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Silver Nuggets: Answering questions about the roster

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How many more games will we see of Greening in a Senators uniform?
How many more games will we see of Greening in a Senators uniform?
USA Today Sports

[Note: Eric has announced the first Sens Money On the Board game of the season, and it'll be Saturday night against the Winnipeg Jets. Money will be donated to the Canadian Military Families Fund through the Sens Foundation, which is a very worthy cause, especially in light of the recent events in Ottawa. Please please please click this link and consider donating, it's really easy and I know I will be.]

On Tuesday, I asked some pertinent questions to all of you about the roster, and I'd just like to say a quick thanks to everyone who participated. Just to recap, here are the questions I asked:

1. Should Curtis Lazar be sent back to junior?

2. If not, how do you handle the extra forward situation? Is someone waived? Who? Is someone traded? Who?

3. With Marc Methot returning, how do you handle the extra defenseman situation? How would YOU optimize the Senators lineup?

There were a ton of good responses but I'll just highlight a few trends I noticed below!

1. Many of you noted that if it was an option, you would've loved for Lazar to get some AHL time, and I completely agree. One of the big issues of the CHL-NHL process for junior aged players is a lack of an option to send players who are deemed "too good for Junior" but "not ready for the NHL" to the league in the middle, the AHL. Unfortunately, many CHL clubs would hate this because of financial reasons, as these players are often stars and help them a) draw ticket revenue and b) help their respective franchises compete to win. Due to this not being an option, most of you leaned towards Lazar going back to the WHL and being on Team Canada's world junior roster, an opinion I held as well.

Those for Lazar in the NHL cited that he's accomplished all that he can in junior, and seems NHL ready. The answer was made for us by the organization this week, and it's not surprising given the comments of both the management group and the coaching staff towards Lazar's responsible, two-way play.

Often, I think one of the primary reasons for a player NOT to play in the NHL, especially as a junior-aged player, is because they're often poor without the puck. The skill is often there, but it almost forces the coach to give the player offensive zone starts to limit his defensive miscues. With Lazar, that definitely doesn't appear to be the case, and MacLean has trusted the line to play in all three zones. In fact, Lazar's offensive zone start % is 50.23 - dead in the middle of split starts between the offensive zone and the defensive zone.

2. With respect to who should be moved in the roster in exchange for Lazar staying up, user metalfoot had a suggestion that most seemed to agree with:

I would see Chris Neil and Colin Greening as both expendable; trade Neil because he is chock full of the intangibles everyone’s looking for. We’re not winning the cup this year, and probably never winning the cup with him. Greening— try to trade for a prospect or a pick, and, failing that, waive him to Bingo. If he gets picked up, at least he’s not eating roster and cap space.

Chris Neil hasn't been scratched once this season, and hasn't gotten into penalty trouble (!) like he often has in the past. Given his #leadership experience, I doubt that he's an option to go anywhere until his contract expires after next season. An option that was barely mentioned at all is the trading of Erik Condra, and this makes sense in my mind because a) Condra is a cheap, prototypical bottom-six forward who can also penalty kill and b) he has an expiring contract. Thus, Colin Greening, who has been a healthy scratch for nine of the Senators eleven games is the likely candidate to go down. I don't know if the Sens would consider waiving him, but I'd consider it if they can't trade him at all since they'd be paying his salary anyways.

User Manny.TtT brings up a really good point to consider anytime we're talking about trading players from an asset management perspective, and postulates that maybe a package that includes a defenseman (Cowen, Wiercioch, Gryba) for a better, top-four option is a possible route for the team. I'd definitely consider it if I'm Bryan Murray:

This is where things get tricky. As much as I would love to say "trade Neil!", "waive Greening!", those are easier said than done. I do agree that Neil probably still does have some value around the league and could be dealt. However, I really don’t see the team trading him until at least the deadline (unfortunately).

I think we’re looking at a quantity for quality trade. A defenseman (probably Wiercioch, maybe but probably not Cowen), along with a forward (Greening, Neil, Condra, Smith) for a defenseman (please for the love of god trade for a D-man and not a forward). While I would be totally ok sending Greening down on waivers in NHL15, I don’t think Bryan Murray and Melnyk will hit the "send down" button as fast as I do. Maybe, just maybe they can find someone willing to take him on via trade but I think that’s unlikely.

Smith seems like the most likely to go because he’s versatile and an asset to teams. I would be sad to see him dealt but you have to give something good to get something good so bye-bye Smith :(

Predictions: 
*Smith, Wiercioch/Gryba for a top four defenseman.
*Greening for a late pick
*Condra for a late pick
*Neil for a mid round pick

3. Elliotte Friedman had a really good tidbit in his 30 thoughts column linked below on teams wanting to keep eight defensemen:

Had a funny conversation with a GM last weekend. Heard he was looking for a defenceman. He responded with, "Everyone is looking for a defenceman." Montreal is checking to see what’s out there. The decimated Rangers are bringing in Tomas Kaberle, with no contract offer. Philadelphia’s search, before signing Carlo Colaiacovo, was exhaustive. "Name someone," one agent said. "They considered him." The same GM quoted above talked to a team with eight, one-way contracts on its blueline, only to be told none were available. "They wanted to keep all of them," he said.

