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Best possible roster under $57M?

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  • #16
    Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

    I'd rather sub out the 1st round pick (unless it's very high) for something else, honestly. The draft sucks this year. Any pick I'd ask for would be a 2015 pick.

    I think it's going to be interesting to see what St. Louis offers for Spezza. I have no interest in Berglund. You know they have to make a big move after their third straight playoff choke, though. The fans are demanding it. And letting Miller go for Elliott isn't a big move, it's a stupid move.

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

      Originally posted by Matt the Aussie
      I don't see any scenario where Spezza gets us the first overall pick. Hell, I have doubts Spezza would land a first round pick, espeically with most everybody already agreeing he's not coming back to Ottawa next season. Trade value is down.
      Yeah, I can see no possible scenario where any team would trade a first overall pick for Spezza, but especially Dale Talon, who knows as well as anyone how important those top picks are - he picked Kane and Toews with 1st and 3rd overall picks. Spezza is definitely worth a first round pick though. True, his value is down because he's been underperforming and has a huge cap hit, but everybody still recognizes how valuable he is as a player, and there would surely be a handful of teams (albeit a small handful) who would have some serious interest in him and be willing to give up a semi-respectable package.

      Originally posted by Alfie11
      I'd rather sub out the 1st round pick (unless it's very high) for something else, honestly. The draft sucks this year. Any pick I'd ask for would be a 2015 pick.
      No, no, three times no. I have to disagree completely here. I mean, yes, obviously 2015 is going to be better - maybe a lot better - but that's more a testament to how good 2015 is going to be than 2014 being bad. It looks to me like it's going to be roughly average, maybe even a little above average. But to say this draft sucks just baffles me. A 100 point Quebec league rookie (Nick Ehler) is ranked outside the top five - granted playing with Drouin inflated his stats a bit, but Drouin only played half the season. William Nylander, who had 16 points in 7 WJC U18 games, 19 points in one 17 games stint in Allsvenskan, and a respectable 7 in 22 SHL games (not dissimilar to Zibanejad's numbers in that league at that age), is ranked outside the top 10 by some scouting services. Maybe there's not quite a Tavares or Stamkos, but all of the big four have elite potential combined with a good level of certainty, and lets not forget, Ekblad was only the second player ever after Tavares to be granted "exceptional player" status by the OHL, and Reinhart, if not on Crosby/Tavares level, is at least somewhere in the MacKinnon/Hall/Seguin range as far as top picks go. And Draisaitl is absolutely not to be overlooked.
      Kid has all the makings of a perennial all-star. In fact, the first 15 or so forwards in this draft remind me a bit of the 2003 draft. Of course, it falls off fairly quickly after that, and the pool of defensemen is fairly weak, so it overall won't be anything remotely comparable to 2003, but a solid draft nonetheless.

      Originally posted by Alfie11
      I think it's going to be interesting to see what St. Louis offers for Spezza. I have no interest in Berglund. You know they have to make a big move after their third straight playoff choke, though. The fans are demanding it. And letting Miller go for Elliott isn't a big move, it's a stupid move.
      None whatsoever? I'm not a huge Berglund fan, but he's a solid top seven or eight forward. He wouldn't be my first choice by any stretch, but as Matt stated (or rather, over-stated), we can't afford to be all that picky if we're gonna trade him. I would really like to get Stewart out of Buffalo, but I'm not sure how interested Tim Murray would be in acquiring Spezza at this stage in their rebuild.

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

        Perhaps "this draft sucks" wasn't the best wording, but I don't think it's a great draft. As I said, I didn't follow it too closely but after some research I find it to be slightly below average. Personally, it seems like there's quite a drop off after about the sixth or seventh ranked players, but that's just me. You watch a lot more of these players than me, but I don't really see that many players panning out to be great players. I think, other than one of those picks, we'd be better off getting a prospect who's already at least one year developed or a future draft pick.

        As for Berglund, I don't really have any interest. First of all, we have a centre surplus, even with Spezza gone. Turris, Zibanejad and Smith have all made an impact at the NHL level already. Pageau and Lazar look very promising. I think a centre is the last thing we need, honestly. The only one on that list I would really want to convert to wing is Pageau and maybe Smith - Zibanejad looks a lot better at centre than the wing, Lazar's two-way game is more suited for a centre than a winger. Berglund showed some promise in his rookie year, the only problem is that was 2008. He's now 26 and isn't even cracking 40 points which is pretty concerning.

