1. The goaltending
I'm very grateful that the Senators are planning to run with Andrew Hammond and Chris Driedger for the time being. For one thing, it shows that Sens aren't making a knee-jerk trade. It would be a mistake to give up a pick or prospect for a short-term goalie to fuel an impossible playoff run. This way, the team also gets to see what it has in these two. It can only be good for their development.
I also like it because it shows Sens management the importance of having goaltenders in the organization. Ottawa has now used their entire goaltending depth this season. Marcus Hogberg has not yet signed an entry-level deal. François Brassard was never signed. I know the team can only have 50 pro contracts, but four goaltenders is hardly enough. At the very least, the Sens should draft and sign a goalie this summer.
2. Methot extension
This past week, Marc Methot was signed to an extension. After a few days of reflection, I still really like the deal. I'm amazed that Methot came down from his initial asking point in both money and term. I think it works out really well for the team. The fact that Erik Karlsson went to bat for Methot is also a positive to me. Though if I were Karlsson and had to play half the season with Mark Borowiecki and Chris Phillips, I'd beg to have Methot re-signed too. This move sets the team up for four years of the top pairing sorted out, which is a good feeling. I can see a lot of the future of this team falling into place. Now if only they could do something about the rest of that D.
3. Selective cheapskates
The Sens are a budget team, mostly. The problem is, there seems to money for very specific things. I ranted about this last week, how there seemed to be money for Phillips, Chris Neil, Milan Michalek, and David Legwand, but then they argued with Methot over $300,000. I don't know how this team can argue it's on a budget if it refuses to trade any of those players at the deadline. In the summer, it's very likely the team will say it can't afford to sign most free agents because of the budget. It's also possible that the team will lose an RFA because of money. It's almost like the team only claims to be a budget team when it's convenient. If this team is serious about competing under a budget, they will trade at least one of those guys, and will buy Colin Greening out in the summer.
4. Selective cheapskates, part II
What's up with all the promotion/demotion lately? At the start of the year, the team was happy to have 23 players on the roster and Methot on IR. Once Methot was healthy, the team shuffled other people around on IR. Suddenly this week, the team became very concerned about the challenge of keeping up Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Shane Prince at the same time. Then to bring up Matt Puempel, the team sent Prince back down. To me, that seems ridiculous. Pageau costs the team $8k per game, Prince costs $11k, and Puempel costs $10k. To send Pageau down for a game because of $8000 seems really unprofessional to me.
And yes, I realize that the team has to carry two other goaltenders unexpectedly. For the record, Hammond and Driedger cost $8.8k and $8.9k per game respectively. For all these prospects, playing in the NHL means so much, they definitely get a lot more out of NHL practices, and they make a lot more money when they're up. I think it's really lousy of the organization to shuffle them back and forth for minimal savings.
5. Arena at Lebreton Flats
The news that the Sens got on to the next stage of proposals for development at Lebreton Flats is hardly a surprise. It seems like the organization did their due diligence, and their proposal seemed to have the most specific main attraction. Everybody offered green space, residential space, and commercial space. The Sens also have an arena. I know it's still a decade away, but the prospect of a downtown arena for the organization sounds really good to me. Here's hoping they keep putting good effort into this. Next hurdle: November 2015, when full proposals and financial details are due.
(On a side note, who calls their group RendezVous Lebreton? Were all the hockey puns taken?)