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Silver Seven Mailbag: Your Questions Answered, Part 1

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In part one of two, the Silver Seven Sens staff answers your pressing questions about Kyle Turris re-signing, the outlook for the 2017-18 season, and much more

Pittsburgh Penguins v Ottawa Senators - Game Three Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Not too long ago, we asked the readers if they had any questions they wanted answered by some of the staff at Silver Seven Sens. We didn’t get quite as many questions as we did in March, but there were still some interesting ones to answer.

Here is part one of two for the Silver Seven mailbag!

I have a two-part question regarding the Sens scoring for the upcoming season: 1) Do the Senators have enough in-house talent, to rectify their "scoring woes"? 2) If not, who is one current NHL'er that you would like to see Dorion pursue - who would you have liked to send over the boards in Game 7 to get us that 1 more goal?—Fisher’s Man Friend

As this team stands right now, I don’t think they quite have enough scoring talent. They have better depth than they did a year ago, but their top three forwards in Kyle Turris, Mark Stone, and Mike Hoffman aren’t in the upper echelon of top forwards in the game. Ultimately I think they can be in the middle of the pack in scoring, being as high as 10th and as low as 20th.

As for your second question, there are endless possibilities. However, there are only a few players that I could reasonably see being acquired. I think an easy one to sign is Jaromir Jagr, as he would add some much-needed depth to right wing, and he could easily put up 40 points. But if we’re talking trade, then I’d still love to get Matt Duchene and either put him at right-wing on the first line or have amazing depth at centre.

Do I think either of those two come to Ottawa? In Alfie’s words, “probably not.” But I wouldn’t rule out an addition up front—TS

Pavol Demitra: top 3 worst hockey decisions ever by Sens management?—Be_Rad

Absolutely! A couple deals look terrible in retrospect. Keeping Redden over Chara ended up awful, but at the time the two looked comparable (no matter how many commenters say they knew it would end up this way). Heatley over Hossa looks terrible now looking at Hossa’s longevity, but Heatley scored 50 goals for Ottawa twice and was a big contributor in Ottawa’s lone run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

You can look at things like drafting Brian Lee over Anze Kopitar, but let’s remember Benoit Pouliot, Devin Setoguchi, Gilbert Brule, and Jack Skille all were drafted ahead of Lee. Jack Johnson is clearly the fourth-best top-nine pick from that draft, and most would say he's been severely overrated his whole career. Lee’s not the only top-nine bust from 2005.

The thing about the Demitra trade is that he was above two-points-per-game for the PEI Senators (122 points in 60 games) and had somehow managed 26 points in 59 games on an atrocious Ottawa Senators squad. He was a rare gem on an expansion team, a 9th-round pick who was actually turning into something incredible. Christer Olsson was an 11th-round pick with 11 points in 31 NHL games and 14 in 41 AHL games.

Sure, Olsson was a defenceman, but Demitra was dominating the AHL and a putrid Sens roster couldn’t find space for him. Olsson went on to play 25 games for the Sens and the leave the NHL forever. Demitra went on to score 768 points in 847 NHL games. It’s obvious who was the better player here. The fact that it was pretty obvious even at the time that Ottawa was giving up a much better player makes it possibly the worst hockey decision Ottawa’s ever made. It wasn’t even defensible without the benefit of hindsight—RA

Is a Kyle Turris re-signing assured or will the team look to move him at the deadline and go forward with some combination of Brassard, Pageau, White, Smith, and Thompson at centre?—@nevalent

I think the answer to this depends on two main factors…

1: Does Turris want to stay?

After all, unrestricted free agency has its perks. If he feels Ottawa isn’t offering enough and/or he could fetch more value and term on the market, then he may end up wanting to leave somewhere else. With his hometown Vancouver Canucks showing recent habits of signing veteran UFAs, and the Sedins also both finishing their contracts, that seems like a destination that could spark some interest.

2: Does Ottawa want Turris to stay?

Falling more in line with the question, I think the Sens are definitely pursuing trying to ink Turris to an extension. Dorion’s stated on the radio that he’s already working on a new deal with Turris (as well as Anderson and Borowiecki), and after seeing how well he performed in the playoffs, I don’t see any reason why the Sens would be satisfied if he walks.