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

          Apparently the talks with Hemsky have pretty much ended after Hemsky demanded $5.5M. Can't really blame the Sens for walking away on that one although they need to find replacements as it looks like we're losing an entire top six scoring line.

          On the Spezza front, it appears the Sens won't be trading Spezza to an Eastern team. Ducks, Blues, Canucks and Predators are rumoured to be interested. Apparently the asking price is similar to what the Bobby Ryan trade was for Anaheim - a 1st, prospect and roster player. The rumoured roster player from the Ducks is apparently Nick Bonino who the Sens targeted in the Ryan trade.

          My opinion is that it doesn't look too optimistic at this moment. We're going to be losing an entire top six scoring line, and probably replacing them with unproven top six players. The whole budget is really restricting what this team can be in the future. It's pretty sad when you look at the extra revenue brought onto the team through the new media deal with Bell, yet Melnyk blows $5M adding extra TVs into the arena and the budget doesn't really rise. It's been said many times that if you look at the teams that are in the Stanley Cup Finals or even the Conference Finals, they aren't budget teams. They have owners who will let the team spend close to the cap.

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

            So we lose our whole second line now, and potentially 2 out of 3 from the top line if Ryan and MacArthur walk next year?

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

              Originally posted by Matt the Aussie
              So we lose our whole second line now, and potentially 2 out of 3 from the top line if Ryan and MacArthur walk next year?
              Yup. I don't think we lose Bobby Ryan, but with all the contracts we need to give out next year I wouldn't be shocked if we lost either MacArthur or Methot. Either of those would be a big blow. I guess we'll be relying heavily on Zibanejad, Stone, Lazar, Puempel, and whoever we get back in the Spezza trade for secondary scoring. And this is all while our primary scorers don't put up huge points (good, but not huge). Ryan hasn't hit 60 points since 2011, while Turris at the moment is a 55-60 point player.

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

                Bruce Garrioch says the Sens called the Sabres about Chris Stewart but the asking price was really high. They wanted Lazar. Also, Don Cherry spoke on why the Sens did so bad this year. A lack of Canadian's, and too many European's :lol:

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

                  Don Cherry says the Sens don't have enough Canadian players on their team and that's why they finished so poorly. The Sens respond.

                  Fun with numbers: The #Sens had 16 CDN-born players on their roster to end the season (20 played in games.) @hockeynight
                  https://twitter.com/Senators/status/474586656579006465

                  We also had four Americans, three Swedes, two Czech players and one from France. #ButWhosCounting
                  https://twitter.com/Senators/status/474586885160206337

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

                    Geez, Cherry is a dinosaur isn't he?

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

                      Yeah, pretty much. I remember the Sens are down in the series 1-0 to the Penguins and he showed a clip at one point of Silfverberg and Zibanejad laughing and was very angry about how they shouldn't be laughing when down in a series (despite nobody knowing what the circumstances are). He also was very angry that Alfredsson was wearing a headband during warmup to keep his hair out of his face.

                      There's a clip of him showing Jagr getting checked and calling him a "bad player", and Bure, too.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

                        Originally posted by Alfie11
                        Bruce Garrioch says the Sens called the Sabres about Chris Stewart but the asking price was really high. They wanted Lazar. Also, Don Cherry spoke on why the Sens did so bad this year. A lack of Canadian's, and too many European's :lol:
                        Not just not enough Canadians, not enough Ontarians! :?

                        I would LOVE to have Chris Stewart as a Sen, but they can suck my left testicle for Lazar. I was hoping maybe we could get him as part of a package for Spezza, but I wouldn't be surprised if you're right that Murray won't trade Spezza within the Eastern Conference.

