With Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot under contract next season and with Bryan Murray's recent decision to extend veteran Chris Phillips for another two years, Ottawa has three spots figured out. The organization seemed unwilling to cut ties with the struggling Jared Cowen at the trade deadline and likely hope he rebounds in 2014-15. That leaves Ottawa with two spots to fill and four possible defensemen to fill those spots.
Ceci's play since his December call-up has led some in the organization (Bryan Murray) to suggest that's he steadied the struggling Ottawa defense. The Sens post-Olympic implosion has proved that stability was an exaggeration and Ceci has struggled of late. While the right handed shooting blueliner has been one of MacLean's go-to defensemen during his rookie season, he'll be on just the second season of his ELC in 2014-15. The two-way deal provides the organization with some flexibility and it's possible Ceci starts the year in Bingo. Doesn't seem likely? Just ask Mika Zibanejad how that works out.
After a difficult 2012-13 season, Gryba has rebounded nicely in 2013-2014. The right-handed shot has played in slightly more than half of Ottawa's games this season and is usually one of Ottawa's better D-men when in the lineup and his size and style of play is appealing to MacLean. Gryba is currently in the final year of a two-year, two way deal and will by an RFA once the season is over. He'll be due a raise over his $600,000 salary. Also he has the best beard.
After signing a three-year, $6M contract in the offseason, Wiercioch's season hasn't gone as planned. Like Gryba, he's had trouble getting into the lineup, despite his strong play. The left-handed shot has only played in 42 games, but trails only Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot have more points from the blueline. He's a positive possession player but can't seem to earn the trust of his coach.
Despite playing just 13 games with the Senators this season, Borowiecki's contract switches to a one-way deal in 2014-2015. A left-hand shot, during his brief stints in the NHL Borowiecki has shown a willingness to do things like fight to stay in the Sens lineup. At $600,000 he's an economical option for Bryan Murray.
Assuming two of these defensemen fill the final two slots on the blueline and one fills the role of seventh defenseman, who's the odd man out and why?