2010/11 Prediction – Top 6 Forwards

Here’s my first look ahead at the Sens 2010/11 season, focusing on the top 6 forwards.

No doubt, while still recovering from a number of strategic personnel disappointments (Heatley, Emery, Meszaros), this will prove to be another challenging year for the Ottawa Senators.

The previous regime left this club bare, in terms of prospect depth, in an effort to challenging for the Cup, which it did, albeit falling short in the end.  Rarely, with the exception of Detroit, do teams reach the peak, without suffering a pull back in terms of competitiveness.  It had been hoped, by locking up a core of talent, the Sens would bypass the usual regression, but alas, it wasn’t to be.  Emery imploded, Heatley bolted, and Meszaros, the player the club hoped would play a top 2 role, left via trade after refusing to sign a reasonable RFA deal.

These departures didn’t go without some solid returns, as the Sens accumulated a pair a defensemen (Kuba, Campoli), and a solid top 6 winger (Michalek) in exchange.  But, after losing his wing man, Spezza has failed to reach the offensive heights he had achieved while setting up Heatley, and if your top line isn’t a consistent threat, everything suffers.  Add to this late season injuries (Michalek, Kuba, Kovalev) and it was no wonder Ottawa failed to convert their surprising (to some) 5th place finish into post season success.

But, now it’s a new year, with new faces, and new challenges.

Though-out the past decade, Alfredsson has been the lynch pin holding this team together, by part performance, and part leadership.  But, at 37, and coming off of a sports hernia, time must surely to begin to take its toll.  This has been said before, but someday, it is going to happen.  Will this be the year?  And, if it is, can the Sens carry on?

Another key cog in the wheel is Kovalev.  Another player of exceeding skill, but also battling age, and a recent major knee injury.  Can he be the impact player the Sens will need?

Lastly, Michalek.  Another top 6 forward with a physical question mark.  Like Alfie and Kovy, Mich has had his turn under the knife, having undergone his 2nd major knee surgery in his short career.  The good news is, many believe, as a young player, properly repaired ACL’s recover to be equal to, or better, than the original.  But, this theory is only that, and with the Sens needing Mich to begin reaching his full potential, it remains a concern until proven otherwise.

In my mind, top six depth, and performance is the biggest issue facing this club.  If one key player were at risk of underperforming, it could be assumed the team would rally to replace the minutes, but with 3 bona fide top 6 players having question marks, it may prove an insurmountable hurdle.

The good news is, if it doesn’t prove to be an issue, beyond the norm at least, the Sens have a formidable top six;

Regin – Spezza – Alfredsson

Michalek – Fisher – Kovalev

This group, if performing at or near their potential, match-up with any in the league, maybe not one for one, but certainly, as a group, in being able to provide the offensive power necessary to win against any team.

The question is depth.  With only Foligno and Regin legitimately ready to battle for a top six position, one has to wonder who will step up should the group suffer more than one injury.  Fortunately, among the top six group, there is sufficient role flexibility to easily over-come a short-term injury to any one “regular” top sixer.  But who is number 2 on the depth chart?

Shannon?  I love the kids desire, and still believe he has the skill to become more consistent, but he remains a long ways from being a reliable top six, even in the short-term.

One of Roman Wick, Bobby Butler, or…exactly.

This roster is relying on ageing, albeit highly skilled, forwards in Alfie and Kovy, and have an up and comer with two, potentially, wonky knees.

So, here’s my points predictions, for the top six, injuries not withstanding, all predictions are based upon all players in the line combos playing 82 games;

Regin – 35g – 25A – 60 pts – I believe Regin is going to bring a new energy to the top line, and will benefit greatly playing with two supreme play makers in Alfie and Spezza.

Spezza – 35g – 65A – 100 pts – This will be the “second coming” for Jason.  A new baby, control over his destiny, a burgeoning leadership role, and an eager, dynamic winger at his side.  Expect to see a determined, focused future captain.

Alfredsson – 25g – 50a – 75 pts. – I have no doubt Alfie hears the clock ticking, but being the ultra competitor that he is, I predict Alfie will Tucker father time, leaving him crumpled in a heap, for at least one more season.

Michalek – 28g – 25a – 53 pts. – With a long-term contract protecting his future, Mich now has to dig deep into his pride to  pull out the type of season he was signed to produce.  In many ways, I see in Mich what I see in Fisher.  A big heart, a great set of wheels, and hands that sometimes let him down.  But the boat is still out on Mich vis-a-vis his real scoring touch.  I’m going to be really optimistic here, and say, being comfortably ensconced in Ottawa, and playing with a little less pressure on the second line, Mich proves himself a capable finisher.