                        Originally posted by Alfie11
                        Perhaps "this draft sucks" wasn't the best wording, but I don't think it's a great draft. As I said, I didn't follow it too closely but after some research I find it to be slightly below average. Personally, it seems like there's quite a drop off after about the sixth or seventh ranked players, but that's just me. You watch a lot more of these players than me, but I don't really see that many players panning out to be great players. I think, other than one of those picks, we'd be better off getting a prospect who's already at least one year developed or a future draft pick.
                        Yeah, I don't want to argue this very strongly, because I do have my doubts about the overall quality of this draft. Again, not sold on the depth past the first round or the pool of defensemen, but the first fifteen or twenty forwards really does remind me of 2003. When you've got three 17/18 year olds already scoring 100 points in the CHL, seven 90 point scorers, a few really good Europeans, at least a few of them are gonna eventually put up similar numbers in the NHL. And that's not even mentioning potential superstars Brendan Perlini (who looks a little like Jeff Carter, speaking of the '03 draft), OHL playoff MVP Robby Fabbri, or Jake Virtanen, or sleepers like Josh Ho-Sang, Chase De Leo and Nikita Scherbak, who are all likely to fall out of the first round.

                        I do think a lot of these players are fairly high risk, so maybe you're right that a 2012 or 2013 prospect, or 2015 pick might be the safer bet. The neat thing with the 2015 draft, is that it's so good, no matter where you pick in the first round, you're likely going to get a good player. In fact, aside from the top two, who are elite - borderline generational - prospects, you might be as likely to get an all-star or superstar 25th overall as you would 5th overall. So yes, take a 2015 first rounder over a 2014, but I wouldn't take extra efforts to avoid a 2014 pick. That said, lets not forget, statistically, an early to mid second rounder is generally just as good as a late first, so if we could improve the roster player or prospect portion of the package and take a 2014 second rounder instead of a first, there are a few guys, like Ho-Sang, Jayce Hawryluk, and Lazar's linemate Brett Pollock who I'm quite interested in.

                        Originally posted by Alfie11
                        As for Berglund, I don't really have any interest. First of all, we have a centre surplus, even with Spezza gone. Turris, Zibanejad and Smith have all made an impact at the NHL level already. Pageau and Lazar look very promising. I think a centre is the last thing we need, honestly. The only one on that list I would really want to convert to wing is Pageau and maybe Smith - Zibanejad looks a lot better at centre than the wing, Lazar's two-way game is more suited for a centre than a winger. Berglund showed some promise in his rookie year, the only problem is that was 2008. He's now 26 and isn't even cracking 40 points which is pretty concerning.
                        I would be tempted to agree with you here. Not a huge fan of Berglund anymore, although I do think he'd do a lot better in Ottawa than he has been in St. Louis, where he's been buried pretty far down the depth chart. And more importantly, if we were to acquire him, he wouldn't be the centerpiece of the deal. If we could get Berglund plus two of: a first rounder, Tommy Vannelli, Jordan Schmaltz, Ty Rattie and Dmitri Jaskins, I would be perfectly happy.

                        Also, it is vital that if we trade Spezza, we get a. somebody who can take faceoffs. Despite what Alfie said about not wanting more centers, the Sens are very limited on faceoff options after Spezza, who takes the great majority of our draws. If we trade him, we need somebody coming back who can take some of those draws. Berglund takes a lot of faceoffs. b. someone who can kill penalties. If Spezza and Michalek both leave, that's two of the regulars from an already weak PK, so we need someone who can play in those situations. Berglund played over 1:30 per game shorthanded this year.

                        And all this brings me to a few possible packages or targets I thought we might be able to squeeze out of Spezza, based on the list of teams Alfie gave:

                        Anaheim - I have a very specific wishlist from Anaheim: Kyle Palmieri and Nick Bonino. Bonino is a sound two-way player, takes faceoffs, kills penalties, and even plays quite a bit on the PP. More important though is Kyle Palmieri; an excellent young player who should develop into a at least a 25 goal, 50 point scorer, he had phenomenal chemistry with Ryan in Anaheim (in fact, the three of them often played on a line together), and just as important is the off-ice chemistry, he's a fellow jersey boy, which could be big in convincing Ryan to stay next summer. The third piece of this package isn't all that important to me. Anaheim has a ridiculous wealth of prospects to choose from, and I've been really big on Patrick Maroon for a while, but I wouldn't be picky as long as we could get those two.

