The Plan Gets Clearer.

Wow, what a busy month, let alone 2 days. Almost too much to digest, but here it goes all the same.

  • The Leadership Plan –  It is now obvious that the Senators brain trust (still TBD long-term) have identified those to be traded, and those to be signed.  That isn’t to say that all of those, on both lists, have been dealt with, but at least some have.  Spezza and Alfie represent the leaders of the “skill” group, Neil the leader of the “depth” group, and at least Phillips, if not Gonchar as well, even if by default, the leaders of the defensive group.  Seems good to me.
  • The Forward Roster Plan – At his presser today, Murray revealed some new information about the off-season strategy  in rounding out this roster for the 11/12 season.  Management intends to land at least one NHL ready player through the draft, sign one top sixer via free agency or trade (but, he made clear, not an ageing veteran), and fill the remaining forward positions with current roster players.  He did not name these players however (apart from Butler), and this will be further defined by signings come this summer.  As I see it the locks coming out of camp are; Spezza, Alfredsson, Michalek, Butler, Neil, Winchester, Regin, Foligno, and Smith.  This leaves room for 2 more forwards, if the draft and FA part of the plan shakes out.
  • The Defensive Plan – There has been a great deal of hand-wringing about the Phillips signing, but I for one applaud it.  Someone had to take this leadership role, and at 3.09/yr, who better?  That’s the reality, sure you can pan the deal, but unless you have a viable alternative, doing so is little more than pissing and moaning from the peanut gallery.  So here is the likely defensive roster going into 11/12; Phillips, Gonchar, Karlsson, Rundblad, Cowen, Kuba, and Carkner.  But both Cowen and Rundblad are far from proven NHL ready Dmen, so until they prove themselves, expect to see Lee stick around.  If Murray can land a decent deal for Gonchar or Kuba, they will likely be moved in the off-season, but until then, they are on the team.
  • The Goaltending Plan – This, of all the positions, remains the most unclear, and the most worrisome.  I myself believe at least 60% of this years woes stem from a lack of quality goaltending.  This absolutely MUST be addressed if this team wants to have a healthy environment in which to develop young players.  Is Anderson going to be the guy?  Depends on his salary demands.  If it’s big money/long-term, not likely, but then what?  Not Lehner, who would benefit from another year in the AHL, with “reward” play on the big team.

So, here’s how the 11/12 roster looks so far;

Michalek – Spezza – Butler

Foligno – FA – Alfredsson

Draft – Regin – Smith

Neil – Winchester – ???


Phillips – Cowen

Gonchar – Karlsson

Kuba – Rundblad

Carkner – Lee

??? – ??? – Lehner.



16 Responses to “The Plan Gets Clearer.”

  1. I could see, and hope that, Condra and Greening make a mess of your forwards projection.

    • The more players earning spots the better, but the team really needs some help in the top 6 ranks, of which neither of those project out to be.

      • Agreed on the top 6, for now anyway. But some of the others in your lineup should be looking over their shoulder – Regin, Smith, Winchester.

  2. I believe that there will still be more trades coming. I don’t think this roster is anywhere near complete. A couple if not a few of the regulars will be gone by September. That is where our trade for a top six forward will come from, and the open spot will be filled with Condra, Greening or a draft pick. I can see Neil being a part of a trade with Foligno and a draft pick for a high end forward. There is something about Foligno that makes me think he will never reach his full potential in Ottawa.

  3. Overall a pretty good view, but there is still some work to be done and lots could change. Murray is not afraid to deal at the draft and the only thing I would say is key to not move is the Sens 1st rnd pick. Agree with Carver that Greening and Condra are making a case and could pass Regin, Smith or Winchester in the depth chart. Even Wick is on the rise.

    Don’t forget Svatos – his audition is going well despite the lack of points – he makes plays and gets chances.

    The goal question puzzles me – why grab McElhinney and not Conklin? Was it money, age, not wanting to win? Great that another goalie was picked up to give Lehner playing time in the minors, but Conklin was a good waiver wire target too. It may have created a goalie controversy, who knows, but having two options to sign for a couple of years would be better than one. McElhinney is an Elliott clone – .890 S% and 3.25 GAA. May be good to ensure our top 3 pick …

    If Anderson is the real deal, will sign for a reasonable amount (3-4M per?), and doesn’t regress after signing, then great. He could keep the team competitive while the growing pains of the youth movement are endured by the fans, and Lehner gets to develop properly.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Regin or Foligno moved. Regin had an awful year.

    Goalie questions need to be answered for sure, but the answers are close at hand.

