In the wake of the shock of the Runblad trade, I started to think more about who on the current roster will be here in 5 years when the Sens will be challenging for a championship. An important factor will be the opposition in the Conference as teams will probably re-tool to match the Bruins style.
1) strength down the middle - from the goalie out, to defence men & play making centres; 2) 4 balanced lines comprising a power forward, a play making centre, and a shooter; 3) role players - a defensive centre & PK specialists; 4) flexibility - to have enough of the type of players who can play a finesse game or a brawn game, depending on the opposition; 5) leadership & chemistry among the players who want to win for the guys in the dressing room; 6) superior coaching.
The core players are:
1) Spezza as a play making centre - up until the Pittsburgh game, I would have paid a team to take him because he was playing a minor pro game at the NHL level., costing as much as he contributed. I also thought that he would have trouble adjusting to good coaching, where he couldn't just do his thing. Since the Pitt game, I am converted as he played a complete game and merited the star of the week.
2) Michalek as a shooter - he has size, speed, good hands, and competes hard; concerns are his health & his style which puts him in positions where he is vulnerable to hard hits.
3) Greening as a power forward, under development. He is a good checker who can be a set-up guy or a shooter. With his team best speed and his rep in the weight room, he is on a path to be the Sens Johnny Le Clair.
4) Cowan as a defensive defence man, under development. Not sure yet how he will turn out, but for a first year player, he is doing very well. Not ready to hang the Chara label on him yet.
5) Karlson as a offensive defence man. You just have to look at Runblad's struggles in adapting to the NHL to realise how far he has come in his development and so quickly. He is on a path to be the Sens Scott Nedermeyer.
6) Smith as a defensive centre & role player. Up until recently, he was a team MVP candidate as he can defend, hit, fight & score clutch goals - more upside than Fisher or Kelly.
-Turris as a play making centre. He has potential, but needs time to develop, both physically & his game before one can evaluate him as a keeper. E.J. Mc Guire's evaluation of him when he was drafted was exceptional.
-Foligno as a power forward. His time is running out. He either finds his place as a power forward, because he is not a centre nor a role player, or he is a "throw in' in a big trade. Foligno is to the Sens as Marchand is to Boston but with less skill & power.
It is a given that all veterans will be gone or retired , and all the young players on the current team are replaceable.
What do you think?