000 votes. Alfredsson leads all forwards, while Jason Spezza is third and Milan Michalek fourth among the the forwards. Sergei Gonchar is seventh among defencemen. (Ottawa Sun)
- The Senators might have caught some teams by surprise so far, but if they keep hanging around the playoff bubble, that will change a little bit. (Ottawa Sun)
- I am not sure if I would call a 3.25 goals against average and .895 save percentage to be 'more than respectable' but Craig Anderson is certainly playing better now. His neck is fine (unlike mine) and he is expected to play on Friday. (Senators Extra)
- The Senators are practising in Ottawa for the second straight day (technically today is in a place called Rockland but I will assume it is in the Ottawa area) but they are still on a six-game road trip. That will end Friday night in Pittsburgh and the Senators will return home for one game before going on the road for another three. The road trip has been a smashing success already, with Ottawa picking up seven points in five games. (Ottawa Citizen)
- Milan Michalek is healthy and showing us what he can do. He is not going to keep scoring at his current pace, but a 30-goal season would make him a legitimate first line player right? Or at the very least, for this season anyway. (Ottawa Senators)
- Robin Lehner received his Calder Cup ring today. He has really rough looking hands. Someone get the man some cream! (Joy Lindsay)
- Everyone seems pleased with the Senators season so far. These guys are especially happy with Erik Karlsson and want to sign him up long term for lots of money. Can't say I disagree with that. It's a very long article about the Senators season, but with no games until Friday, you should read it! (Welcome To Your Karlsson Years)
- The Chicago Blackhawks as muppets. Patrick Kane's resemblance is really close to Gonzo isn't it? Also, is Jonathan Toews ever happy? (Blackhawks Down Low)
- Billionaire Nelson Peltz, father of Senators draft pick Brad Peltz, is trying to buy the New Jersey Devils. We can then trade Peltz for Zach Parise right? (Forbes)
- Kyle Turris finally signed with the Phoenix Coyotoes. It was a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.4 million. (The 6th Sens)
- Despite Tyler Seguin's good start, Phil Kessel is doing even better. Is it possible the Leafs didn't completely get destroyed in that trade after all? (Globe and Mail)