Senators Ups and Downs: Preseason Edition

JGP, about to break his right hand. - Jim McIsaac

Ups and downs is a feature that looks at the individual performances of the Ottawa Senators during the past week.

Your favorite oversimplifications have returned!

Well, now that hockey is actually being played again, we have something to do besides sit around and argue. The Ottawa Senators have performed well so far in this preseason, with the rookies winning their tournament and the young prospects again delivering good performances so far in the preseason. They've been integral to Ottawa's success so far, which is good--as long as the Senators ice a team on a budget, good performances from its young players will remain integral to its success.

Biggest Gains: Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Though some, like myself, have spent the summer expecting Pageau to begin the season in Binghamton thanks to his two-way contract ("Politics," in the parlance of Senator Lehner), Pageau has not played like an AHL player. Head coach Paul MacLean singled out Pageau as the team's best player in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, which is always a good thing when you're trying to make a team. Questions will remain about whether a player of Pageau's size can deliver the same intensity night after night over an 82-game season--Pageau's fearlessness is a big advantage, and that same attribute already appears to have sapped some of Z. Smith's game--but as long as he can bring it, he should be playing in the NHL.

Biggest Losses: Jim O`Brien

Unfortunately, Pageau's gain is someone else's loss. JOB appeared in one game, Ottawa's 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, and notched an assist, but it doesn't look like that's going to be enough to secure a roster spot. At one point last season, O'Brien was leading the team in goals--and that came after he recommitted to the game following a pretty frank end-of-season meeting with GM Bryan Murray--but he wasn't able to hold off Pageau last season, and it doesn't look like he'll be able to hold him off this season. The writing is on the wall for O'Brien.

Goalies Trend Notes
Craig Anderson Anderson didn't look great on either goal he allowed against Toronto. THE SKY IS FALLING.
Francois Brassard Just getting a taste of the show.
Chris Driedger Ditto.
Scott Greenham Greenham is probably just a camp body.
Andrew Hammond Hammond was not great in his first appearance, allowing two goals in just 20 minutes of playing time, but notched a shutout in his next third period appearance. He's likely to back up Lawson in Binghamton.
Nathan Lawson Lawson looks ready to be the starter in Binghamton this year. Wouldn't want to see him taking on NHL shooters nightly, though.
Robin Lehner He's so jacked, he probably doesn't even know it's preseason.
Defensemen
Ben Blood If only his play were as cool as his name.
Mark Borowiecki Quietly in a battle with Gryba for the 7th defenseman spot in Ottawa. Watch for poltiics.
Cody Ceci Ceci has appeared in one game, notching two shots. There was talk he could challenge for a roster spot this year, but it doesn't look like there's an opening for him to challenge for.
Fredrik Claesson Hey! Defensive guy scores a goal! Claesson's been steadily developing, and could be in play next year, but this year it looks like he'll be on Binghamton's top pairing with Ceci.
Joe Corvo This time around, Corvo doesn't have to do anything except limit mistakes and be a veteran voice in the locker room.
Jared Cowen Got his money, and missed three games to do it. Didn't leave himself much room for error in getting up to speed to start the season.
Tyler Eckford Hasn't played. Wasn't likely to play.
Eric Gryba His contract status gives him an advantage over Borowiecki, but how much remains to be seen. While he's nursing an injury, Borowiecki is playing. If BoroCop can round out his game, Gryba might be in trouble.
Ben Harpur An obvious project, Harpur has ideal size, but needs a ton of polishing before we start talking about him in the NHL.
Erik Karlsson He looks so much better than he did in the playoffs last year. It's like time is a factor in healing an injury!
Marc Methot Already liking Methot's decision-making this year.
Daniel New Another player who's just there to soak up experience. He has no chance of making the big club.
Chris Phillips You can tell it's the preseason because Phillips has 7 shots in 2 games.
Troy Rutkowski Thought he looked good in his one game. Might be another Andre Benoit.
Michael Sdao This kid is all over the place. Shooting, fighting, hitting... he needs some coaching to help settle him down. Like the potential, though.
Chris Wideman They told him to try to play more like Karlsson. Yeah, okay.
Patrick Wiercioch Holllllllllllly crap. If Wiercioch can play this way for a whole season, the Senators are in great shape.
Forwards
Cory Conacher Scored a goal and backchecked consistently. Looks like he had a good offseason, which is good, because he needed to improve to earn a top-six spot.
Erik Condra Condra has nothing to prove. He's locked in his role.
Corey Cowick There was an outside chance he'd get a shot at making the team, but it doesn't look like he's even impressed enough in camp to get an audition.
Jakub Culek The next Jim O'Brien? Haven't heard a peep about him, and that's bad, because he needs to stand out if he wants to be part of the future.
Stephane Da Costa Playing well. Not well enough to beat out Pageau, but well enough to earn an opportunity with another team via trade or waivers. Of course, if he plays on Binghamton, that's ideal for the organization.
Vincent Dunn Dunn's not going to be a factor for a while.
Dave Dziurzynski Might get replaced by Robinson, who offers more size and seemingly more skill.
Derek Grant Looks like he'll have a good season in Binghamton and serve as a useful callup should his number get called.
Colin Greening Big, big year for Greening. Going to plenty of opportunity for him anywhere in the top nine.
Wacey Hamilton Hasn't played. Is a lock for Binghamton.
Danny Hobbs An ECHL player last year, he's probably just looking to earn a spot on a team.
Mike Hoffman Notched an assist in his only appearance. Still in the mix for a roster spot, either on the second or fourth lines.
Ludwig Karlsson Not in the mix for a spot in Ottawa this year, but making a good impression. One to watch.
Matt Kassian You know what you're getting here.
Darren Kramer He's a long shot. Hasn't played, isn't going to, and needs to do more than just fight to keep himself in the organization's future.
Curtis Lazar Should have a good year no matter where he winds up.
Clarke MacArthur One-timer goal from Turris. Sign me up.
Jarrod Maidens Suffering from concussion symptoms again, and tried to hide them this time. Just an awful situation for him.
Milan Michalek You may think he's lost a step, but two points (1G, 1A) in two games is tough to argue against. It could be that he doesn't need to do as much to succeed with Ryan on the other side.
Chris Neil Got himself a well-deserved 'A.'
Jim O`Brien See "Biggest Losses."
Jean-Gabriel Pageau See "Biggest Gains."
Andre Petersson How about this guy? On his last chance, he starts to deliver. If he had been playing like this last year, the team probably would have never traded for Conacher. He's got an uphill climb now, but he's also got the talent to do it.
Shane Prince Looks good, but it will be a few years before he's ready to play in the NHL and there's a roster spot open for him.
Matt Puempel All he has to do is go to Binghamton and work on his game. The table is set for a perfect developmental year.
Buddy Robinson Having a great preseason, but will still start the year in Binghamton. His size and skating making him an appealing callup, though.
Bobby Ryan Scored a shooter's goal, and set up another goal. Chemistry with his linemates is a work in progress. Talent on the ice is not.
Cole Schneider Just a role player. In Binghamton.
Z. Smith Might have to play on wing--or get traded--to make room for Pageau and Zibanejad.
Jason Spezza Seems to have found another level of determination in his game. Hard not to be excited about him this year.
Mark Stone His injury hampered his offseason training, but he's still getting a shot to steal Conacher's place on the second line.
Kyle Turris Didn't get a lot of chances in a fight-filled game, but set up a goal for MacArthur.
Mika Zibanejad Appears to have taken the next step in his development. Now the team needs to get him some scoring wingers.

Special thanks to our friend winterion at Japer's Rink for our icons!

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