Sens Need Some 2LC


Here’s the thing, the Sens, as we all know, are in a rebuilding phase, and along with that comes some ups and downs.  Young players will alternate between feats of glory, and feats of woe, looking like legit NHL’ers one second, shift, or game, to looking like the rookies they are in another.

We get that.  We, the real fans of this club, have traded in our need for wins, in exchange for solid effort and hope for the future.  To date the Sens have held up their end of the deal, and we, I would argue, have done the same.

But one thing has been clear, even through the turmoil of rebuilding, this team has a worrying lack of depth at centre.  The loss of Peter Regin, to a recurring shoulder injury, has done nothing to help this situation, but in all fairness, can we really know for certain that a healthy Peter Regin will help the situation?  We all hope it will, but the fact remains that, in only his second full NHL season, Peter still has much to prove, and is far from a proven, legitimate, second line centre.

We also know that Alfies days are numbered, and we cannot expect him to play through this lack of depth, making up for it with his superior skill as a winger who can both score and control the play.  We are seeing it now, in Alfies absence, that without a second line centre the opposition is almost free to focus its best defensive efforts against the top line, with little fear of potent secondary scoring coming from either the second or third lines.

And, imagine, if/when Spezza goes down?

It’s all well and good to say it doesn’t matter, as any losses only help our draft position, but that thinking does nothing for our long term development.  What happens when the current crop of solid 3rd and 4th liners are ready to hold their own, or even dominate, but have no top end team mates to do their share of the work?  Will the losses still be acceptable?  I think not.

If this rebuild is going to work, the team must accept its weaknesses while also lauding it strengths.  As it stands, from a team depth stand point, offensively gifted centreman are, outside of Spezza, non existant.

So what to do?  Hit the trade market, and try to land this depth now?  wait until the off season and hope to sign a UFA?  Cross out fingers andf hope that Regin or DaCosta surprise, or either via the draft, or current long term depth, a legitimate 2LC emerges?

For fun, on an off day, let’s explore the first option.  Although, to be fair, trading for this type of player is nearly impossible, as depth at centre is desired by all clubs, but just for kicks, let’s see what might be out there.

Kyle Turris/RFA – Adamant statements not withstanding, he is available.   No player, after clearly stating he wants out, is un-available for trade, unless of course the team is willing to poison itself in hopes of killing the player at the same time.  Keeping Turris sends a clear message to every player in the league that Phoenix is a basket case franchise, one to be avoided at all costs.  And besides that, how will having an un-happy Turris, both in the room, and on the ice, serve anyones purpose?  No, despite the statements of his not being available, I don’t buy it.  He may not be traded until he signs, that seems legitimately possible, but wholly un-available…nope, just don’t see it.

Without wasting much more time on Turris, the truth is, despite his high draft position, he has done little or nothing to prove himself as a legit 2LC, so does his availability status even matter?  I would say yes, depending upon the cost.  If a reasonably signed Turris can be had for an asset like Lee and a 2nd, do it, if only to add to the club depth at centre, and hope his projected ability comes to the fore.

Sam Gagner/EDM/2.275M – Who is this kid, really?  Is he a legitimate top centre prospect, playing on a team already loaded with top forward talent, or is he a smallish NHL’er centre, never able to live up to his draft day hype?  I would steadfastly argue the former.

I’m of the opinion that Gagner is exactly what the Sens need, now, and into the future.  A skilled, experienced centre, capable of providing offense, but not required to play as a number one, at least not yet.  Gagner surely lacks defensive polish, but what 22 year old offensively gifted forward doesn’t…seriously?  And further to that skill deficit, does that really matter at this stage in the clubs rebuild?  Will it truly hurt the teams development to include adding defensive skills for its 2LC to the “development” file?

Rumour has it he’s available due to the imminent return of Horcoff and the dominant play of RNH.   Some point to picks as a possible trade return, others to a defenseman…would you deal Wiercoch or  a second for Gagner?

Derrick Brassard/CLB/3.2M – Is he available?  Dunno, but seeing time on the fourth line, for a team already out of the post season, and missing their #1 centre, while earning 3.2M/yr, through  2013/14…he should be.  The real question is, does the GM have the authority to make a deal?  Again, with this train wreck of a club, who knows!

Can Brassard help the Senators, well, sure, if he can get back to the game he played to earn his enormous 3.2M/season contract.  The Gatineau native has all of the necessary parts to be a dominant centre in the league, size, speed, and skill, but some have questioned his consistency…but this is a chicken and egg thing, is this the result of the inconsistent club that he plays for, or does his inconsistency make the club so?

Only one way to find out, but, until Carter and Wizzer return, and the club determines how to move forward, the only trigger getting pulled in Columbus will be the one firing off the cannon, if of course that, too, doesn’t misfire!

GN

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