Someone will have to go on the Senators, but it certainly appears that Murray and co. would rather scratch two defensemen and trade/waive a forward than to try and squeak one of the current defenseman through waivers, or to (gasp!) send Cody Ceci down to Binghamton as he's the only one on a two-way deal. One issue with the Senators right now is a lack of talented personnel on D, and many of you had trouble coming up with D pairings because of this very issue - the Senators only really have 2 (!) top-four defenseman. Hence, Manny's idea I quoted above of trying a package trade is the best bet, the question now becomes whether an opposing GM (EDM, CAR, PIT, ARZ) will bite. Mrs. O already spoke about the possibility of Jeff Petry being available, and there's rumours about pending UFA Andrej Sekera being traded due to Carolina not competing for a playoff spot this season - both would be an upgrade. Pittsburgh is also searching for an offensive winger and has a plethora of young defensemen (Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington), and Arizona has so many defensemen that they're struggling to find a spot for top pick Brandon Gormley. All of these teams are ones that I'd be calling.

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Sens Links

  • The Senators played two games this week and won both of them! First, the recaps from Tuesday night's victory over Detroit. [Silver SevenRank the PerformancesOttawa CitizenSensChirpSenShotWTYKYSenstats]
  • Secondly, yesterday's victory against the Minnesota Wild. [Silver SevenRank the PerformancesOttawa CitizenSensChirpSenShot]
  • Michaela is recapping the 4 Nations Cup, an annual women's ice hockey tournament, for us! Team Canada beat the USA in dramatic fashion, bringing back memories of the best hockey game at Sochi 2014, in their first contest. [Silver Seven]
  • The BSens also played a game this week, but were unfortunately blanked by the Utica Comets (VAN). [SenShot]
  • It's Friday, Friday, gotta read NKB's five thoughts for Friday [Silver Seven]
  • Mike talks about the Sens Supporter Section. Credit to RSU, I can definitely hear them when watching the games. Good stuff. [Bonk's Mullet]
  • A good tandem of posts here highlighting opposite ends of the spectrum on fancy stats. Both are great reads and brought up a lot of good talking points that made for fantastic discussion. The first, from Luke Peristy, can be found here. The follow-up piece by NKB can be found here.
  • Our email hotstove for this week looked at the staff's surprises and disappointments for the month of October. [Silver Seven]
  • Kyle Turris has been matching up against top faceoff competition this season and has admittedly been struggling a bit. [Ottawa Citizen]
  • Josh had a really good piece on the Curtis Lazar question. Although he ultimately is staying with the big club, some of the concerns Josh brought up are worth reading. [Silver Seven]
  • Tons of columns on the news that the aforementioned Lazar is staying with the big club for the foreseeable future. Nichols looks at the decision from an asset management standpoint, and Varada talks about tampering expectations [6th SensWTYKY, SenShotOttawa Citizen]
  • News also surfaced that Lazar's linemates, Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone, were told to find a house in Ottawa as well. [Ottawa Citizen]
  • With Lazar, Hoffman and Stone staying, the question now becomes, who's on their way out? Jack states that the obvious answer is Colin Greening. [SenShotOttawa Citizen]
  • Ian Mendes has a column on TSN that talks about the now infamous 'kid line'. [TSN]
  • Joe has a funny piece on the recent "Dad road trip" that features jokes other than the obvious Chris Phillips - Curtis Lazar one! [Bonk's Mullet]
  • Ian adapted our Ups and Downs series to the BSens, giving his monthly arrows for their play in October. [Silver Seven]
  • Ian also gives us an update on how our three Swedish prospects are doing. Of note, Andreas Englund was named to Sweden's preliminary WJC roster and ESPN scout Corey Pronman has a note on him here. [Silver Seven]
  • Josh has his weekly update of the 67s and the Gatineau Olympiques for us. [Silver Seven]
  • Jack also has an update on all of the Sens prospects, including the few in the NCAA. [SenShot]
  • The folks over at Sens Callups have Episode 4 of their podcast with some good thoughts on October. [Senscallups]
  • Would you like to go to a couple games with some Silver Seven staff members? Adnan has tickets for two different December games and they're always a fun time. [Silver Seven]

Sports Links

  • Just wanted to add some recognition in here for Chris Lund, the person who ran the Senators twitter account for a while now. He's done a fantastic job, and I know that I've greatly appreciated the work that he's done to grow the Senators online presence with the fanbase. Lund will be moving on to another organization. If YOU want to be the face of #SensTwitter, applications are here! [Ottawa Senators]
  • Yost has a great piece on regression, featuring the Colorado Avalanche and the New Jersey Devils [TSN]
  • the NHL's COO talks about the league's plan for revenue growth, including jersey ads (!) and the World Cup of Hockey. Eugene and I are crying for different reasons. [SBDSporting News]
  • The Arizona Coyotes are still losing money. *checks the temperature outside, realizes that indeed, it is normal* [The Globe & Mail]
  • The NHL may consider renaming its end-of-season awards after greats like Gretzky, Orr, and Lemieux after its centennial season in 2017. [ESPN]
  • There may be a regular season game in China (!?!?!?!) as early as next year [TSN]
  • The must-read weekly column by Elliotte Friedman [Sportsnet]
  • Friedman talked about medical technology in his column, and here's something from college football that's potentially applicable to the NHL - concussion-sending mouthguards. [Geekwire]
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Thanks for reading!