FanPost

Senators look ahead for March 5 to March 11

For those tired of moral victories and thinking if only we had a fully healthy team and some more luck this could be a good week for you with Ottawa near full strength and facing two fo the three worst teams in the league. The Sens will have to travel across the continent and get a chance to play old friends Mark Stone, Logan Brown, and Joey D'accord, wow sometimes I feel like we miss on a lot of these reunions.

Saturday March 5th, @ Arizona, 4:00

Season record: 15-35-4, 8th in Pacific, 32nd overall
Last 10: 4-6
Previous meetings this season: None

Injuries:

  • Andrew Ladd, Lower Body, IR
  • Jay Beagle, Lower Body, IR
  • Johan Larson, Lower Body, IR
  • Dmitrij Jaskin, Lower Body, IR
  • Conor Timmins, Knee, IR
  • Liam O'Brien, Upper Body, Day to Day

Arizona is in the middle of the most shameless tanking job I've seen in sports since they Philadelphia 76er's were trading away reigning ROY winner Michael Carter-WIlliams and any other player with any skill in an attempted multi year tank. Tanking in the NBA makes sense when 2 or 3 players can win you a title, in the NHL going full tank is rarely avaisable due to how much depth is needed and the fact that even the best players can be slowed down at least partially. There is a difference in tanking and rebuilding and in Arizona trading away decent players for picks and retaining salary on outgoing players for even more picks show how far they are willing to go. I legitimatedluy feel bad for their fans and Clayton Keller who leads the team in points with 47, 14 more than Phil Kessell who astonishingly only has 6 goals on the season. Scoring a league low 2.28 goals per game is in small aprt due to their league worst 11.6 PP% which further shows the lack of skill on this team.

After starting the season with 1 win in 15 games the Coyotes have started to find some success with 6 wins in 11 games. The goaltending tandem of Scott Wedgewood and Karel Vejmelka has been nothing special but considering Wedgewood was out of the NHL for 2 seasons before last year and Vehmelka is a 25 year old rookie so not much was expected but both have a save percentage above .900 at least. Some threats to watch in Arizona are Keller who has been a point a game player after a cold start with 4 points in his first 11 games this season. Kessell may be having a down year and starting to show his age but with 61 points in 65 games against Ottawa he's haunted me enough times, and he's played 954 consecutive games which is 3rd all-time. On defence Jakoc Chychrun has felt like he's been on the tradeblock forever now with Arizona looking to get a major payday for trading the left shot defenceman but nobody has been willing to pay the price to acquire him. The other big name on the back end for Arizona is Shayne Gostisbehere who was acquired from Philadelphia in a cap dumb as Arizona gave up nothing and recieved a 2nd for taking on his contract.


Sunday March 6th @ Vegas, 8:00

Season record: 30-21-4, 4th in Pacific, 16th overall
Last 10: 4-5-1
Previous meetings this season: Nov 4th, 5-1 home loss

Injuries:

  • Mark Stone, Back, IR
  • Max Pacioretty, Lower Body, Day to Day
  • Alex Martinez, Face, IR
  • Nolan Patrick, Upper Body, IR
  • Brayden Mcnabb, Arm, Day to Day
  • Mattias Janmark, Upper Body, IR
  • Jake Bischoff, Undisclosed, IR

Vegas is giving off major Tampa Bay vibes with Stone filling the shoes of Kucherov as Vegas tries to balance the books with all the extra salary they have acquired over the years as they go all in as they attempt to win their first cup in franchise history. After mkaing it to the final 4 3 times in only 4 seasons of existence the Golden Knights have continued to push tog et over the final hurdle and the big move for this year were acquiring Jack Eichel from Buffalo for a 1st, a 2nd, a top prospect and a top 6 forward in their prime in Alex Tuch. Balancing the books has lead to some tough decisions such as trading Marc-Andre Fleury to create some gap room but unfortunately Robin Lehner has not stepped up and is putting up his worst stats in years with a .907 SV% and a 2.84 GAA so far in 36 starts. The Golden Knights have dealt withinjuries to all their big pieces up front but their top has remained relatively healthy with Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, Brayden Mcnabb all having played at least 51 games. With all their injuries it's hard to get a true reading fo where Vegas .ies overall but a middle of the pack offence and defence shows a team that can play in either high scoring or tight defensive games.

