Silver Nuggets: Do the Senators need to get smaller to compete?

The biggest problem with the Senators is that they are too big.

It is no secret that you need to be small to win in the NHL these days. Just take a look at the Stanley Cup finalists, Brad Marchand 5'9", playoff scoring leader David Krejci generously listed at 6'0" and 188 pounds. Then there is also Torey Krug at 5'9" and Andrew Ferrence at 5'11". All four of these players are also under 190 pounds. Even Tyler Seguin at 6'0" is only 182 pounds. Looking at the winning side, Patrick Kane is only 5'11" and 181, playoff legend Dave Bolland is 6'0" and 184, Andrew Shaw is 5'10" and 180 pounds. Neither Patrick Sharp or Duncan Keith are over 200 pounds either.

Sure there are some bigger successful players on the team like Zdeno Chara. But he only has space to operate because the smaller players aren't taking up any of it. One might even say that they are creating the space for Chara. You can teach passing and shooting, but as the old saying goes in hockey: you can't teach small.

Looking at the Senators, I am not sure if there there are enough small players to be able to compete with the small boys of the NHL. Sure there is Erik Karlsson but what else? Jean-Gabriel Pageau at 5'9" and 163 pounds is physically the ideal player, but he is just a rookie. Cory Conacher is 5'8" and 179 but he doesn't use his lack of size well. Too often you will see him driving the net and engaging the opposition, futilely wasting his energy on irrelevant things.

A glance at the NHL's road hits total which is free of home scoring bias, the Blackhawks were 30th in hits while the Bruins were 16th. Where did the Senators rank you ask? In the top 10. Now a lot of hits aren't necessarily a bad thing in itself (in fact the # of hits has no correlation positive or negative on winning) but the type of players that hit a lot are clearly not the types you win with in the NHL. They are lacking far too much in other important areas. It is clear that this Senators team doesn't have enough small players. It is not fair to expect Erik Karlsson to be the only small player out there every night.

Senators news

  • Marc Methot is understandably pretty happy to be invited to Canada's orientation camp for the 2014 Winter Olympics. (Ottawa Citizen)
  • The Senators signed Northeastern University's Ludwig Karlsson to a two-year and two-way contract. (Renaud Lavoie)
  • Scott talks about the L. Karlsson signing as well as the Jason Spezza "snub", Colin Greening's contract rumours and E. Karlsson and Kyle Turris' skills in exiting and entering the defensive and offensive zone. (The 6th Sens)
  • Friedman also thinks Melnyk (and Alfredsson's agent JP Barry) might still have lingering issues over the Dany Heatley fiasco. Both Friedman as well as Wayne Scanlan have suggested that the Senators owner was a part of Alfredsson's decision to leave. Nichols points to Alfie going against the NHLPA in 2004 as reason for his leaving because of his agent being very unlikely. (The 6th Sens)
  • Peter Levi has a great (and rather lengthy) summary of Bryan Murray's time as Ottawa's general manager. (Eye on the Sens)
  • The Senators will now begin contract negotiations with Jared Cowen. His agent said that both sides agreed to let things settle with free agency before beginning negotations. (Ottawa Citizen)

General Hockey news

  • The Maple Leafs still had two years left on Dave Nonis' contract, but felt it necessary to tear up that contract. And give him five years instead. (NHL)
  • The US Olympic hockey team sucks at centre. It's because they are Americans probably. They should just quit hockey. (NHL)
  • The top ten games of the 2012 - 2013 season. (NHL)
  • Roberto Luongo's agent confirms that his client will report to camp for the Vancouver Canucks. (TSN)
  • Absolutely incredible read about a guy from Vancouver that bought Florida Panthers season tickets for $173, gave away a few tickets to locals for free, and then attended the last game of the season in the club president's seats. (Jay Adams)

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