Of course this could change in the next season. Turris could begin to falter, or maybe one of Brassard, Pageau or even Colin White surpasses him on the depth chart. I doubt this happens, but we’ve seen crazier with this team.

It’s additionally worth noting that next year’s crop of UFA centres is pretty deep, as after the big fish in John Tavares, there’s still guys like Paul Stastny, Mikko Koivu, Bryan Little, Mikael Backlund, Joe Thornton and the aforementioned Sedin’s that could all potentially be hitting the market. I doubt Pierre Dorion would want to target one of them over Turris (he would have the cost savings + pre-existing connection to the franchise), but it’s another possibility if Turris decides he wants out—CC

With the Sens making to the ECF and being so close to making the finals last year, what do you think their outlook is for 2017-18?—@mikeec67

I certainly think the outlook is more positive than it has been in a long time. We don’t know yet if the run is repeatable or how much of a role luck played in the team getting as far as it did, but we do know that The System works, and that the Sens are capable of winning in the playoffs. Also, as a lot of people pointed out this year, our window might never be as wide open as it was last year. 2016-17 definitely showed us that none of the teams in the Atlantic division are that good, and that the Sens are good enough to beat just about anyone.

We’ve had a lot of years of “let’s just make the playoffs,” and I think that after that boost of confidence, the plan is more “let’s win a round or two”—BE

In hindsight, do you think the Sens should have kept Robin Lehner considering our lack of goaltending prospects?—Starsky30

At the time of the move, I really wanted to keep Lehner because I was worried about who would replace Craig Anderson in a few years time. I even said that it might be wise to trade Anderson for a bigger package and roll with Lehner. Since that time, it’s clear that the return for Lehner (a 1st round pick which turned into Colin White) is looking very solid.

However, it’s odd when people say that that trade was a steal for Ottawa. Lehner is certainly a streaky goalie and seems like a bit of a nuisance to play with, but he has a .921 SV% in 80 games as a Sabre, which is easily good enough to be an above average starter. I like Marcus Hogberg a lot though, plus teams are showing how easy it is to find cheap goaltending (Cam Talbot, Martin Jones, Scott Darling, etc.), so I’m not as worried about losing Lehner as I once was.

Having said that, I would be fine if the trade stayed the same, but I’d also be fine if they had kept Lehner all along—TS

What does the S7 staff do to get their offseason hockey/sports cravings? Watch any classic games or play any summer shinny? Also, last summer I asked a goaltending related question in regards to the future, Trevor responded that while any one of O’ Connor, Driedger, Hogberg or Daccord could become a replacement, he suspected we would go outside the organization with goalies like Elliott, Mason, Jones and Reimer always being available, this year I ask:

Given Condon’s performance last season, do you feel there is less reason to worry about Andy’s successor, or do you still expect another move to be made in the next year, and who do you think it could be if its someone outside the organization?—StonecoldMarkStone

I’m a big Red Sox fan, so baseball keeps me occupied in the summer. As for your larger question, I think they’re banking on a guy like Marcus Hogberg to emerge as a top goalie prospect, and considering he posted a .931 SV% in the SHL last season, I don’t see why he can’t become a starter.

If Anderson begins to show his age this season and Hogberg isn’t progressing much in the AHL, then I could see them going after one of those middle tier goalies next summer. I wouldn’t say I’m less worried about Ottawa’s goaltending depth per se, but I will say that it’s possible to acquire average to above average goaltending on the market for not very much. So if they have a step-back in goaltending this season, it isn’t the end of the world.

As for specific names, it’s so hard to tell right now. We’ll have to wait a few months into the season and see how Anderson and other goalies around the league are playing—TS

Who is your favourite member of hockey media? And why is it Ian Mendes?—kgmcp

Ian is great and I think it's hilarious that his name is rec'd green every single time it gets mentioned in our comments section. I really enjoyed listening to Michaela and Shaila's. In terms of league-wide coverage, I read most of the stuff put out by The Victory Press this past season and enjoyed reading their coverage of the NHL, but also the NWHL, CWHL, and collegiate hockey. If you love watching women's hockey during the Olympics (and will be in 2018), you can find out a ton more information by following their work!—AM