It’s safe to say that the Senators have exceeded expectations thus far. Some things were predictable this season: the Leafs still sucking, the Habs returning to playoff contention with Carey Price, the Pens and Sharks being two of the top teams in the league again — just to name a few. However, the Sens rise up the standings, ultimately coinciding with the struggles of both Tampa Bay and Florida, means that a top-three spot in the division may be attainable and that’s a big surprise.
Unlike the Sharks and Penguins, I think there’s a lot of room for improvement, and this can be seen with the Sens still in the bottom-half of the league in both shots for and against (22nd), in addition to both special teams (17th). Where can that improvement come from?
A quick look at the Sens cap situation tells you a couple things: One: a lot of it has to come from the current group of players, with the core locked in for next season. Two: if there are gains to be made at a reasonable price, it may be in two places — a top nine forward or a top four defender. What do you think the team needs more?
Ken Warren chimed in on this topic in his piece on the team’s December record:
I see three arguments in favour of those in favour of acquiring a top-nine forward via trade.
- Dion Phaneuf’s improved play, Cody Ceci taking on a larger role, and the potential of Thomas Chabot stepping in right away next year is a good, in-house solution.
- Chris Kelly and Tom Pyatt’s poor play, nicely outlined by Trevor here, is too damaging to the Sens potential playoff run later in the year.
- The free agent market in 2017 looks slim. In my perusal, here are some names (it’s okay if you don’t know many of these): Chris Terry, Shane Harper, Spencer Abbott, Andy Miele, Tommy Wingels, Joe Whitney, Martin Hanzal, Ben Street, Derek Ryan, TJ Oshie, Cal O’Reilly, Patrick Eaves, Daniel Winnik, Teddy Purcell, Stafford, Viktor Stalberg, Kris Versteeg. I mean, I’d take a flyer on Andy Miele, and potentially Hanzal/Stafford if they’re not going to be too expensive. If not, names like Winnik/Versteeg may be good potential buys, but there’s no real bargain that’s immediately apparent.
Some arguments in favour of acquiring a defenceman?
- Dion Phaneuf and Cody Ceci are ~ 45% CF%, according to Natural Stat Trick, and are too inconsistent to play top-four minutes against playoff teams.
- Although Thomas Chabot looks good, the team made a mistake previously by rushing Cody Ceci. It’d be best to get Chabot at least a year of AHL time — time that the organization doesn’t have if they want to make a run in the next two years of Erik Karlsson’s prime
- Clarke MacArthur’s return, even in a depth role, provides some insurance while most of the BSens prospects that we’ve seen are potentially T9 NHL players (McCormick, Bailey, Paul, Perron). Colin White is also set to play some games this year. Meanwhile, the team lacks defence prospects in Binghamton outside of Andreas Englund.
If the team had to make a trade to improve the team, which side would you take? Chime in by participating in the comments section below!
- It really was a tale of two Decembers. Mark Borowiecki’s dumb 2-game suspension worthy hit cost the Sens against the Kings in Chris Neil’s 1000th game. [Silver Seven, SensChirp]
- Even worse, the Sens lackluster performance against the Ducks. To borrow some words from Guy Boucher: “it was a no show all around” [Silver Seven, SensChirp]
- Things changed when they returned home, playing a much more even contest and picking up a point in a 4-3 SOL to the
Sharks#SensWest. [Silver Seven, SensChirp]
- The good fortune continued against a funner, but still lacklustre Devils squad. [Silver Seven, SensChirp]
- The opposite of good fortune sums up Andrew Hammond’s Sens career after the magical run, which seemed to have used up two years worth of horseshoes. The offence made up for Hammond’s injury with a 6 goal outburst. [Silver Seven, SensChirp]
- The most impressive game of the month came against the NHL-leading Hawks, who the Sens held to 13 shots through two periods of play. [Silver Seven, SensChirp]
- In the last game before the holiday break, the Sens got revenge over the Ducks (despite being a bit outplayed again). [Silver Seven, SensChirp]
- What’s next for the Sens? Callum, Chirp, and Ken Warren talk about how the team’s chemistry and consistency in 2016 puts them in a good position to secure a playoff spot. [Silver Seven, SensChirp, Ottawa Citizen]
- The Citizen also has a ‘by the numbers’ breakdown of the Sens, contrasting 2015-16 to 2016-17. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Jeff has your BSens recaps with his detailed coverage. Overall, the team went 3-1-1 since our last check-in! [Silver Seven - v. Utica, v. Bridgeport, v. St. John’s, v. Springfield, v. Utica]
- Jeff also wrote about how the Sens organization have been poorly handling their younger goaltenders this season. It seems like every other week Matt O’Connor or Chris Driedger is up with the big club. [Silver Seven]
- Ben Harpur was the lucky BSens player who was up with the Sens in December. He was sent back down after Marc Methot was deemed healthy. [SensChirp]
- Another lucky player? Filip Chlapik, who’s torrid pace in the QMJHL this season earned him an entry-level deal. [Silver Seven, Ottawa Citizen]
- It’s World Juniors time! Trevor has a preview on the Sens content in written form AND audio form, with the latter featuring Kathryn Jean. [Silver Seven - WJC Preview, Cost Per Pointcast]
- Callum wrote about the Sens honouring Chris Neil, while Ross penned a piece on #25’s legacy in Ottawa. [Silver Seven - Honouring Neil, Neil’s legacy]
- Who else is going to be honoured soon? Longtime Sens GM Bryan Murray! [Silver Seven]
- Mike Hoffman received a two game suspension (!), which led to Casey Bailey being called up. Chirp covers this and chimes in on Christian Jaros, Clarke MacArthur, and potential trades in his piece. [SensChirp, Ottawa Citizen]
- Dean Brown stirred up some controversy with some pointed tweets about the voting for the 2015-16 Norris Trophy. Ross wrote a reply, arguing that the vote wasn’t rigged. [Silver Seven]
- Bobby Ryan had a fantastic month, with a majority of his points coming after Trevor wondered about exposing him in the expansion draft. [Silver Seven]
- Who’s up, who’s down? Follow your favourite player’s progress from week to week! [Silver Seven Ups & Downs - Week 9, Week 10]
- Your end-of-Nuggets audio this week features Damien Cox on the Battle of Ontario as the gang discusses the biggest surprises of the season, while Chet & Luke talking about the potential rosters for a Sens alumni game. [Battle of Ontario, Chet Sellers & Luke Peristy Podcast]