Last night was tough for a number of reasons. The Senators outshot and outchanced the Avalanche heavily, but their backbone of support the entire year, their goaltenders, couldn't buy a save. Sometimes, things like this happen, and I just hope the team doesn't overthink or overreact to a game where there were a lot of positives. A counter argument is this great post from Trevor, which argues that the Senators have not been winning convincingly at all this year.
However, what is frustrating for management and fans alike is that the Senators are running out of time. As of right now, they sit 8 points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the East, and 10 points back of Carolina for last place in the conference. It's middle ground, and the final two games of the road trip may decide where the Senators go from here. Despite increases in their shot totals and possession numbers, the Senators are still ranked in the bottom third in the league. This team lacks talent, and perhaps a high draft pick can help re-stock the system.
There are also a number of veteran players who could potentially be shipped out for picks and prospects, which I'll quickly highlight below.
David Legwand - in his first year of a two-year, $6M dollar deal, the veteran forward has a no movement clause. However, given his depleted minutes in Ottawa, I'm sure he'd waive to get a chance at the Cup with a contending team, and given that he can still contribute on the powerplay and penalty kill, I'm sure some teams may be interested in having Legwand as a 3rd or 4th line centre. He's not a typical rental though, with one year left, so that may affect the return. On Ottawa's end, Pageau, Derek Grant, and Curtis Lazar can all fill in at centre in Legwand's absense.
Chris Neil - A couple of Western conference teams are interested in Chris Neil, according to Ottawa play-by-play man, Dean Brown. Neil, a fan favourite, is getting up there in age and still has one year left on his contract. He plays a perceived classic "playoff-style" kind of game, and thus, some West coast teams may be interested given the gruelling physicality of those series. Again, although Neil brings "something unique", Ottawa has a plethora of bottom-six forwards and perhaps this roster spot can be used to see what Shane Prince or Matt Puempel can bring at the NHL level.
Chris Phillips - Another veteran who also has a year left on his deal, Phillips was pursued by the Boston Bruins not-too long ago for their playoff run last year, and may still be valued as a penalty killer on the third pair to provide experience to a team that has a young D corps. Phillips has been a healthy scratch in Ottawa recently, as Cameron tries to "bring down his minutes." Mark Borowiecki, Patrick Wiercioch, Jared Cowen, and Freddie Claesson are all left-defenseman who could assume Phillips' minutes on the Sens blueline.
Craig Anderson - the most controversial player on this list, Anderson might garner the biggest return for the Senators. All indications from management is that Anderson is the team's number one goaltender, and given the franchise's history at the position, it's understandable to see what Murray covets having two starting goaltenders. However, Anderson is 33 years old and may not be able to have another season like this one - thus, his value may never be higher. A strong possession team like Minnesota may pay a premium for him given the dogfight that is the Central division standings, and the team has to turn the position over to Lehner at some point. It also helps that the #1 NCAA free agent is a goaltender this year (Matt O'Connor), and the Sens could also sign a number of goaltenders to backup Lehner in the offseason.
Marc Methot - now this one is a bit tricky, given Methot's injury and pending UFA status, but a team may be sold on bringing a potential top-four blueliner into the mix this late in the season. Methot could potentially garner a 2nd round pick, and if the Sens do not think they can re-sign him after a tumultuous attempt earlier in the year, this is a move they should consider, pending Methot passing a physical. Jack from SenShot has more on this possibility here.
What would you do if you were the Ottawa Senators? Answer the poll below and let us know in the comments section.
- The Senators started their four-game road trip with two losses. They grabbed a point against the Flyers, though! [Silver Seven, Ottawa Citizen, WTYKY, SensChirp, SenShot]
- The Senators lost last night to the Avalanche, despite outshooting Colorado 38-21 and having a ton of scoring chances. Just not their night, but time may be running out. One cool thing to point out is that Pan and Canuck from Senscallups attended the game and recorded a podcast right after, so give it a listen! [Silver Seven, Rank the Performances, Sens Callups, Ottawa Citizen, SensChirp, SenShot]
- Curtis Lazar could've played last night, but Dave Cameron wants to wait for him to practice with the team a bit first. Here's a Citizen column on what we can expect from Lazar for the rest of the season. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Nichols has a fantastic piece that compares and contrasts Paul MacLean with Dave Cameron this season. [6th Sens]
- B_T has a really informative article on the LeBreton Flats situation. He discusses some of the benefits and challenges on both sides. [Silver Seven]
- Nichols has some more on the situation, and notes that there were five proposals for the area. [6th Sens]
- Will Mike Hoffman gain any Calder love with the strong rookie seasons of Aaron Ekblad and Filip Forsberg? He's been one of the major positives for the Senators this season. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Capital Gains will be creating Sens versions of popular TV show introductions. Here's his first, recreating the intro of Arrested Development. [Bonk's Mullet]
- Lost in the hubbub of yesterday, Marc Methot played his 400th game yesterday! Here's hoping he's with the big club for an extended period of time. [Ottawa Citizen]
- The BSens are also on a road trip. They lost their first game against former BSens goalie Mike McKenna (who I was always a fan of) and coincidentally, the Flyers AHL affiliate, 3-0. [SenShot]
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau got to match up against his mentor, Danny Briere, yesterday. As a similar-sized French player, Pageau idolizes the hard-nosed style that Briere plays and wants to bring the same kind of intensity to the Senators. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Michaela has five thoughts that cover a frustrating week for Sens fans. [Silver Seven]
- Some final community stats for 2014. Lots of fanposts, fanshots and comments. Here's hoping there's more in 2015. [Silver Seven]
- Lots of buzz with respect to Craig Anderson yesterday. Here are a couple of columns on him. The first on his lack of run support, and the second on Anderson ripping his teammates. [Ottawa Citizen I, Ottawa Citizen II]
- A really good piece by Jonathan Willis on the NHL's most overrated and underrated players. [Sportsnet]
- How Canada's world junior title was rooted from Sochi gold 10 months earlier, by Pierre LeBrun [ESPN]
- A fantastic piece over at Copper N' Blue on the futility of the Oilers amateur scouting department. [Copper N' Blue]
- An interesting Deadspin piece on Barcelona - once the kings of soccer. [Deadspin]
- On the hidden cost of a soccer star - really interesting read on things I had never even considered. [WSJ]/
Where should the Sens go from here?
|Stay the course. They may be able to sneak into the playoffs
|Add players. This team is one forward or defenseman away from a big playoff run.
|Trade away veterans for picks and rebuild.