Silver Seven Mailbag, Part 3: The Future

Looking forward to the Sens in years to come

It’s the third and final episode of this edition of the S7S Mailbag! You can find the first two sets of answers here and here. News will be starting to wind down soon, but never fear because we’ll have two summer series starting up in a couple weeks: our annual Top 25 Under 25, and a new Q&A feature with writers from the other SB Nation blogs.

So here’s the final set of mailbag questions, looking forward to the future of the Sens:

What's the Sens' first forward line going to look like in five years (trades included)? Submitted by Colin4000

With Colin White and Logan Brown potentially being ready for spots in the 2017-18 season, how do you see the lines looking in 3-4 years? Could Zibanejad or Turris be on the move to make room? Submitted by Stonecoldmarkstone

The good thing about drafting centres like the Sens have (Zibanejad, Pageau, Lazar, White, Brown, Dahlen) is that it’s much easier to convert them to wing – a la Lazar and potentially Nick Paul – than it is to ever convert a winger into a centre, mainly due to the increased defensive responsibilities and added duties like faceoffs. Assuming no trades to start, I’d be happy with a centre depth of:





When we get into trades, the question is sort of philosophical: is an established asset like Turris or Zibanejad worth more than an "up and coming prospect" like White or Brown? As the league gets younger and younger, I think you can be convinced to say that the prospect has more value, but it’s also a risky game: one or two bad development years can turn White or Brown into Nail Yakupov who couldn’t fetch a mid-round pick whereas Turris/Zibanejad’s 50+ point seasons will turn them into "worthwhile reclamation projects due to past successes."

I think it’s hard to project depth lines (3/4) too far into the future as I believe that you shouldn’t lock up those types of players to long-term deals, but my best guess at a top-six given the players right now includes:

Hoffman – Brown – Stone

Dahlen(LW)/Perron – White - Zibanejad

This would mean that Turris, MacArthur, and/or Ryan are traded, moved down the lineup, or bought out. It would also mean that no other current prospect in the system (Paul, Gagne, etc.) reaches a T6 ceiling with the Senators. I’d say that the position least likely to be addressed via trade is at centre, both given the Senators depth at that position and the rarity of young T6 centres becoming available. Depends on what happens with Mike Hoffman’s contract and Mika Zibanejad’s season, the team could look to move either for a LW or RW, but will hopefully not leave themselves holes at both positions. —AM

What's the issue with Ceci? Submitted by bcsensfan

Why do people like Cody Ceci and think he is a top 4 defenceman, even though he constantly gets outshot and has terrible possession metrics? Submitted anonymously

I think there’s a few factors that go into this. One is that Ceci was a high draft pick who came onto the NHL scene with a bang, and it’s hard to shake an early impression. He’s a local guy people would love to see succeed. I think the average Sens fan didn’t like Patrick Wiercioch, so when the Wiercioch-Ceci pairing was so good down the stretch in 2014-15, people defaulted to assuming Ceci was propping up Patty W.

I think the biggest thing though is that possession metrics aren’t widely used. People will see that Ceci was second among d-men on the team in points, played 20+ minutes per game, and is consistently praised by management, and make the conclusion he is one of the team’s best defencemen. I think it’s why you hear Wiercioch get ragged on for a down year, but Marc Methot is rarely criticized despite having arguably a worse season. Possession metrics just aren’t how most people analyze the game, and especially not for defencemen.

None of this is to say I’m really down on Ceci. I’m just worried, like I argued a couple months ago (shameless plug), that he’s coming close to the Torey Krug/Justin Schultz category. He has NHL-level offensive abilities, but he struggles with positioning, with gap control, with winning board battles. He can still improve, being only 22 and all, but I’m worried he might be more of an offence-only defenceman, instead of a two-way guy. —RA

What would you do with the goaltending situation? Anderson getting up there, Hammond preferably being the back up, O' Connor looking like a bust. I feel as if Driedger has the most potential based on his two NHL appearances stopping all 21 shots, despite his rebound control which Groulx can work on. I would also prefer Hogberg to O' Connor, but expect the Sens to lose him for nothing. Submitted by Stonecoldmarkstone

It's tough to say what's going to happen in the crease over the next few years. They might lose Andrew Hammond to Las Vegas, but I doubt it. For the next couple years, Craig Anderson should be fine, but they'll have to find a replacement relatively soon. Any one of O'Connor, Driedger, Hogberg, or Daccord could be a replacement, but I'm betting they will have to go outside of the organization for that next guy.

