Who’da Thunk It?

With the Sens off the ice for another mini break, I thought I’d take a look at the issues this team faces, and compare them around the league.

Going into the season, Ottawa faced 3 key questions;

  1. Goaltending – Is Pascal going to fill the eternal void in net?  Will Elliott continue on his progress toward becoming a legit NHL goaltender?
  2. Secondary Scoring – Will the roster over-come the excision of a proven elite scorer from the roster and finally realize some consistent secondary scoring?
  3. Offense From Defense – With the loss of Chara, Redden, Meszaros, and Corvo from the blueline, will Ottawa produce sufficient offense from the back-end?

We all know the answers to these questions, TBD, Yes, and Sorta.  This has been discussed at length already, but wasn’t been discussed is how the teams Ottawa looked to as examples of how they wish things would be, have performed this year.

For example, Boston Bruins.  Last season, we all lamented the loss of Chara, and played revisionist GM, dreaming of watching #33 patrol the blueline in a Sens uniform.  We all came into this season pointing to the fact that the Sens blueline remains anemic (on paper) and pointed to Boston as the model franchise in this regard.   Fast forward to this season, Kuba, 0.46 pts/g  vs. Chara, 0.54 pts/g.  Oh sure, Kuba ain’t Chara, but from an offensive perspective, it’s hard to justify the extra 3.8M/yr.  Even worse, last year, between Chara and Wideman, they produced 100 pts.  This year they’re on pace for 68 pts.

And what about the dynamic secondary scoring in Boston?  Where oh where has it gone?

Lastly, goaltending.  Look at the NYR.  Going into the season, King Henrik looked like the sort of goalie that would play a similar role as Brodeur on NJ, or so was the hope.  Lundqvist has been very good, but he hasn’t been good enough, and as it stands, unlike the Senators, the Rangers remain on the outside looking in.

I’m not writing this to defend Ottawa, or slag Boston, or the Rangers, but just to highlight how quickly what seems a sure thing, enviable position, can turn into an issue.  The NHL has proven to be a bit of a roller coaster, and more often than not nobody should use past performance, good or bad, as solid indicators for the future.

All in all Ottawa has been better than expected, and certainly far better than last season, and that, above all else, is the real story.



6 Responses to “Who’da Thunk It?”

  1. I think you have no choice but to develop Elliot as a number one. Leclaire may be better but is way less durable. Also Elliot has consistently shown improvement. So may be a 2 to 1 ratio in the number of games.

    As for the D. I kind of agree with you. I think if Ottawa may consider using the same template from the forwards. if you improve the #5 and may #6 positions you’re ok.

    The bottom line, what this year has shown is two things. First while it is difficult to find a really good coach, once you find one, that can mask or overshadow many shortcomings. Second, it really helps if you clean the team from selfish players.

  2. Jack Jejourneau Says:

    Umm Lundqvist is fine, the Rangers just have HUGE trouble scoring goals, or at least they have had recently.

    Leclaire is a bust and I am terrifed at starting the playoffs with him. If we win at all it will be because our defense is air tight.

    • 2.44 GAA and 16th in GA/g (only 2 fewer GA/g then the Sens) who were supposed to be “defensively challenged” is my point.
      And calling Leclaire a bust, after 27 games, is beyond pre-mature, IMO. You may be proven right, but at this stage that’s a guess, not a fact.

  3. GelatinousMutantCoconut Says:

    No offense…but you seem to be grasping at straws to convince yourself that Chara is not missed. Points aside, Kuba lacks Chara’s size, grit and leadership. It was the biggest mistake the organization has ever made.

    • Biggest mistake…maybe, but at 7.5M I’m not so sure he’s having more than 2x the impact Kuba is, and I ain’t trying to defend Kuba in saying this.
      The point being, things change, what was solid gold one season isn’t always the next i.e. Chara and Wideman.

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