  4. worsteverything Says:

    I really like this assessment. You know why? It’s thinking a little further down the line. We fans think we know what being a GM is all about. Its like playing poker in someone’s garage right? We don’t know. Quick example, trading 2010 1st round draft pick for David Rundblad…who, lets face it, none of us had even heard of at that point. You think ANY of us slobs would have had that move on our radar screens? Hell no, but we’re all happy to be happy about it. Either way, at this point in time I think people are already starting to be a little impatient with the rebuild. The guy moves Kovalev, Ruutu, Fisher, Kelly, Campoli, Elliot in what? Less than a month and people are all WHERES THE KUBA MOVE, WHERES THE GONCHAR MOVE. Maybe it doesn’t take place this year. Maybe Kuba moves at next year’s deadline. The guy has tons of term, has not played well since coming back from a broken leg, has been off the PP until recently thus has what? Less than 10 points going into the last full month of the season.Oh yeah people lining up for him for the playoff push. Gonchar? People are so obsessed with getting good return, you think you’re going to get anything for a guy literally having his worst year or his career. Relax. Also, don’t get me started on this complaining about upgrading in net. Ugh…don’t worry folks, this team is STILL going to tank…they won ONE game in January, three in February…that goes a long way, folks.

    • Large part of it is we have the internet, which allows all of this communication and communication between EA Sports 2KX GMs who think moves can be made at anytime. As demonstrated in the real world – they can be if you are willing to do certain things (like not overvalue your players) and if you have certain empowerment (like a mandate from your owner to cut salary and re-build). But those conditions are rare.

      Remember when Murray said he couldn’t make moves because of the cap and the market or lack of for the guys he wanted to move – or something to that effect. Then he’s given a green light by Euge and the arse comes out of ‘er. He turns into a trading machine.

      We (fans) got on a roll and wanted him to move all of the underachievers and big contracts.

      I think the Sens had so many players who underachieved so much that they all had created anti-fan clubs or haters. Clearly we still have ‘hated’ players. While Gonchar had a poor year – I still think he’s an asset the team could use (and likely have to). Kuba could also rebound (if they could get him to use that 96 mph shot more).

      What the recent changes have shown is making a large set of changes can have positive effects. It also makes you wonder if having Anderson join the team sooner would not have righted the ship and had the team contending for a playoff spot.

      Let’s revisit this at the end of the year.

      My hope is the team stays on a tank track (finish bottom 2) while beating our division rivals and playing spoiler to some of the bubble teams in the East. A .500 finish would be great.

      My worry is they pull an 11 game win streak out of their collective arses now that the trade pressures are off and screw that up too.

  5. Yes, it’s nearly impossible not to tank now. It’s nice to have things to cheer for though. Any team that tries to lose games is doomed in my opinion. Better to put an AHL roster up there trying to win and tanking, than having an NHL roster mailing it in every night with zero effort. And anyone who is upset about their team winning a game is crazy imo. I hope we get the top pick this year, but I’d rather see some good games and a few good wins and get second or third overall. A winning spirit is critical.

  6. Great post.. but I agree I think Condra & Greening make a big push for next season.

    I think Cowen & Rundblad — paired with an experiended D each will make this team.

    It’s about getting younger so let the young guys play.

    I think Lee may be gone at the draft with a pick to either move up into the top 10 or get another good prospect. What if Nashville’s pick does end up in top 10 by itself.. do you think it is possible to trade up into the top 5?

  7. Lee had a great game tonight. If he keeps playing this well, don’t be surprised if he stays.

    They are not gaining on NYI, especially if NYI win a few more games. Don’t forget, even if OTT win, the other teams have to lose.

    Condra, Greening, and Butler have all been great. Smith was solid on D tonight too.

    The future is bright indeed.

    I highly doubt we lose our lottery pick.

    However, I am always going to root for the win, regardless.


  8. Differing Opinion Says:

    Whatever happens, dear lord let us have a defensive coach or a teach that can teach it.

    Too many times I see Phillips, Lee, Karlsson, Kuba, EVERYONE just leave their man alone in front of the net, wave a stick at a guy casually or just fail to muscle someone off the puck. No matter how many points Rundblad gets in the SEL, Murray’s contention that “if we have the puck, otehrs will block shots and we won’t need to” has been proven a dud. We need people back there that WILL get people off the puck or that WILL collapse and protect our goaltender. Until we do, we’ll have the equivalent of four Phil Housleys back there…remember when he had a 97 point season but was -47 or something ridiculous…and the Jets still didn’t make any noise.

    The Murrays will be back for two more years, this situation is about as cloudy as a freshly cleaned window.

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