The free agent frenzy has concluded, development camp in Ottawa is underway and the ever-so-exciting summer of change is starting to slow down for the Senators. But we've got lots to talk about. Let's get to it!
It's been 48 hours since Erik Condra was seized by the Tampa Bay Lightning, so what stage of grief should we be at?
Denial was gone minutes after the signing was reported, so maybe we're still in the period of anger? I don't know, it's all going too fast. But there's definitely no one in this ordeal that has made it to acceptance, right?
Excited to start our new adventure with the @TBLightning! ⚡️ Don't think we will mind the winters either! ☀️— Erik Condra (@ECondra) July 2, 2015
This never would've happened if we had put together a Condra rally at Parliament Hill.
Living five minutes away from the Kanata Recreation Centre, where the Senators were holding a scrimmage open to the public, I took advantage of my close proximity and drove up the road to watch. Here are some things I noticed.
Though there were three goalies with shutouts (the game ended in a 1-0 win for Team Black), it's no surprise Matt O'Connor looked the best. He also stopped all three shots in the shootout.
The only goal came courtesy of two offensively gifted players. After a gorgeous feed from Tobias Lindberg, Nick Paul made a shifty move in close on a dazed and confused Chris Driedger. It was as pretty as it sounds.
Ben Harpur looked calm, cool and collected, but not so much that it was carefree. He was able to slow down the play and make a solid, smart first pass out of the defensive zone almost every time.
Thomas Chabot is a phenomenal skater and has the ability to jump in the play and create a scoring chance out of nothing.
Max McCormick is fast, determined and quite feisty (he got into the only scuffle during the hour and a half). Why don't we hear more about this guy?
Hoffman for a Top-End Defenseman?
And now we head to the Rumour Mill.
...because he has arb rights, it's probably likely the Sens will try and deal him.— Tyler Ray (@DefenseMinister) July 3, 2015
They've kicked the tires on guys like McQuaid and Bieksa (as reported) but they're also looking at bigger fish. BM wants to make a splash.— Tyler Ray (@DefenseMinister) July 3, 2015
And to make this work roster-wise and payroll-wise, they'd obviously include a d-man in deal too. Cowen's name is coming up a lot.— Tyler Ray (@DefenseMinister) July 3, 2015
Sign me up.
The Bottom Six Going Forward
With Condra and David Legwand gone, the Senators' bottom six has never looked more open. While many young prospects will surely be competing to start the year in Ottawa and avoid Binghamton, it's completely up in the air as to who will populate the third, and especially, fourth line.
It seems that all the success of last season that disapproved the usage of Greening, Smith and Neil has all gone to waste. Not that the Paul MacLean's favourite threesome is returning to the roster as one, but it's becoming exceedingly likely that at least two out of the three will be featured regularly in the lineup for the 2015-16 season.
The Senators' depth looked a lot more stable in April.
The Pittsburgh Penguins With Phil Kessel
Time to go off the board for a moment.
It still feels weird to say, but Phil Kessel is now a Pittsburgh Penguin. And with the addition of the former Toronto Maple Leafs' sniper, the Penguins look absolutely deadly up front and on the power play.
Top Six Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Phil Kessel
Evgeni Malkin - Kris Letang
All other 29 teams in the NHL, you have been warned. Don't take penalties against Pittsburgh.