Ok as with before I Spin the Roulette and do a run-down on the team it lands upon as it appears to my inexperienced eye. Onto the Spin!
and we have the Senators.
Ok we all know the Sens were the powerhouse of the East since more or less the lockout. But last season we saw the enormous crash from the standings which resulted in the Sens barely making the playoffs , and having the position of the year before reversed on them with the Pens booting them out of the playoffs. Coming into this season we will see if they look any better .
Forwards (Projected Line Up)
So obviously it can never be said that the Senators do not boast one of the best top lines in hockey . Only second to perhaps Detroit's, so they are right up their with having a legitamte scoring line . But apart from that one line their is very little to get excited over, and even with that line you need them to all stay healthy. To be fair vermette and Fisher can get it done well enough but are not enough to to carry the team's secondary scoring , and their is a severe shortage of others. As you look further down the lines one will see a bright spot as the Sens do have some promising young talent but as of right now they are not the answer and need to develop further. So as it stands it seems that the Sens are going the route of the "big three" that Tampa found to be so disastrous and will have to hope for health for their top line and for others to step up their games.
Defence(projected Line up)
Smith-Mezaros(when he signs)
The Sens D-corps overall can be considered slightly above medicre at best in my opinion. Smith was brought in to replace Redden , so you can be sure their will be someone to be feared and to help clear the net . But with that plus their comes the subtraction that Smith is no offencive power-house and though fairy-like at times redden could still chip in the odd point more then Smith. Rounding out the rest of the corps will be Volchenkov . a steady D-man who plays soundly enough but lacks also a bit of break-out flair and the PP touch. Mezaros who is a solid defenceman who drastically improved in the art of not taking dumb penalties last year and playing far better who though unsigned at the moment is expected and needed to stay with Ottawa to give them a shot at not ltting their goalies be buried in pucks. Phillips and Schubert are expected to play as they have always done , perhas even better if Schubert can playy the entire time on the blueline and not rotated back and forth from forward and defence. While Lee like the other young guys up on forward still needs time to hone his game and will make mistakes as all rookies do. So as it stands the D-corps though not bad is not particularily great either and will need to be bailed out I think from its goalies quite a bit.
Here's a part of the team that I think people sorely underestimate. Sure Gerber and Auld are names that don't exactly jump out at you like Turco and Broduer , but that does not mean they are no good. With gerber ever since he was pulled from that P/O that year against the Habs with Carolina he has been crucified and black marked ever since. As far as talent goes Gerbs has enough and can win games for his team , he may not be the best but he is good enough and can carry a team into the playoffs i think . Some may argue and say that he could not help his team out in the P/O last year. But may I point out that he was facing on average 40 shots per game and being shot at by a dominatnt Pens team while his own team was unhealthy and just coming off a long skid and mired in controvery, gerbs is capable of 40 wins if his team can back him up at times. Speaking of backing up we come to Alex Auld . If their is no love for Gerber their is even less for Auld . I for one find him a capable goalie who seemed to regain his abilities and confidence with Boston last year . Look for Alex to bail out the sinking ship that is Ottawa and give Gerbs some much needed relief.
Well their is my run down on the team and all that remains for me is my predicitons as to where they finish.
The Sens may not be top dogs anymore but that does not mean they are sinking so fast to land in the cellar. they will secure third easily enough in the division and can possibly challenge for a higher spot if they pull it all together , but most likely in my opinion 3rd is where they will stay. As for the conference their will be teams scratchign at the top four spots and trying to wedge themselves through , and i think the Sens will be one of those teams that will be aimining for 4th as the best option but most likely landing in and around 6th.
Well thats it for my opinion today , until next time.
p.s- Please remember this is all opinion based and not set in stone , feel free to correct me but keep it tasteful.