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;
- Goaltending – Is Pascal going to fill the eternal void in net? Will Elliott continue on his progress toward becoming a legit NHL goaltender?
- Secondary Scoring – Will the roster over-come the excision of a proven elite scorer from the roster and finally realize some consistent secondary scoring?
- 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.