The last few days have been rather busy, relatively speaking of course. Highlighted by Bobby Ryan’s inevitable Masterton nomination, there’s still much more to discuss in this week’s Five Thoughts!
A rumour had been swirling over the last few days in Vancouver, as Canucks forward Brock Boeser was identified as a potential trade chip in order to free up cap space. Although the idea of the 23-year-old being moved was quickly quashed by GM Jim Benning, it does bring forth the idea of the Senators potentially trading for a young player that could make an immediate impact next season. Frankly, i’m not on board with that suggestion, because there are way too many questions surrounding the Senators’ roster at the moment. There’s a lot of work to be done to make the jump from 30th to playoff contention, and adding one solid top-six forward is not going to make much of a difference. Whether it happens in 2021 or 2022, the Senators will be a playoff team once a handful of their prospects develop into core and complementary players. So let’s maybe not trade the best ones for a guy who will probably be overpaid by then.
It’s not the best idea to go for a big fish at this time but that’s not to say other, smaller moves can’t be made. Take the right side of our defence, for example. You’ve got Nikita Zaitsev who probably shouldn’t be above the third pair, Artem Zub who seems like he’ll be a third-pairing guy, and Christian Jaros who has yet to lock down a permanent spot after three years in the pros. They ought to acquire someone else, not necessarily a bona fide Top-4 defenseman, just someone who can take a regular NHL shift. Looking at contracts expiring in 2021, Jason Demers stands out as a decent defender and potential partner for Thomas Chabot; he’s overpaid, can be acquired for very little, and the Coyotes will be looking to make room to sign Taylor Hall. Whoever it is, adding a right-handed NHL defenseman will lower the pressure on the corps as a whole.
The “Superstar” Mentality
I wrote almost 1,000 words about an AHL enforcer two weeks ago, but I feel there’s still more to be said. That particular article sparked quite a discussion, which I’ll summarize into a single question; that is, did the story of Scott Sabourin unfold under the wrong circumstances? Some pointed out that Sabourin was taking development minutes from our prospects, but not only did he only play seven minutes a night and only 35 games, but the AHL was the best, or at least an ideal place for the bulk of our prospects to develop. Consider this reason for Sabourin playing in the NHL this past season; he’s a player with no particular skills that separate him from a replacement-level NHL enforcer. Therefore, the only way for him to carve out a role in the lineup is to out-work his peers. What I think the coaching staff tried to accomplish this past season, was instilling that mentality into the kids. Whether you’re talking about the speedy 2016 Pittsburgh Penguins or the physical 2019 St. Louis Blues, the collective mentality of a Cup-winning team is best explained by John Tortorella:
John Tortorella returned to the NHL as the new CBJ coach today in 2015, so let's pay homage and watch the greatest pregame speech of all time.— HOMAGE (@HOMAGE) October 21, 2019
(Watch at your own risk. We’re not responsible for any walls you run thru today.) pic.twitter.com/wIq2AOLf4w
If you’re looking to win any particular game in the NHL, who would you prefer? Scott Sabourin giving 100%, or Logan Brown giving 80%? Even with that difference, Brown will always be the better option because he’s a far superior player in nearly every area. However, if you send a message, tell him to “work harder than this guy”, and force Brown to play at 100%, then you’re one step closer to your optimal lineup, and every team’s ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup. We don’t call them “kids” for no reason; there’s no better time to teach them to improve not just the weak points in their games, but their intangibles as well.
Three Picks in the Top 15?
Among the major points of discussion in Sens land these days, is the Islanders’ first-rounder acquired in the Pageau trade. As mentioned in this FanPost by user flatout, the pick can be as high as 13th, depending on the outcomes of play-in series featuring the Islanders, Penguins and Hurricanes. If the Florida Panthers come through for us (Let’s go, Chris Driedger!), that third pick may influence some of the earlier picks as well. For example, at 5th overall, do the Sens take Drysdale or a forward? Maybe they’d lean towards a forward if there were multiple good defensemen available in the 20s, like Braden Schneider, for example. However, with the 15th overall pick, you’ve got a shot at top-tier forwards like 50 goal-scorer Jack Quinn, and that scenario could see Ottawa draft Drysdale at #5.
A New Old Era
The 2-D jerseys are coming back, and that’s cause for celebration. Most see it as an aesthetic improvement over the current logo, but I think it also has to do with the teams wearing those jerseys. For many, the 2-D is synonymous with the absolutely dominant team of the early 2000s, featuring Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, and Dany Heatley. As for the 3-D logo, it represents a team falling from grace and struggling to rebuild itself, along with heartbreaking trades, ownership scandals, and dwindling attendance numbers. Many great memories were made along the way, but as a whole, it’s time to bury that old jersey and never look back. The team has an opportunity now to return to their former glory, and if all of you Dorion-downplaying defeatists out there think they’ll screw it up again, well then at least this time they’ll look damn good doing it.