                        Nashville: Their prospect pool, like Anaheim's, is stacked, so on one hand, as would be the case with St. Louis, we'd want the package to focus on futures, but on the other, Nashville is very much a budget team, so would have to give up some contracts to take on Spezza's. But that's not a problem really, because I do very much like Patric Hornqvist. So the package would look something like Hornqvist/Craig Smith, Nystrom/Wilson/Stalberg, and a pick or prospect. I'd be pushing really hard for Austin Watson, but I doubt they'd be willing to move him.

                        St. Louis: Berglund would likely be a necessity if we were to go this route. I can't even imagine would else we could take from them, roster player-wise, and so, like Nashville, the package would be picks and prospect focused. We do clearly need at least two new NHL-ready forwards, but we could always fill one of those via free agency: Cammalleri, Moulson, Ott, Brassard and Vrbata could all be viable options. In fact, if we could get Brassard, we wouldn't need another center out of a Spezza deal... but if such a trade were to happen, there's a good chance it would be at the draft, so there'd be no room to wait and see on Brassard.

                        Vancouver: I do like Higgins and Hansen, but I just can't really see this happening, especially since it has been reported that they're not going to move Edler... unless maybe it's still true that Kesler wants out of Vancouver and we could try to work out a Spezza for Kesler swap.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

                          Originally posted by matchesmalone
                          Originally posted by Alfie11
                          Bruce Garrioch says the Sens called the Sabres about Chris Stewart but the asking price was really high. They wanted Lazar. Also, Don Cherry spoke on why the Sens did so bad this year. A lack of Canadian's, and too many European's :lol:
                          I would LOVE to have Chris Stewart as a Sen, but they can suck my left testicle for Lazar. I was hoping maybe we could get him as part of a package for Spezza, but I wouldn't be surprised if you're right that Murray won't trade Spezza within the Eastern Conference.
                          I agree that Chris Stewart would be a really good piece to this team. In fact, I was 90% sure he was going to be a Senator at the deadline but something obviously fell through, and it appears to be the asking price. I think he's a piece that Ottawa needs to acquire at some point - good around the net, big and has a good scoring touch. I really like him as a player, but not enough to deal our top prospect over. I was imaging his asking price as a second round pick and a B-level prospect such as Shane Prince. Plus Stewart is only 26 years old.

                          Originally posted by Alfie11
                          Perhaps "this draft sucks" wasn't the best wording, but I don't think it's a great draft. As I said, I didn't follow it too closely but after some research I find it to be slightly below average. Personally, it seems like there's quite a drop off after about the sixth or seventh ranked players, but that's just me. You watch a lot more of these players than me, but I don't really see that many players panning out to be great players. I think, other than one of those picks, we'd be better off getting a prospect who's already at least one year developed or a future draft pick.
                          [quote:373djm9v]Yeah, I don't want to argue this very strongly, because I do have my doubts about the overall quality of this draft. Again, not sold on the depth past the first round or the pool of defensemen, but the first fifteen or twenty forwards really does remind me of 2003. When you've got three 17/18 year olds already scoring 100 points in the CHL, seven 90 point scorers, a few really good Europeans, at least a few of them are gonna eventually put up similar numbers in the NHL. And that's not even mentioning potential superstars Brendan Perlini (who looks a little like Jeff Carter, speaking of the '03 draft), OHL playoff MVP Robby Fabbri, or Jake Virtanen, or sleepers like Josh Ho-Sang, Chase De Leo and Nikita Scherbak, who are all likely to fall out of the first round.

                          I do think a lot of these players are fairly high risk, so maybe you're right that a 2012 or 2013 prospect, or 2015 pick might be the safer bet. The neat thing with the 2015 draft, is that it's so good, no matter where you pick in the first round, you're likely going to get a good player. In fact, aside from the top two, who are elite - borderline generational - prospects, you might be as likely to get an all-star or superstar 25th overall as you would 5th overall. So yes, take a 2015 first rounder over a 2014, but I wouldn't take extra efforts to avoid a 2014 pick. That said, lets not forget, statistically, an early to mid second rounder is generally just as good as a late first, so if we could improve the roster player or prospect portion of the package and take a 2014 second rounder instead of a first, there are a few guys, like Ho-Sang, Jayce Hawryluk, and Lazar's linemate Brett Pollock who I'm quite interested in.
                          Well, as I said, you know the draft a prospects a hell of a lot better than I do. To be honest, I was slacking on watching some Sens games this year, let alone around the NHL and especially junior hockey. Based on what I had heard and some small research I did, I'm a little surprised to hear your comparisons but you do raise some good points and stats in your favour. Much like you I'm all for getting a second instead of a first if it includes slight improvements of a roster player or prospect.

