Another Brick In The Wall
The blueline on this team is deficient.
This deficiency is costing the Senators wins.
The future looks good with Karlsson, Wiercioch and Cowen, present issues not withstanding, butthis is not a short-term solution.
So what to do?
Target some bricks, to shore up the wall.
Here’s my list, from my blog to Murray’s desk, no doubt!
Marc Staal (NYR) – Basically a young Phillips. Big, physical, strong one on one, and can log more than his fair share of minutes, while having the ability to move the puck and chip in offensively. He’s not the prototypical #1, good at all things, but he’s a legit top 4.
Ryan Whitney (ANA) – Another top 4 D-man, but not a #1. Ryan is primarily an offensive minded Dman who can transition well, and fires a cannon from the blueline. He has good size, but isn’t known for playing an overly aggressive game, but has shown a willingness to do so on occasion.
Pavel Kubina (ATL) – I know, as an ex Leaf, there’s no love for this particular big CZE either, but the fact remains he is a legit top 4, has some good size, which he occasionally uses, and can offer above average offense from the blueline. He can also log big minutes.
Joni Pitkanen (CAR) – After having moved around the league, he’s still yet unproven, but has all of the tools required of an all around top 4 Dman. At 26, his best years are ahead of him, and considering the team he plays for, and his contract, could probably be landed for a song. Maybe he’s a decent team away from putting it all together…or maybe not.
Dion Phaneuf (CGY) – Big, mean, fast, and an offensive dynamo. Unfortunately, he’s also a bit brash, and struggles when tasked to provide sound defensive play. Combine this with a BIG contract and you have a guy posing a high risk/reward ratio. Could the Sens even afford him without it costing them Volchy?
Cam Barker (CHI) – How good is this kid really? With a strong crop of blueliners around him, nobody really knows. He has the potential to be a legit top 4, with an offensive focus, but his contract is already paying him as such.
Bryan McCabe (FLA) – Can you imagine, no Chara, but Bryan McCabe instead? Tough to swallow. But he can play big minutes, is decent defensively, provides top notch offense and is likely available should the Panthers be out of the play-off picture come trade deadline day.
Zbynek Michalek (PHO) – Along with his nearly unpronounceable name Zbynek provides a solid top 4 shut down game. He can play a physical game, can provide some offense, but mainly excels as a mobile and defensively reliable shut down defender. With an impending big UFA pay day on the horizon, it’s probable, should they be out of the play-off picture, Zbynek will become available at the deadline.
Thomas Kaberle (TOR) – I’ve already discussed this one, his offense would be much appreciated.