Weekly Question: A Time for Reflection
Let’s take a moment to look inside
Heading into the holiday break, I wanted to take the opportunity to shift our collective focus from the things we want to the things we have. Trevor already went over the things we hope to see as a fanbase and I think we can collectively agree on all the obvious ones (a healthy roster, consistent goaltending, and a little shooting luck).
After all, even buried in an article like Trevor’s outlining the things we lack, we can see that the Ottawa Senators do have a lot going for them right now. We feel frustrated about the misfortune and the team’s shooting and save percentage specifically because they play well on a nightly basis—with a lot of key players injured! Oh and we have a young, cost-controlled roster with plenty of decent prospects still in the pipeline. Things could be much worse.
So with all that in mind, and with win-loss record notwithstanding, what do you feel most grateful for through 33 games (and with plenty of time left to get back into the middle of the proverbial pack)?
Remember when boneheads like me had hoped the Sens would draft Filip Zadina instead of Brady Tkachuk? Humongous big yikes. Pretty much from day one Brady has justified the hype. This season though, the captain has taken it to another level. Brady no longer seems like Keith’s Son or Matthew’s Brother. Tkachuk has become an NHL star in his own right and for the first time since the departure of Mark Stone I feel like I can point at one individual forward and say, “The Sens will probably will this game thanks almost entirely to that guy.” I could probably also use Tim Stützle as an example of forwards who have played well in recent years before really taking off this season.
Mergers and Acquisitions
I know a lot of people still want to see some more individual production from Alex DeBrincat but given how many injuries the Sens have had to work with, I’ll take a combined 61 points (24 goals and 37 assists) through 33 games from DBC and Claude Giroux. I also want to give a shoutout to Tyler Motte here. I felt complete and total indifference to Motte’s signing when it happened but Motte has really impressed me and I feel like he represents exactly when good NHL teams need in a third- or fourth-liner. He shoots the puck and gets a lot of quality chances while working with a rotating cast of linemates.
Trevor wished it and Brad reported it. We get four more years of Artem Zub. I don’t feel the need to elaborate. The Sens have sorely missed Zub of late. I have nothing but gratitude for Zub. Also I fully acknowledge that I gave GMPD basically no credit for this at the time but, wow, what an international free agent signing.
Rookie wrecking crew
I won’t hold out for a Calder trophy given the absurd depth of this year’s NHL rookie class but that doesn’t diminish my fervor when watching Jake Sanderson and Shane Pinto. While both players still have some wrinkles to iron out in their play, both look undeniably like every day NHLers who can handle big minutes and responsibility. Not that we really doubted the long-term potential of either player, but it feels redeeming to see such immediate results from two blue-chip types. Mark Kastelic also deserves some recognition for fulfilling the prophecy and blossoming into Zack Smith 2.0 in just under 50 games.
Again if we look past the losses and the injuries, we’ve enjoyed some seriously renewed vibes in Ottawa so far this season. This movement has percolated over the past couple of years with the rebranding and some top-tier draft picks. Stupid sexy Pierre’s big off-season really just followed an established trajectory (again, please try to look past the losses). For the first time in a long time, even casual fans and borderline fans in Ottawa have strong feelings about the Senators. Every gameday feels like an event. The mood of the summer has carried over to the regular season and that whole, ya know, impending sale of the team may have added some fuel to the fire. Maybe the individual bad outcomes feel tolerable because the big picture for the team and its place in the city finally looks perfectly clear.
“But, Owen, what about you? What are you most grateful for?” Well, dearest reader, I’m glad you asked. I am most grateful for my fellow writers here at Silver Seven. And if you need a reason why, well then look no further.
Stay safe, folks, and enjoy this time spent doing the things you love with the people you like.
I’m most grateful for
|Big, Bad Brady||90|
|Giroux and DeBrincat||66|
|Sanderson and Pinto (and friends)||52|