It’s Time For Murray To Wing It
To me, apart from finding a competent Dman to replace Volchy (even if it’s Volchy himself), the Sens biggest issue resides at wing.
For Jason Spezza, and the Senators, to be a legitimate threat, the top line must be improved over its previous edition.
Michalek is a solid top six guy. He brings heart, jam, speed and a decent set of hands, but he’s not a top line player, at least not yet, or maybe ever. Few are, very few. Alfie is getting older, like it or not, but he does still have 1st line ability, until proven otherwise, so he’s a lock for the #1 RW position. It’s the left that remains unfilled since the fortunate exodus of a particular balding head case.
Unfortunately, outside of a miracle, the immediate solution does not lie within the existing depth of this organization. Foligno isn’t 1st line material, he’s arguably not even top 6. Kelly? Nope. Regin? Hardly fair to force feed him at this point in his development, give the kid a chance to earn the top line by his play, not by default. The handfull of others left are all bottom six guys, and very good ones at that. In fact, this team is so deep in bottom six talent, it would be this Murray can and should mine in search of a top line winger. I maintain Kelly represents a solid addition to any team, and coming off a career year, his salary is more easily justified
Imagine the following;
Legit top 6 LW – Spezza – Alfredsson
Michalek – Fisher – Kovalev
Foligno – Regin -Shannon
Ruutu – Winchester – Neil
That’s a winning line-up, particularly in the East.
So who’s out there available via trade, that the Sens could possibly afford?
Patrick Sharp (3.9M) & Kris Versteeg (3.1M) – CHI – Coming off of a Cup win, it’s now time for the Hawks to hand over their soul, in the form of some very good young talent, in an effort to get back under the cap before the start of next season. Both Sharp, and Versteeg represent legit top 6 wingers, but neither have proven to be consistent top line players. At 29, the clock is ticking on Sharp as a #1 LW, but he does bring a solid all around game. As for Versteeg, he is still young, and may develop further, but his small stature is fixed, and the Sens can use more jam on the top line. Neither of these exactly fit the bill, but both represent top 6 upgrades over Regin or Foligno.
Dustin Penner – EDM – 4.25M – Ahh Dustin, you big lug, will this be the longest trade delay in NHL history? Lets face it, Penner has some issues, but he’s also sorely lacking in quality teammates, and maybe getting out of the poisoned well of his big contract expectations in oil country can help him regain his equilibrium and jump start his career. No doubt his size and grit would be a welcome addition to the Sens top line, but if it comes along with a healthy dose of apathy…yeesh. I believe Dustin is a new start away from turning heads, and I suspect the Murray’s feel the same.