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Silver Nuggets: Bottom Six Possibilities and Lineup Flexibility

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Will we continue to see this thousand-watt smile from Neil?
Will we continue to see this thousand-watt smile from Neil?
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, I asked for your bottom six lineups and got a variety of responses. Thank you to those who participated!

Player

Position

Clarke MacArthur

LW1, LW2, LW3

Milan Michalek

LW1, LW2, LW3

Mike Hoffman

LW2, LW3

Jean-Gabriel Pageau

C3

Curtis Lazar

RW3, C4, Binghamton

Colin Greening

LW4, Scratch

Zack Smith

C4, Scratch

Alex Chiasson

RW3, RW4, Scratch

Chris Neil

RW4, Scratch

Shane Prince

LW4

Ryan Dzingel

C4

Buddy Robinson

RW4

The quickest thing to notice was how complex a question this is for many of us, and how the decision on who plays in the bottom six ultimately impacts the left-wing position on the top two lines. Really, only the top three centres (Turris, Zibanejad, Pageau) and top two right wingers (Stone, Ryan) are agreed on. After that, especially on left wing, we get a rotation of players. Clarke MacArthur, Milan Michalek, and Mike Hoffman are all middle-of-the-pack forwards, in that they can comfortably slot on either of the top three lines depending on their linemates and the roles they're asked to play. Obviously that leaves Colin Greening to fight it out with NHL contenders Shane Prince and Matt Puempel for the 4L spot.

Right wing is a bit murkier, with Curtis Lazar, Alex Chiasson, Chris Neil, and Buddy Robinson the potential candidates. The solution here ultimately depends on the question: Should Curtis Lazar develop as a centre and play top line minutes for the BSens next season? I subscribe to the ideology that top line AHL minutes is better than 9-12 NHL minutes, for those wondering why I posed the question as L3 or AHL for Lazar.

If yes:

  • It's likely get Alex Chiasson and Chris Neil as the right wingers for the bottom-six, with Buddy Robinson or Cole Schneider - natural right wingers - as the first call-ups.
  • Zack Smith is the 4C, with newly signed Eric O'Dell, or Ryan Dzingel/Max McCormick as the first call-up from Binghamton
If no, and Lazar stays on the NHL roster:
  • Lazar plays with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Alex Chiasson and Chris Neil compete/rotate for L4 RW
  • Lazar plays 4C, Zack Smith is scratched; Colin Greening and Chris Neil/Robinson/Schneider play RW
  • Lazar plays 4C, Zack Smith moves to LW; Colin Greening is scratched, Chris Neil/Robinson/Schneider play RW
All in all, it's going to be extremely hard for us to have these lineup discussions as the season goes on, just because the roster players are so flexible in terms of position. Given where the Senators are in their franchise development, and the decision to let Erik Condra go to seemingly make room for the young kids, I wouldn't be surprised if Lazar, Prince, Puempel, etc. end up boxing out the veterans in Greening, Smith, and Neil. That being said, contracts speak volumes and the fact that Greening hasn't been moved means that it'll still be hard for the Senators to make room. Ah, to go back to Spring 2013.

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Sens Links

  • As Alex Chiasson's Thursday arbitration date nears, we received some news today on how far apart the two parties really are. What's a fair deal for the forward? Chirp and Jack try to figure it out. [Silver SevenSensChirpSenShot]
  • Our popular 'Tactical Formations' series is back! In the first instalment, Callum looks at the 5-on-3 powerplay and penalty kill. [Silver Seven]
  • Chirp with a report on a now forgotten defenseman, Chris Phillips. He's certainly not leaving $2.5M on the table, so I expect him to suit up for the Sens this season. How many games do you think he plays? [SensChirp]
  • Andrew continues to write powerful pieces on sports culture and fandom as a whole. This time, he talks about how watching the game from the stands - something simple for most - can be difficult, especially if you don't 'fit' conventional norms. [WTYKY]
  • Although Erik Karlsson has a fantastic contract given what he provides for the team relative to his peers, the best deal on the team may belong to Kyle Turris. Take a look at some contract comparables around the league. [SenShot]
  • The BSens are putting the finishing touches on their roster. Jeff discusses their five AHL contract signings for us. [Silver Seven]
  • Trevor has a really interesting article that argues that Ottawa should hire from outside when it's time to find a successor for Bryan Murray, instead of choosing one of (or both of) Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee. [SenShot]
  • A nice column on Shane Prince, a player on the cusp of being a full-time player in the NHL. Will it be with Ottawa? [Silver Seven]
Hockey Links
  • A fantastic column from Adam Gretz on the post-Mike Babcock Red Wings. [CBS Sports]
  • Some #fancystats on special teams! [Null Hypothesis Hockey]
  • Despite playing up the expansion process, the NHL only received two applications: one from Las Vegas, and the other from Quebec City. [The Score]
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Thanks for reading!