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Senators Ups and Downs: The End

The Senators ended the season 2-1, but it wasn't enough to save Cory Clouston's job. The team beat two playoff teams this week, and there were many positives to take away from the play of much of the roster. Next season will be long in coming, but there's no reason to approach it with a sense of dread. The Senators are not the worst team in the NHL.

Biggest Gains: Jason Spezza
Seven points in three games. What can be said about Spezza that hasn't been said already? It's hard to believe that this is the same player Senators fans have watched in the past few seasons. His maturation has simply been a pleasure to watch, and is probably the single brightest spot for Ottawa's future. His obvious chemistry with Bobby Butler, who is frequently in the area to receive his no-look passes, only further encourages us.

Biggest Losses: Francis Lessard
We've piled on Lessard since he began playing with the big club, but his play hurt the team more than anyone else's this week. His role is little more than skating some shifts to see if he can find an opponent to fight, which is fine. It's when he puts his team on the PK that we become frustrated with him. His flailing trip of Andreas Nodl (Lessard had fallen down on the play, and whacked Nodl's skates with his stick as an attempt at defense) was painful to watch, and his hit from behind on Tom Pyatt was dangerous and uncalled for -- and it gave the Canadiens a five-minute power play. Lessard was suspended for two games for the hit, an ignominious end to his time with the Senators.

Goalies Trend Notes
Pascal Leclaire We wish him well in wherever his future takes him.
Curtis McElhinney If his last start for the team, a 3-1 loss in Boston, was an audition, he probably won't be back with the team.
Craig Anderson Closed out the year with wins over Philadelphia and Montreal. Probably the brightest hope for next year.

Erik Karlsson Missed the end of the season with a cut thigh, but still finished the year with 45 points. That makes him the team's second-highest scorer, and bodes well for his future.
Brian Lee Lee turned in two strong performances against Philadelphia and Montreal before faltering slightly against Boston -- not that many of his teammates looked good in that game.
Chris Phillips Pretty steady over the last week. Jumped into more than a few rushes, presumably because it didn't matter much at this point in the season, but couldn't generate any points -- though he did hit the post against Boston.
Filip Kuba Two assists against Philadelphia and the GWG against Montreal in overtime. Plus-1 on the week and also blocked 10 shots in three games. Maybe Kuba's best week all year.
David Hale Struggled this week, as he did last week. Though he's the owner of the best plus/minus rating on the team, we think he looks like an AHL player.
Andre Benoit After going to town with seven shots in one game last week, Benoit was much less noticeable in his final games.
Sergei Gonchar Finished the year on injured reserve.
Matt Carkner Finished the year on injured reserve.

Colin Greening Returned to the AHL despite a two-goal game. Soylent was then recalled due to Marek Svatos's concussion. He promptly notched an assist against Montreal.
Jason Spezza See "Biggest Gains."
Bobby Butler The Bust found his second wind, as he finished the year on a three-game goal scoring streak. He also recorded three assists in that span. Would have been the biggest gainer if Jason Spezza hadn't been hotter. Finishes the year with 21 points in 36 games. That's pretty good. Throw out his first eight games, where he was up and down between the AHL and NHL and still adjusting to life on Spezza's wing, and he has 21 points in 28 games as a full-time NHL player.
Milan Michalek Two points in three games this week. We're excited about the thought of Michalek entering next season fully healthy.
Ryan Shannon Three points (1G, 2A) in three games for Shannon.
Erik Condra Condra finished the season being pretty invisible despite strong early chemistry with Shannon.
Nick Foligno Foligno played strongly in his final three games. He seems to be aware of his inconsistent season, as he is skipping the World Championships to train (and also get married) this offseason.
Zack Smith No stupid penalties for Z. Smith this week and one outstanding fight.
Chris Neil Took 17 minutes in penalties for defending Z. Smith after he was elbowed in the head. Things like that are why Neil got to wear the 'A' at the end of the season.
Marek Svatos Finished the year on injured reserve.
Jesse Winchester
Part of the reason Winchester is valuable is his faceoff skill: He won 18 of 32 (56.3%) this week, including going 7 for 10 against both Montreal and Boston. Think that's not huge when he's leading the second PK unit on the ice?
Francis Lessard See "Biggest Losses."
Stephane Da Costa Though he didn't record a point in his first four NHL games, he looks very promising. Bobby Butler didn't score in his first two NHL games with Ottawa last year, either.
Daniel Alfredsson Finished the year on injured reserve.
Peter Regin Finished the year on injured reserve.