                          A little off-topic to what we're discussing but my only concern with the Bobby Ryan trade is getting him re-signed, and that fear isn't all that big as I feel an extension will come this summer. I mean, the pick is the pick. It was a little higher than hoped but it could have been a lot worse. Silfverberg isn't a bad player but I don't think he'll ever amount to a GREAT player. I don't like his speed or acceleration and I think he's going to have a hard time getting open to let his shot off in the future. I even had his jersey and I wasn't too bummed about losing him. And finally, there's Noesen who I was excited to see what he could do but you have to give to get a player like Ryan. I'd do the trade over and over again because Ryan is such a dynamic player and is a threat any time he's out there. I think he's going to have a great bounce-back year.

                          Originally posted by Alfie11
                          As for Berglund, I don't really have any interest. First of all, we have a centre surplus, even with Spezza gone. Turris, Zibanejad and Smith have all made an impact at the NHL level already. Pageau and Lazar look very promising. I think a centre is the last thing we need, honestly. The only one on that list I would really want to convert to wing is Pageau and maybe Smith - Zibanejad looks a lot better at centre than the wing, Lazar's two-way game is more suited for a centre than a winger. Berglund showed some promise in his rookie year, the only problem is that was 2008. He's now 26 and isn't even cracking 40 points which is pretty concerning.
                          I would be tempted to agree with you here. Not a huge fan of Berglund anymore, although I do think he'd do a lot better in Ottawa than he has been in St. Louis, where he's been buried pretty far down the depth chart. And more importantly, if we were to acquire him, he wouldn't be the centerpiece of the deal. If we could get Berglund plus two of: a first rounder, Tommy Vannelli, Jordan Schmaltz, Ty Rattie and Dmitri Jaskins, I would be perfectly happy.

                          Also, it is vital that if we trade Spezza, we get a. somebody who can take faceoffs. Despite what Alfie said about not wanting more centers, the Sens are very limited on faceoff options after Spezza, who takes the great majority of our draws. If we trade him, we need somebody coming back who can take some of those draws. Berglund takes a lot of faceoffs. b. someone who can kill penalties. If Spezza and Michalek both leave, that's two of the regulars from an already weak PK, so we need someone who can play in those situations. Berglund played over 1:30 per game shorthanded this year.

                          And all this brings me to a few possible packages or targets I thought we might be able to squeeze out of Spezza, based on the list of teams Alfie gave:

                          Anaheim - I have a very specific wishlist from Anaheim: Kyle Palmieri and Nick Bonino. Bonino is a sound two-way player, takes faceoffs, kills penalties, and even plays quite a bit on the PP. More important though is Kyle Palmieri; an excellent young player who should develop into a at least a 25 goal, 50 point scorer, he had phenomenal chemistry with Ryan in Anaheim (in fact, the three of them often played on a line together), and just as important is the off-ice chemistry, he's a fellow jersey boy, which could be big in convincing Ryan to stay next summer. The third piece of this package isn't all that important to me. Anaheim has a ridiculous wealth of prospects to choose from, and I've been really big on Patrick Maroon for a while, but I wouldn't be picky as long as we could get those two.

                          Nashville: Their prospect pool, like Anaheim's, is stacked, so on one hand, as would be the case with St. Louis, we'd want the package to focus on futures, but on the other, Nashville is very much a budget team, so would have to give up some contracts to take on Spezza's. But that's not a problem really, because I do very much like Patric Hornqvist. So the package would look something like Hornqvist/Craig Smith, Nystrom/Wilson/Stalberg, and a pick or prospect. I'd be pushing really hard for Austin Watson, but I doubt they'd be willing to move him.

                          St. Louis: Berglund would likely be a necessity if we were to go this route. I can't even imagine would else we could take from them, roster player-wise, and so, like Nashville, the package would be picks and prospect focused. We do clearly need at least two new NHL-ready forwards, but we could always fill one of those via free agency: Cammalleri, Moulson, Ott, Brassard and Vrbata could all be viable options. In fact, if we could get Brassard, we wouldn't need another center out of a Spezza deal... but if such a trade were to happen, there's a good chance it would be at the draft, so there'd be no room to wait and see on Brassard.

