I’ll start by saying that we did a run through available UFAs way back when, and CCFR readers should check it out because it’s mostly still current. (Update: Brooks Laich re-signed in Washington for several more years of being talked about in trade rumors due to early playoff exits, otherwise known as Antoine Vermette, Ottawa Senators, 2003-2007.)
Assuming that Murray doesn’t stand pat – which he might – who are your top picks to see in a (/probably poorly designed retro third-)Sens jersey? My top three are Scottie Upshall, Steve Sullivan and Jason Arnott.
I find I have really embraced this rebuild thing. I’m not overly interested in the Senators (yeah, I’m going full name today) grabbing a free agent vet at forward. I know its not the safest idea but unless the Senators trade one of the current crop I think if they plug up a hole with a vet than it doesn’t give a forward prospect much of a shot. I really agreed with his prediction so I’m going to borrow DarrenM’s projected lines from over at SilverSevenSen(ator)s:
Michalek – Spezza – Butler
Foligno – Regin – Alfredsson
Condra – Z. Smith – Greening
X – Winchester – Neil
Island of Misfit Boys: Da Costa, Filatov, Zibanejad, O’Brien, Wick, Shannon…Daugavins?
I know that these guys definitely vary in terms of age, pedigree, experience and likelihood of playing full time in the bigs but looking at those names it makes me wonder if Murray plans to fill this ONE possible opening with an FA? It wouldn’t break my heart if they signed an awesome player like Scottie Upshall but it begs the question: Are the Sens letting (super cheap) Ryan Shannon walk and don’t plan to fill his spot with one of these guys, namely Filatov? In my mind, call me crazy but I think it’s at least arguable that Filatov is that top 6 winger Murray talked about landing. Okay, that’s a tad crazy but maybe shuffle Condra and Greening between the third and fourth lines, Foligno between the second and third and let Filatov and Butler battle it out for top 3 winger. Are we rebuilding or are we rebuilding? I think we saw the potential of putting a rookie finesse scorer (Butler) on Spezza’s wing. The sample size was small but Butler really showed he had the finish to roll with a player of Spezza’s caliber. A quick aside, what I loved most about Butler’s performance on the top line was how he scored a variety of goals. He didn’t always need a pretty feed to put one away. That nose for the net coupled with Butler’s comments about how he is really trying to raise up his defensive game to the NHL level makes me think Butler could be effective in the top six if not top 3. As for Filatov, if he is given the chance to get some time and I stress TIME not like half a period (im looking at you Cory “Kansas City Shuffler” Clouston) to play with Jason Spezza hopefully HOPEFULLY he can recapture the magic of playing a couple dozen games with centre that people have heard of Derek Mackenzie on the powerhouse Blue Jackets.
If there is an FA i would really like to see the Senators land it would be Ty Conklin. Backup goaltender thats where the real hole in the lineup is. I wonder if Barry Brust is ready? Kind of terrifying but I want Robin Lehner to be undisputed no. 1 in Bingo.
I think Ottawa should definitely be targeting a second line centre cause based on James’ and Silver Sens line breakdown that has to be one of the worst collection of middle men in the league. I’m all for finding a backup goalie but I dunno about these guys.
Who that person might be? I’m not sure, they don’t have to be flashy. I know a top six, goal scoring center doesn’t grow on a vine, so how about targeting a veteran face-off guy and explain to him going in that he’s probably going to play on a bunch of different line combos. Sometimes I think the concept of top 6 is GM speak intended to let vets know they have a little more stature in the room via the media. Kinda like putting an A on someone’s sweater ya know?
I’m tempering my expectations with Filatov, it’s not like he hasn’t had chances, even the Russian national team is down on this guy so you know it’s not culture clash. I hope things work out for the kid, I really do. But if he usurps Condra or Greening for ice time, well I wouldn’t fault them for sowing a little dissention in the locker room.
Either way in Murray I trust.