Fisher – 22g – 38a – 57 pts. – With a more capable scoring winger on his left side, and a dynamic puck control winger on his right, Fisher will continue to score, but will rack up the assists, having a second career year.

Kovalev – 24 – 50 – 74 pts. – A contract year + Legitimate top six line-mates + An elite PP QB. = A good year.

There you have it, I predict a very solid performance from the Sens top 6 this coming season.  Now remember these numbers are based upon 82 games, so don’t get too carried away, as injuries always happen.



13 Responses to “2010/11 Prediction – Top 6 Forwards”

  1. too optimistic GN (Regin 35goals ??) .. let’s hope ..

    • Optimistic? Absolutely.
      Beyond reason…I don’t think so, and here’s why.
      1. More ice-time, including PP.
      2. Better line-mates.
      3. A rejuvinated Spezza.
      So yes, 35 is on the very high side, but something tells me Spezza is going to be an absolute beast this season, and Regin is going to get to ride the hot hand.

  2. GN:

    Not bad…you are close!

    Somebody drop the puck…

  3. I think I’d go with 25 goals for Regin, and 30 assists.

    I like the Kovalev and Spezza predictions though!

    • I knew I’d take heat on Regin, and yes, it is a bold prediction, but I just have a feeling he’s going to be Johny on the spot.

      • Herning, Timraa, national team (almost) same history in Regin previously teams. (Leave Binghamton out only one year)
        1. Year sneaking touch, but not much…
        2. Year just OK
        3. Year about doubling 2.Th Year.
        4. New team, new level (Will not happen in Ottawa),

        From that point of view, the 35 goals is not high.
        Well NHL is a higher level than SEL. Well though the jump is probably smaller from the Danish league to SEL is probably higher than SEL/AHL to NHL. But it will be though to keep the growing history for Regin.

      • Just what to add 35 goal is much to expect.
        I will not be surprised of even more gaols from Regin. I think he have the right skills.
        How ever I will not expect more than 25.

        To make 35+, you need good line mates, a lot of skills and some luck and you would also need to believing in you self. They all help each other.
        I those four work well you, well then the possibility are there.

  4. That’s pretty optimistic. You are predicting that Regin will go from 13g to 35 goals (making him a top 12 goal scorer), Spezza will have a career high in goals and points, Michalek will have a career high in goals and Fisher a career high in points. That is a lot of career years to predict. Kovalev has gone from 35 goals to 26 to 18 and 84 points to 69 to 49 over the last 3 years. It is a lot to expect a 37 year old to reverse that trend as dramatically as you predict. Not impossible with a streaky Kovalev but unlikely. With Gonchar on the PP now you might see several players offensive numbers improve a little, but not nearly to the extent you are predicting.

    • Sure, but don’t forget these numbers are based on 82 games, not the abreviated seasons you point out.

    • There are a better chance of Regin reach the grow, than Fisher, Alfi or Kovalev. There are all passed there physical peak.

      Fact is however is that, to my point of view. Shall either Spezza or Reign reach these numbers, they probably need both to do it.

      Where I believe that Regin has proven last year, in a pear of time, to have some special talent for create the game. The other options like Michalek is more a supporter. For Spezza to reach 100 points and 35 goals, he need a partner. Same as for Regin to reach such a jump, he also need talented support.

      If however what Spezza and Regin shown us end of last season, then it is not impossibly.

      You are right the concern on Kovalev, Michalek and Fisher to reach career high on the same time are even more optimism. One of them, like Ficher to reach another career is may possibly.

      The team real concern is however that it is probably for either Michalek, Kovalev, Alfi and/or Spezza to missing substantial time. That sean with the mind of lost time last year. To dream or hope for 82 games for all of them is may even naive.

      If you was every single of them, with the possibly support they have, the numbers are may be possibly, but as total there are to many if and if and if…

      But still we do hope you are right… That would really be fun…

      • You’re right about the older players, they are cycling down. But, they still have a lot to bring, particularly in Alfies case, both as mentors, and as players who can control the play.
        To me, this season, and into the future, the key is Spezza. He’s this teams future lead dog, and it will be up to him to both set the pace, and the course of this team. If he can do it, players like Regin will benefit by synergy.
        I maintain, barring injury(s), this will be a monster year for Spezza, and Regin seems the most likely winger to be on his side.

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