                          Vancouver: I do like Higgins and Hansen, but I just can't really see this happening, especially since it has been reported that they're not going to move Edler... unless maybe it's still true that Kesler wants out of Vancouver and we could try to work out a Spezza for Kesler swap.
                          [/quote:373djm9v]

                          From what I've heard with St. Louis a likely package would be Berglund + Rattie + 1st/2nd which isn't too bad of a package. I have a question for you, Matches. Who would you rather have if given the choice - Patrik Berglund or Nick Bonino? Personally, I would have had to say Bonino, but reading Travis Yost's blog and some comments it seems that the general consensus is Berglund.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

                            Stewart for Lazar? lirl

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

                              Hm, I wouldn't mind that St. Louis package. Although there is still obviously concern as to how Rattie's game will adapt to the NHL game, but the potential is clearly there, and there were questions about how well it would adapt to the pro game before he answered those questions with a 31 goal rookie season.

                              Hard to pick between Berglund and Bonino. Just keep in mind how promising a young player Berglund looked like after his 52 point season, and he was only 23 at the time. Bonino broke out for 49 points but is already 26 now, so I'm not sure how much upward mobility there is left for him, or even whether this season might have been a bit of a fluke and he'll take a step back next year, like Berglund did. The fact that 20 of his 49 points came on the powerplay could hint towards that.

                              But that very same thing is part of what's so exciting about him. If we're losing Spezza, we're losing a lot on the powerplay, more than anything else. If this year wasn't a fluke for Bonino, and he is actually a capable powerplay specialist at the NHL level, then that nearly three minutes of PP ice time per game would go a long way in replacing Spezza, plus lets not forget the 1:41 per game SH.

                              Berglund is bigger, more physical, and more experienced, but he doesn't have the same special teams pedigree Bonino has. Bonino finished seventh in the league among blocked shots by forwards. But the one stat I really like about Beglund this year was the ratio of 42 takeaways to 12 giveaways.

                              Ultimately, I think I'd go with Bonino, hoping for the possibility of still more offensive upside.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: Best possible roster under $57M?

                                Since the original idea of this thread was putting together the best possible budget roster, I'll take a shot at it.

                                I would trade Spezza to Anaheim for Nick Bonino, Kyle Palmieri and a close to NHL-ready top prospect - so one of Rickard Rakell, William Karlsson or Nick Kerdiles. I can't see them giving up Rakell, and we're stacked with prospects on the right side anyway. I really like Karlsson's offensive potential, but if we're gonna have Turris, Zibanejad and Bonino at center for the foreseeable future, that leaves the left wing as our position of organizational need, so I'd try to get Kerdiles... Imagine what Don Cherry would say: trading an Ontarian - a Torontonian, no less! - for three Americans... :shock:

                                Of course the other option would be to just ask for a first round pick. Our own 2014 pick (10th) would be great, or Anaheim's own pick in 2015 (24th), I'd be hesitant to take Anaheim's 2014 pick, but if it's the best we can get, I'd take it. I can't really guess who our scouting staff might like or who might be available, but Kevin Fiala, Adrian Kempe and Dylan Larkin are three players I really like who might be available at 24th. At the U18s this year Craig Button compared Fiala to Henrik Zetterberg. And 12 points in 17 SHL games by a 17 year-old is ridiculous! He also led Swiss U18 and U20 WJCs in scoring, and was one of those rare players to play in a World Championship, U20 and U18 WJCs all in the same year (trivia question: how many others can you name?).

                                Whatever the third piece, I would then try to make it up to Don Cherry by bringing in two Torontonians - first flip Mark Stone and Chris Phillips to Buffalo for Chris Stewart (throw in a pick or two one way or the other if need be). Mark Stone is an excellent young NHL-ready player and I know Tim Murray was fairly high on him. Phillips would play a similar role to the one he's played in Ottawa the past couple of years, providing a safe, sound, calming presence on the blueline and helping teach Tyler Myers and Buffalo's other young defensemen the defensive side of the game.

