After an extended break for coverage of the NHL Awards/Draft/Free Agency, "Senators by the Numbers" returns with a look at the history of the #7. Things are starting to get interesting. There hasn't been a lot of variety in the previous posts and with the exception of the post on #1 (which was understandably a list of goalies); only defensemen have been discussed in this series. That all changes with #7: finally we get to look at the contributions of several forwards.
11 different players have worn #7 for the Senators in their 20-year history. This group includes 5 centres, 3 wingers, and 3 defensemen. The list includes a former captain, journeymen, and top prospects, let's take a look:
Mark Lamb C 1992-1993, 1993-1994
Drafted by the Calgary Flames 72nd overall in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, Lamb was claimed by the Senators in the 1992 Expansion Draft. Lamb would serve as co-captain (with Brad Shaw) during the 1993-94 season until he was traded in March of 1994 to the Philadelphia Flyers for Claude Boivin and Kirk Daubenspeck. Lamb is currently the GM and Head Coach of the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL.
Dan Quinn C 1993-1994
Another Calgary Flames draft pick, Quinn was taken 13th overall in 1983. A point-producing centreman in junior, he no doubt benefited from playing in the high-scoring 80s: Quinn put up seasons of 19, 20, and 30 goals before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1986-87. Quinn continued his offensive contributions with the Penguins, with seasons of 31, 40, and 34 goals and a career high 94 points in 1988-89. Quinn had two spells in Ottawa and during the first spell in 1993-94 he wore #7. Quinn was Ottawa's original Milan Michalek, scoring 7 goals in just 13 games in 1993-94, without adding a single assist. Quinn embarked on a golf career once his hockey playing days finished and he also caddied for John Daly and Ernie Els. In addition, he's the only player to ever play for the Sens whose last name begins with "Q".
Randy Cunneyworth LW 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1997-1998
Before Randy Cunneyworth was best known as the unilingual head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, he had a successful NHL career, spanning 20 years with six different teams. Cunneyworth signed with Ottawa as a free agent in the summer of 1994, but that wasn't his first time playing for an Ottawa club. Cunneyworth played two seasons with the Ottawa 67's. His first season was average, scoring 16 goals and 41 points in 63 games. The following season, in 1980-81, Cunneyworth emerged as a dominant power-forward, scoring 54 goals and 128 points in 67 games while adding 240 penalty minutes. Cunneyworth spent four seasons with the Senators, serving as the captain for the final three years and helped the club make the playoffs for the first time in 1996-97.
Viacheslav Butsayev C 1998-1999
A journeyman NHLer who played for 6 different teams, Butsayev spent the majority of his career in Russia with CSKA Moscow and Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Butsayev played parts of two seasons with the Senators, but only wore #7 in his first season with the team.
Nelson Emerson RW 1998-1999
Like several others on this list, Emerson was a well-traveled NHL journeyman, making stops in St. Louis, Winnipeg, Hartford/Carolina and Chicago before his time in Ottawa, and Atlanta and Los Angeles once he left the Canadian capital. Drafted in the 3rd round, 44th overall by the St. Louis Blues, Emerson played four seasons at Bowling Green State University, where he was a 3-time Hobey Baker Award finalist. While with the Chicago Blackhawks, he was traded to the Ottawa Senators for Chris Murray.
Rob Zamuner LW 1999-2000, 2000-2001
Drafted 45th overall in 1987 by the New York Rangers, Zamuner was one of many NHLers whose NHL career unofficially ended with the lockout in 2004-05. His final season playing professional hockey was in 2006 for the Brisbane Blue Tongues of the Australian Ice Hockey League. He played for four teams (Rangers, Lightning, Senators, Bruins) during his 13 NHL seasons. During his two seasons with Ottawa he played a largely 3rd line checking role. Zamuner is most familiar to Canadian hockey fans for his surprising selection to Canada's Olympic men's hockey team in 1998 largely because of his defensive abilities. It would not have been an issue if Canada had finished higher than 4th in the tournament.
Curtis Leschyshyn D 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004
A veteran of over 1000 games in the NHL, Leschyshyn first appeared in this series at #2. Curtis received 13% of the vote for best #2 and several members commented that he should have been named best #2 instead of Brian Pothier. However, Leschyshyn spent the bulk of his time in Ottawa colours wearing #7 and was a reliable defenseman for a club increasingly seen as a Cup contender.
Joe Corvo D 2006-2007, 2007-2008
One of several players whose time in Ottawa ended tumultuously, Corvo is an offensive defenseman who was a member of Ottawa's Stanley Cup Finals run in 2007. A native of Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago (past residents include Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright), Corvo signed a four-year deal with the Senators in July of 2006 worth $10.5 million. Never comfortable playing in a hockey hot-bed, Corvo was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes along with Patrick Eaves for Mike Commodore and Cory Stillman on February 11, 2008.
Matt Cullen C 2009-2010
Selected 35th overall by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 1996, Cullen won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. It was this championship experience which attracted the Senators brass to Cullen and the centre was acquired on February 12, 2010 for Alexandre Picard and a 2nd round pick. Cullen's tenure in Ottawa was brief - he signed with the Minnesota Wild in the summer of 2010 - but he contributed offensively in the playoffs for the Sens, scoring 3 goals and adding 5 assists in 6 games against the Penguins.
David Rundblad D 2011-2012
Drafted 17th overall by the St. Louis Blues in 2009, Rundblad was traded to the Sens the following year at the 2010 Draft. After just three months in the Ottawa lineup, Rundblad was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes on December 17, 2011 for Kyle Turris, much to Adnan's dismay.
Kyle Turris C 2011-2012
Drafted 3rd overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes, Turris is the highest ever draftee from Tier II Junior "A". Turris played college hockey for the Wisconsin Badgers in 2007-08 and led the team in scoring while rooming with another future NHLer, Ryan McDonagh. Turris played just one season for the Badgers before joining the Coyotes. His relationship with the Coyotes soured and Turris held out at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, requesting a $3-4 million salary to facilitate a trade.
Best #7: Curtis Leschyshyn
While Kyle Turris seems on his way to become a significant contributor for the Sens and a mainstay on the team for years to come, he's not there yet. For now, the best #7 for the Senators is Leschyshyn. Curtis played some big minutes for a team that was not only increasingly competitive but also becoming a contender.
Worst #7: Viacheslav Butsayev
Butsayev never made a mark during his time in Ottawa; regardless of the number he was wearing. In a category without a star but filled with solid performers, Butsayev had the least impact on the Sens' fortunes. Emerson and Cullen were also candidates, but both were strong playoff performers during their brief stays in Ottawa.