It's been talked about constantly, wherever you look. The harsh reality is, this is the worst Ottawa Senators team in the past decade.
Many things have happened, but the window of opportunity has closed. Many fans regard the salary cap coming in as the reason for the Sens demise. It isn't as well documented as the Hawks "blow-up", but the Ottawa Senators were probably the first casualty of the Salary Cap. The 42.5 million that was the ceiling when it was introduced forced the Senators to make some bad decisions, as Ottawa just peaked at the worst possible time.
Havlat was traded for peanuts, mainly because we didn't have the cap room to afford his next contract. Hossa for Heatley, and even the Bondra for Laich could have been seen as a somewhat decent trade at the time, as Bondra was the star of the Capitals, and no one expected Heatley to do what he did. We lost both Chara and Redden, and honestly, I don't think it would have mattered who we had given the extension to, as we would have lost them after two years when they demanded a raise anyways. We aren't Detroit. Players do not normally take cap-friendly salaries to stay.
No one thought the Senators were going to be this bad. If you look at the optimism on this site, and others, you would see that not many of the fans thought it'd be a bad year. Many thought we would make the playoffs, and some even predicted us to win the Northeast. But, it has been well-documented what has truly went on, we just don't have an HBO series in the locker room 24/7.
The Senators have underachieved. Who's fault is that? Is it Murray trying to bring in experienced vets that appear to fit on paper, but don't fit in the room? Is it the coaching, and Clouston with the constant line-juggling (includes PP with Gonchar)? Is it the players? The core? No motivation? People not performing at expected levels?
Now, Murray's contract is up, and we can all agree with some level of certainty that he did restock Bingo pretty well, but we can re-evaluate that in 3-5 years. We may in fact go through ANOTHER coach. Players will be traded, though it will be hard to do a complete rebuild with the NMC/NTC's.
The fans can't do what Chicago did and spend extended time in the cellar. I died yesterday watching the Leafs-Sens game, and the sluggish movements, versus the exciting, fast-paced game between the Pens and Caps. The young players were making the difference. They were excited. Staal, Perrault, Johansson, Letestu. Even Colorado, who didn't spend that much time at the bottom, has the exciting prospects of Shattenkirk, Duchene, O'Reilly, with some impressive D prospects in the wings.
Also, I don't think Melnyk can afford to spend time in the cellar, seeing that he needs the playoffs to break-even. This reason, I think, has been a major factor in Murray not doing anything.
I think: Spezza, Regin, Foligno, Kelly, Winchester, and Z. Smith should be kept. Alfie is Alfie, and it will be completely up to him to decide whether he wants to win a cup, or stay with the Senators, but we can all agree that he has a job with the organization after.
Michalek, Phillips, Fisher have the greatest value of our current group of players. Kovalev and Ruutu should at least garner some interest come deadline day.
The question at hand is, should Murray be in charge of blowing up the team? Or should another GM (McGuire, Jarmo, etc), who doesn't exactly know our team as well, be in charge before changes are made. Should Clouston remain as the coach when the players don't seem motivated? And how much change should be made?
I'm basically listing everything that we know. If anyone wants to add something to the current post, please leave a comment, and we can have this as our "Rebuild idea, what went wrong, etc" post, instead of these comments being made all over the site.