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.




8 Responses to “It’s Time For Murray To Wing It”

  1. I agree GN. We are a top line LW away from good times.
    But, If Spezza really wanted out, that changes things a bit.

    Let’s assume his response is at face value, even though he tripped on it publicly about wanting to stay in Ottawa.

    He needs a skill guy to take his oft amazing passes from behind the net and elsewhere on the ice, and the guys we have don’t fit the chemistry profile for the job, or the minutes.

    I was wondering about Carter’s availability from Philly.



  2. Hmm interesting – but I dont really see Shannon getting into the top 12 let alone the top 9 – I would take Zack Smith or even Cody Bass over Shannon. Shannon has been given ample oppurtunity to become an NHL player, and he has proven he is not top 6 and he does not have the size for bottom 6. Hes a good depth player – but in my opinion does not deserve the 1 way salary.

    • I know, and this highlights the depth this team has in the bottom 6. Buttler, Smith, Bass, O’Brien, Wick, Weller, Daugavins, none of these players except possibly Smith have had exposure to the NHL, yet project to be at least 4th line contributors, or better.
      Shannon will get his shot 1st, based upon a one-way deal, and experience. But, if he is going to stick, he’ll have to find some offensive chemistry with Regin and Foligno, and function as an ersatz 2nd line.
      In a recent discusion with a solid hockey mind, he pointed out that those teams that win the Cup more often than not do so on the strength of their bottom 6 lines. Lines, he argues, that more closely resenble 2nd and 3rd lines than the traditional 3rd and 4th.
      As such, it would be best if the bulk of the physical play could be shouldered by the “4th” line of Winnie, Ruutu and Neil, while the remaining 3 lines focus on offense.
      Vs. physical clubs, the “4th” line sees more ice time, while vs. speedy offensive clubs, the “3rd” line gets the greater minutes of the 2.

  3. Sorry, but winchester and shannon are terrible. z.smith and butler are going to get their opportunity this year.

    I agree that kelly can be moved but in an effort to retain cullen. i would move neil + and a top -3 w should be our goal.

    Sharp for Neil (or Kelly) and a 2011 2nd (hence removing BM’s main go-to for trade deadlines) may be doable.

    • IMO Winnie is an awesome 4th liner. Gritty, fast, a loves to hit and agitate.

      • Sure, but no more so than Smith, and Smith is signed while Winchester isn’t.

        • No doubt, given a choice of oneor the other, I’ll gladly take Smith. But, depth, at the right price, is very improtant, and I beleive Winnie is worth his nut.

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