Silver Nuggets: Randy Lee edition
Senators Assistant General Manager Randy Lee, who's primarily responsible for handling player development, was on Sirius XM earlier this week and had a bunch of interesting things to say. I'll discuss a couple of the points he brought up below, but I highly recommend you listen to the audio here.
Lee pointed out what many of us noticed was the fatal flaw of the Senators 2013-14 season, which was the fact that team defense was the biggest issue. Lee stressed that it wasn't just "one or two guys", but instead the whole group. He was also quick to point out that we had great goaltending, and that the organization likes what they have in Anderson and Lehner. Of note, Lee emphasized that Lehner will see more games this year (he appeared in 36 last season) and that the team likes to have a veteran to push Robin.
- Qualm #1 - if team defense was the biggest issue, why wasn't it addressed either through free agency, or through trade, or targeted as a return piece for Jason Spezza? Time and time again this offseason, the organization has stood strong on the belief that the young defensemen in the organization will bounce back, and for their sake and ours, I hope they're right.
- Qualm #2 - though I believe that the organization has great goaltending as well, I don't think it's an issue to point out that both underperformed - Anderson on the penalty kill and Lehner at even strength. I hope this means that the Senators management know that save percentages, like shooting percentage, fluctuates and thus expect to have better goaltending this season.
- Observation - I hope Anderson is okay with Lehner getting more games, as he's said in the past that he likes to see a lot of ice. If not, see ya Craig. /
Lee addressed the team's "leadership void" due to the Spezza trade by identifying MacArthur, Anderson, Turris, Neil, Phillips, and Karlsson. He said that Karlsson especially wants to step up, and that the team has strong depth down the middle due to the Legwand signing. He's confident that Zibanejad will take the next step as a strong-skating centreman, and that Legwand provides insurance and depth.
- really hope that this comment means that Zibanejad will be receiving more minutes than Legwand as the team's second-line centre, instead moving Legwand into a more defensive role with a lot of shifts starting in the defensive zone, perhaps with Erik Condra. /
With respect to young players, Lee mentioned Lazar, Pageau, Stone, Hoffman, and Borowiecki. He states that although the points didn't come for Hoffman last year, he's close to being a regular NHLer and that Borowiecki is a competitive hard-nosed local kid who they're very excited about. Lee also expanded on Lazar's situation by saying that the organization is very patient with young players and want to put them in a position to succeed if they're at the NHL level. Thus, they aren't scared to send him back to Junior to play big important minutes if they feel like it's better for his long-term development.
- I was reassured to hear the news about Lazar, as I was pretty sure that he'd make the team out of training camp. Now although that's a possibility, I'm still undecided on whether playing top-line minutes in the WHL and captaining Team Canada at the WJC would be better than 12 minutes a night at the NHL level. /
- Good news for Sens fans in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec - the organization will be having a "hometown tour". More information can be found on the team's website [Ottawa Senators]
- Ken Warren published an article on Lazar's WHL - NHL situation. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Warren also had a piece on how Jean-Gabriel Pageau believes that he can make the opening night roster. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Nichols has some prospect news via ESPN's Corey Pronman, who ranked Curtis Lazar and Mark Stone as two of his top 50 prospects, and the Senators prospect system as 23rd overall. Click through to see why. [Hint: many of our young players are on the roster already]
- Varada tackles the news that the Senators have "retired" they're white heritage jerseys. The black heritage's will still be worn at some games this season [WTYKY]
- Justin examines the Methot contract negotiations [SenShot]
- Yost had an interesting piece on a recent Don Brennan column questioning that Patrick Wiercioch's intensity was the reason why he missed so many games [HockeyBuzz]
- Our Top 25 Under 25 series continues, with Adnan examining #18 Mikael Wikstrand, Sheer_Craziness looking at new addition Alex Guptill, and Ian exploring Ohio State's Ryan Dzingel. [Wikstrand, Guptill, Dzingel] /
The Sens Summer Fan Fest is in 2 days, so buy your tickets if you haven't yet!!!