Former Senator Evegnii Dadonov has played 53 games for Vegas and has 1 more point than he did last year in 55 games for Ottawa including 4 points on the powerplay which dwarfs the one point he had year. Getting Nick Holden and 3rd makes it a trade I can live with but the excitement over signing Dadonov was nice and I hope his relative failure doesn't scare Melnyk/Dorion from making more signings to strengthen the team in the years to come. Due to the plethora in the sin city another former Senator has played 29 games and got 7 points as Mike Amadio has become a semi-regular on the 4th line. The interesting part for an outsider checking on theGolden Knights is that their top 3 point producers are the guys who have been their for years and constantly overlooked. Reilly Smith and Jordan Marchessault are proof of the lessons teams learned after Florida gave both up in the expansion draft making Seattle's job so tough, more on their struggles below. Chandler Stephenson was another great pickup as he has played as their 1C at times ove rthe years and only cost a 5th round pick from Washington. Vegas will eventually stop being a playoff team and may look a little weaker than normal but when everyone is miraculously healthy in May watch out for them.


Tuesday March 8th @ St Louis, 8:00

Season record: 32-15-6, 2nd in Central, 9th overall
Last 10: 6-3-1
Previous meetings this season: Feb 15th, 5-2 home loss

Injuries:

  • Marco Scandella, Lower Body, IR
  • Scott Perunovich, Upper Body, IR

When these played less than a month ago Ottawa was without Thomas Chabot and Josh Norris so to say this game might playout a little different is a possibility, which is good since Murray was pulled midway through the 4th after allowing 4 goals on 31 shots and getting hit by Oscar Sundqvist during the 4th goal.Ville Husso did enough making 18 saves on 20 shots as he continues to be the starter in St. Louis after overtaking Jordan Binnington and has won 11 of his last 14 starts. The Blues still have a good grouping of their core from their recent cup winning team so it's no suprise they still the same structured style years later than relies on a team effort and relentless forecheck and limiting mistakes. The biggest differeance between that team and this team is the increased offensive firepower as young players such as Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas as at 23 and 22 respectively the pair are part of the future. Ottawa may have shut down Kyrou but since that game the center has put up 7 points during a 5 game scoring streak. The Blues have moved up to 5th in scoring and over their last 11 games have averaged over 11 games and have shown no signs of slowing down.

Combining a young goalie with a responsible defensive system and a high flying offence, seems like a recipe for a team that should be more highly regarded than they are given credit for in the media and by casual fans. A deep playoff run might be what it takes for fans to remember just how good Tarasenko was before shoulder injuries slowed him down and thefact that someone liek Ryan O'Reilly, Colton Parayko and Justin Faulk can excel in a playoff atmosphere. If you're a fan of guys who use to play in Ottawa Logan Brown is espected to be watching the game from the press box which probably upsets Blues fans a lot less than it did those in Ottawa since he was meant as a lottery ticket instead of a former first round pick. Oh and I may have forgot but I think Brady Tkachuk has some ties to the area but has only played 1 game there during his rookie season, I would make a sizeable bet he's going to make a big impact.


Thursday March 10th vs Seattle, 7:00

Season record: 17-34-5, 8th in Pacific, 30th in point percentage
Last 10: 2-7-1
Previous meetings this season: None

Injuries:

  • Brandon Tanev, Knee, IR
  • Jaden Schwartz, Hand, IR
  • Jared McCann, Upper Body, IR
  • Karson Kuhlman, Upper Body, IR

The terrible start Seattle has gone through, plus some nice jersey's that I enjoy using in NHL 22, have made Seattle a much easier team for neutral fans to cheer for. I'm sure those in or from Seattle would rather their hometown team be good off the start but there is the possibility but Seattle has taken an approach looking further forward including selecting players who may not have been stars but could either return something via trade or leave via free agency and let Seattle forge their own true path. The Kraken were on a seven game losing streak before winning their last game but have also lost 21 of their last 28 games after having a decent start to their inagural season. The biggest key to the failure of this season is arguably with the underperformance of their biggest addition which came via free agency in Phillip Grubauer as the German netminder is having by far the worst season of his career by the numbers with a .888 SV% and a 3.17 GAA in 40 starts. WIthout watching it's hard to say how much of the blame is on Grubauer or the lackluster defensive performance of a team with players that have no experience playing together.

The top scorers in Seattle are mostly the argument that even bottom 6 players can put up points in the NHL if put on the top line as Jared McCann, and Yanni Gourde are far from offensive stars but are matching Jordan Eberle point for point and the trio are the only players with mroe than 25 points. The lack of production on the team means they probably won't be able to add assets at the deadline by shipping players out, although Mark Giordano on an expiring contract or Vince Dunn might get them something outside of that the players of value are signed for at least a few years so are probably staying for the long-term.

This is a week a young team could experience a couple of wins and I'm looking forward to real wins instead of moral victories.


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