Sens PK Struggling Without Vermette

I’ve always liked Vermette, but like Murray, and many others, I grew tired of waiting for his offensive skill to translate into on ice results.  However, as a 2 way forward, and PK specialist, he is a very solid roster player.

One need look no further then Ottawa to see the impact of his PK abilities.   Since Vermettes departure to Columbus (where he has been tearing it up) the Sens PK has struggled, defending at a rate of only 68.2% (15/22) vs. their season average of 80.5%.

Replacing Vermettes PK minutes, 2nd only to Kelly, has proven to be a struggle.  Clouston has basically gone to Alfie and Fisher, increasing their PK time, but has also been searching for a replacement body as well.  Ruutu has been given a couple of long looks in this role, as has Winchester, and surprisingly, Dany Heatley.  With Kelly playing centre, it makes sense to try Heatley in this role, and if it leads to rounding out his 2 way play, now is the perfect time to develop these skills.

It’s worth noting that Spezza has not been given a sniff in this role.

I suspect we may well see Z. Smith get the next call up, now that Regin has been sent back down.

Still no definitve word on Volchies injury, and he has been off the ice since leaving the Pens game early in the 2nd period.  It is hoped that he will suit up tomorrow night at home vs. the Sabres.

Gerald Norton


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