The Ottawa Senators 2011-12 roster includes more full-time rookies than they've iced in quite a while, even after trading rookie defenceman David Rundblad to the Phoenix Coyotes last week. And some of the freshman playing for the Sens aren't just peripheral players, either; they're offering meaningful contributions to the surprising success of the team so far. Let's take a quick look at each of them:
Jared Cowen: Jerry was relatively sheltered at the beginning of the season, but has been absolutely gobbling up minutes since injuries to Filip Kuba and Sergei Gonchar had depleted the Sens' blue line--and seemed to excel in that ice time, scoring most of his 10P (4G, 6A) this season in that time. Those two are back from their injuries, but expect Cowen to continue seeing ample ice time.
Stéphane Da Costa: Although he started the season fairly well, his size and inexperience was exposed as the season went on, and Da Costa's now plying his trade with the Binghamton Senators. He's doing fairly well in Bingo, with 9P (2G, 7A) in 11GP so far.
Kaspars Daugavins: Rooster has carved out a niche for himself as a high-energy third- or fourth-line player and penalty-killing specialist. Although he's used sparingly and won't dazzle many with his skills, he's managed 7P (3G, 4A) in 23GP and has passed Bobby Butler on the Senators' depth chart. Unless something big changes, it looks like he's in Ottawa to stay.
Robin Lehner: Has played just one game for Ottawa this season, a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He's struggling in Binghamton, though, with a record of 6-11-1 and a goals-against average of 2.93. It was unlikely that he'd see action in Ottawa at all this season, but if he doesn't turn his play around, it becomes even less likely.
Colin Greening: Started the season strongly with 8P in his first 12GP playing alongside Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, but slowed down a bit. He's back up in the lineup and scoring regularly again (5P in the last 7GP), and looks like a good fit in Ottawa's top six for the time being. He has 16P (8G, 8A) in 34GP so far.
Lots of links after the jump.
- Peter Regin re-injured his shoulder once again, and will be out indefinitely. (@SunGarrioch)
- Because of injuries to Regin and Jesse Winchester last game, the Senators will play with seven defencemen and 11 forwards. Both Bobby Butler and Brian Lee draw back into the lineup.
- Tonight's prediction panel is rather optimistic, despite the remarkable start the Florida Panthers have had this season. Five panellists predict a Sens win, just two predict the Cats to triumph. (Senators Extra)
- The Panthers will be missing a lot of talent tonight: Mikael Samuelsson, Marco Sturm, Jack Skille, Scottie Upshall, Sean Bergenheim, and David Booth will all be out of the lineup. (Miami Herald)
- The Senators have won seven straight against the Panthers. (Sportsnet)
- Milan Michalek practiced in a no-contact sweater today, and won't return this evening. (Sun)
- Daniel Alfredsson hasn't made any decisions about whether or not this is his last season. He loves the game, but hates the physical grind of the long seasons. (Sun)
- A look at Jared Cowen, casting him in a different mould than usual: As a regular offensive contributor. (Thin Blue Line)
- If the Senators make the playoffs, odds are that their first-round opponent will be the Boston Bruins (there's an 11.6 per cent chance of it). (Sports Club Stats)
- Mark Stone's ready for the World Juniors. (Senators)
- Looks like Shane Prince, however, will not be on Team USA. (USA Hockey)
- The Sens visited CHEO yesterday. (Citizen)
- Based on the 2012 NHL Entry Draft consensus, it looks like there will be some good players available for the Senators, if their current draft position continues. If the season ended today, the Sens would draft 14 overall (unless they beat the odds and win the lottery), listed as defenceman Slater Koekkoek in that list. My thinking, though, is that the Senators would target Sebastian Collberg, just based on the fact that he plays for Frolunda. (Copper and Blue)
- Some great stuff available on eBay from the B-Sens, including a lot of hockey sweaters with proceeds benefitting the Red Cross for flood relief. (eBay)
- The list of NHL players missing time due to concussion-related symptoms is now over 30, including Milan Michalek and Jesse Winchester. (TSN)
- One of the strangest things to happen so far this season, in my mind: Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette shoves his way past Steve Ott of the Dallas Stars. (Puck Daddy)
- Yet another strange incident will cause Martin Havlat to miss 6-8 weeks with a hamstring injury, after he pulled something on a line change. (Puck Daddy)
- Also strange: The headline "Could Brian Elliott actually win the Vezina?" isn't even that insane. (The Score)
- Perhaps the strangest thing to happen this season, however, is still to come: Some folks are going to protest the hiring of unilingual Randy Cunneyworth by the Montreal Canadiens on January 7, 2012. (Pro Hockey Talk)
- Ilya Bryzgalov was once again the star of 24/7, this time waxing poetic about dogs and defencemen. (Puck Daddy)
- Finally, because every time someone mentions Justin Bieber on the Internet
an angel gets its wingsyou get a million pageviews, I'll link to this satirical (I think) breaking news of the Toronto Maple Leafs signing Biebs. (Pension Plan Puppets)
- Speaking of the Leafs, they were apparently reluctant to include prospect Nazem Kadri in a potential deal for Kyle Turris. I'm not sure what the remainder of the deal would have been, but I don't think Kadri's value is very high anywhere by Toronto right now. (@DarrenDreger)