                                Next sign Matt Moulson to fill that immediate need on the left wing. There are some other free agents I'd be very interested in, most notably Ryan Callahan, Jussi Jokinen and Radim Vrbata. But I don't see Vrbata or Jokinen leaving their current teams, and I can't see Callahan actually going to Ottawa. Moulson wasn't a great fit in Minnesota, so I think he'll test the market, but there will be at least a dozen teams with strong interest, and while we would have as selling points playing close to home and getting to play with Erik Karlsson, there are a dozen other teams who can sell themselves as playoff teams and possible Cup contenders right now, so we're going to have to overpay, which I'd be fully willing to do. It would probably cost something upwards of 36 million over six years.

                                I'd leave the defense otherwise as is, and let Borowiecki, Claesson and Wideman challenge Gryba and Wiercioch for spots, and then re-sign Lehner to a short-term deal for about 1.75-2 million (See Rask's previous contract for precedent). The resulting roster would be big, tough, gritty, and also quite skilled. The only forwards under 6' would be Palmieri (who recorded over 90 hits last year despite his size) and Condra. This is the type of team Bryan Murray likes, and it's the type of team that wins in today's NHL; just look at all of the regular contenders over the past few years, from Anaheim to San Jose to Chicago, but especially Boston and L.A. If we're gonna be serious contenders we need to keep up.

                                People might worry about the defense being left the same after all the turnovers and inability to exit our zone last year, but for one, they'll be another year older and more experienced, and also I think a lot of that can be blamed on the forwards. With a bigger and tougher group of forwards - rather than pure skill players like Spezza, Michalek and Hemsky who don't win a lot of battles and so need to get the puck in opportune positions in order to do anything useful with it - the defense could be a lot more focused on just flipping/chipping the puck out/in, and using the boards rather than having to try to pass it tape to tape every time. Ceci and Wiercioch will be another year further in their developments, and with the pairs the way I have them, there would be at least one good puck-mover on every pair. So without further ado:

                                MacArthur - Turris - Ryan (line 1a)
                                Moulson - Zibanejad - Stewart (1b)
                                Palmieri - Bonino - Condra (defensive shutdown line, with a little offensive upside)
                                Greening - Smith - Neil (maybe the hardest-hitting checking line in the NHL)

                                Methot - Karlsson
                                Cowen - Ceci
                                Wiercioch - Gryba

                                Anderson
                                Lehner

                                And there is my roster for about 56.8 million according to CapGeek. I know it seems strange to play the two players we get for Spezza on the third line, but look at it this way: Palmieri only played under 12 minutes per game for Anaheim last year; he has a lot of promise, but we'd want him to start low on the depth chart and work his way up. He also didn't play any PK in Anaheim, and I think he has the potential to, so I'd play him with Bonino and Condra in a checking role to start so he could learn that side of the game. I'd expect him to be up to 15 mins a game by the end of the season: 12-13 ES, 1-1:30 PP and 1-1:30 SH. Bonino only played about 11 minutes per game even strength last season, and I wouldn't expect him to go much over that this year, maybe 12-13, but add 2:30 on the PP and 2 on the PK and he's still playing 16:30-17:30 a game.

                                Zibanejad is more than ready for a full-time second line center role, and I'm expecting at least 50-60 points from him this year, maybe more if playing on a line between Moulson and Stewart and getting top powerplay time. Condra needs to have an incredible year, or he is replaced by Lazar the following season. In fact, even if he does, there might just be no holding Lazar at bay; but barring a ridiculous training camp from Lazar this fall, Condra has one more year to earn himself another one-way NHL contract here or elsewhere, so I expect a strong season from him.

                                Our PK should be improved with a lot of options at forward: Turris-MacArthur, Bonino-Condra, Greening-Smith, Stewart, and hopefully Palmieri. Even without Phillips, I'm comfortable with any of Methot, Cowen, Gryba, Karlsson or Ceci killing penalties. Wiercioch needs to work on using his size better, or he'll end up the next Filip Kuba.

                                The PP units might look like:
                                MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
                                Zibanejad - Karlsson

                                Moulson - Bonino - Stewart
                                Wiercioch - Ceci

                                Where the forward units would play roughly equal minutes, Karlsson would play the majority of all minutes, and Ceci, Wiercioch and Zibanejad would share the second point spot.

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