Goalies are always available for trade, as guys like Brian Elliott, Martin Jones, Cam Talbot, Frederik Andersen, James Reimer, and Robin Lehner have all been moved in the past year. I am a tad worried right now because of Anderson's age, but he should be able to hold the fort for at least this season. —TS

Was Chiasson actually a better option than Lazar at 3RW? Submitted by dogboyman

Well that’s a pleasant thought, isn’t it? The fact that even asking this question isn’t outrageous is worrying. I’m going to say no, Chiasson was not a better option. A big reason is age: Chiasson is four-and-a-half years older, and it’s hard to argue he was going to improve much from his age-25 season. That being said, via data from Corsica, Lazar’s relative Corsi (shot attempts) % at 5v5 was -6.20, vs. "just" -4.64 for Chiasson. The difference got smaller with relative Fenwick (unblocked shot attempts), but Lazar was still worse. The two were among the worst scorers in the league. Among the 240 players with 1500+ minutes of 5v5 ice time over the last two seasons, Chiasson and Lazar finished 230th and 237th respectively in points-per-60-minutes.

I’d still say Lazar is the better option, because he’s younger and still has lots of room to grow. Chiasson is likely nearing his ceiling, and it’s not looking great. —RA

Maybe I'm wrong (hopefully I'm wrong) but it's just painful when the Leafs are in year 1 of an official rebuild and have a better roster (only real bright spots being Karlsson and Stone), keeping in mind Hoffman might walk and Ceci is looking for a big pay raise and might hold out. Submitted anonymously

That is certainly a dark outlook. Thankfully, not all appears well in Leafs-land, with Roman Polak re-signed, Matt Martin somehow getting a four-year contract, and the Leafs trading two high-ish draft picks to acquire a goalie whose career save percentage is ~0.1% better than Jonathan Bernier’s. If you want to, you can always find the dark cloud attached to the silver lining of any franchise.

I think there are things to like about Ottawa. There are some promising prospects. Hoffman-Turris-Stone is an electrifying line. Bobby Ryan is no slouch. Mika Zibanejad and Jean-Gabriel Pageau are still growing. And the team now has a systems-focused coach and a GM who seems interested in making a competitive budget team. I’m willing to bet Dorion will extend Hoffman for a few years, and will sign Ceci to a reasonable bridge deal. And like you said, Karlsson is possibly the most exciting player in the league. I could be wrong, but I can see it happening. For now, I’m definitely not ready to wish I was a Leafs fan. —RA

And that does it for the future-seeking questions! And here’s a few of the fun ones:

Given our our ongoing concerns about Senator's defense, why haven't we Asked Anton for advice? Anton only speaks the truth. And this is what we need now. Submitted by Tom Camps

I think it should be obvious: you can’t find Anton, Anton finds you. And Anton hasn’t found me for years. It’s a very intense game of hide-and-seek. —RA (For those who don’t get the joke, Ask Anton used to be a thing on this site.)

The comments section following the articles are sometimes my favourite areas of the site to read. What was your favourite discussion on S7S? Submitted anonymously

That’s a tough call, because there have been a bunch. One of my favourites is when Truckin’ by the Grateful Dead was re-written across multiple comments to be about the Sens. I enjoyed this one from a past Roll Call where people were being grateful for all the community offers (and discussing Star Trek and food and...). My favourite comment of my own of all-time though is one in which I made a bet with past site manager Mark Parisi about trading Craig Anderson. I won the bet, so I’m still waiting on him to mail me a quarter. —RA

What’s your favourite bar in Ottawa? Submitted anonymously

I (Ross) grew up in Ottawa, but I didn’t do a lot of bar frequenting, being underage and all. I left the city when I was 18, and haven’t lived there much since, so I’m probably not the most qualified to answer this. I’ve been to a handful of places: Lieutenant’s Pump, various bars in the Byward Market, several Royal Oak locations, but I’m far from having visited them all. So instead, I reached out to our illustrious fans on Twitter, and they definitely helped me out. And if you’re in Toronto, give Grace O’Malley’s a try -- I went once for Game 4 between the Habs and Sens in 2013, and the place was electric. We seem to have some readers in my old stomping grounds in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, and you should all meet up somewhere. And if you’re in Calgary, hit me up sometime and I’ll try to watch some Sens games with you.

So there you have it, Anonymous: there are several good bars in Ottawa. Thanks all for your submissions, your viewing eyes, and of course your comments below!

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