Last year, when there were two years left on a lot of players' contracts, it seemed like the graduation of our top AHL players would be stalled because of a season on the 3rd or 4th line in the NHL. Now that there is only one season left (okay, so I've resigned to the fact there's not going to be NHL this year), the only players that have contracts on the Sens' forward lines for 2013-2014 are:
Zibanejad (2016)- his contract will slide without NHL play this year
Regin, Latendresse and Alfie will be UFAs
Daugavins and Condra will be RFAs
At a minimum, we will have 8 players signed, and at maximum, 13. Now, I doubt that we're going to leave our 3 best wing prospects in Binghampton, especially if we have two holes on the wing for our top 2 forward lines (I'm still hoping and praying that Alfie comes back)
Do we sign Latendresse/Regin/Daugavins/Condra again? Or do we let Stone, Silfverberg and Zibanejad duke it out for two spots on the top six?
If I had to make an educated guess, our lines would look like this at the start of 2013-2014, if that season ever happens.
1- Michalek, Spezza, Stone
2-Silfverberg, Turris, Alfie
3-Greening-Smith-Zibanejad (BEAST of a line. I'm excited for this one)
I know it's a lot of youth on the same team, but I don't think the Sens are close to being able to compete in the playoffs, so we might as well give the kids a chance to play and not try to reach too far above expectations. I'm not telling us to tank the year, but then again, what's the problem with having some less than prime years? For us to make some noise, I feel like some significant signings/ trading the farm would have to be done in order to acquire big league talent at forward and defense.
Now, I'm okay with trading away prospects, but I'm only okay with it if it brings us close to competing NOW, or if we're getting similar value in return (Turris deal). It makes sense to me why LA has traded away a lot of their farm system/ draft picks in the past few years, because for them, it's not a matter of making the playoffs, but HOW FAR they will make it in the playoffs. It makes sense to leverage their prospects for a chance at making it one round further. From mid season 2011 to the trade deadline of 2012, the Kings traded away Jack Johnson, Brayden Schenn, Colton Teubert, Wayne Symmonds, two first round picks, a second round pick, and a third round pick in exchange for Dustin Penner, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter (and Rob Bordson). It worked for them. But they were close to being a complete team before those trades were made.
In that light, I feel like the Senators are a few pieces away from making some noise in the playoffs, so we should just let our players mature and learn the NHL game, and see what happens. I'd rather have some less than amazing years than try to squeak into the playoffs next year by trading some of our assets at this point.
All this was spurred on by seeing the Jays trying to win now. They were able to make a trade that brought them significantly closer to winning, and now with the whole R.A. Dickey process, there's a chance that they could make a significant mpact in the playoffs. They have a window of opportunity of about 3 years where their players are in their prime, and can capitalize on having moderately priced contracts, so they're selling the farm to do so.
How do you see the forwards on theroster shaping up?
Thanks for the read! Let me know if I've made any errors (stats or otherwise)