Given that the NHL Network was replaying all of the Senators/Habs series over the last week or so I was watching them (and reliving the wonderful experience and memories of Game 3 especially) with a keen eye specifically on Silf and Alfie knowing they would be plying their trade for other teams this year.
Man was Alfie amazing. I know some look at Clarke's stats and think he will potentially be a better replacement but Alfie was all over the place, back checking, controlling the play with his patience and pucks skills, making sweet little passes and getting on the body. It will be a very long time before we have such a complete player again (no slight to Karlsson but he isn't there yet).
Silf was looking quick and seemed to be involved in the play more than I recall. He didn't get his shot off very often but he was in solid position for many shifts - I think the difference between his game early on in the season and then the play-offs is night and day as he really started to just play and not have to think about each move he made. I believed he could be a solid 2nd line guy with 1st line potential and when we add in Noesen and a 1st round pick I started thinking we over paid for Bobby "Coming in hot" Ryan.
I think it is a natural phenomenon to think like this but then I thought about how good Zibby looked and quite frankly how dangerous Conacher looked at times (damn that kid is fast and pretty slick) to go along with Pageau...which led me to review some video of Bobby Ryan (and damn his highlights show top-notch skill!) and think about other kids coming in like Ceci and Puempel and the Hoff and I start to realize that change was inevitable and that for a proven goal scorer like Ryan the price was fairly justified (unless he doesn't sign up again - then we lose badly)...
Right now I am excited about the new season but the lingering doubt remains - I hope the new team just comes out blazing so we don't even have to discuss what could have been.
I needed to write this out as it just keeps kicking around my head so hopefully some group therapy will be just the medicine I require. I want to believe we are a better team but I see some real talent off the team right now and not sure the new guys will be all that and then some.
As a final thought to help with the optimism part, I saw this on the Senators site and don't recall them being so high on Ceci in Bingo but apparently he was the best D-man down there in his short stint.