With the last of Ottawa’s Binghamton-eligible RFA’s signed I thought it was time to look at their potential lineup, which despite its size is actually smaller (by one player) than last season, but that was a lockout impacted number. I’ve included the position breakdown along with how they came to the organisation (players in green were free agent prospect signings while those in red are veteran signees), their ages (as of today), how many pro season they’ve played, and how many NHL games they’ve played where applicable (I’ve organised them by experience).
David Dziurzynski (LW/C) (23, BCHL FA 2010, 3 years, 12 NHL games)
Mike Hoffman (C/LW) (23, 5-130/09, 3 years, 4 NHL games)
Corey Cowick (LW) (24, 6-160/09, 3 years)
Stephane Da Costa (CR) (24, NCAA FA 2011, 2 years, 35 NHL games)
Derek Grant (C/LW) (23, 4-119/08, 2 years, 5 NHL games)
Andre Petersson (RW/LW) (22, 4-109/08, 2 years, 1 NHL game)
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (CR) (20, 4-96/11, 1 year, 9 NHL games)
Mark Stone (RW) (21, 6-178/10, 1 year, 4 NHL games)
Wacey Hamilton (CL) (22, WHL FA 2011, 2 years)
Cole Schneider (LW) (22, NCAA FA 2012, 1 year)
Darren Kramer (LW) (21, 6-156/11, 1 year)
Shane Prince (C/LW) (20, 2-61/11, 1 year)
Ludwig Karlsson (LW) (22, NCAA FA 2013, rookie)
Buddy Robinson (RW) (21, NCAA FA 2013, rookie)
Jakub Culek (C/LW) (20, 3-76/10, rookie)
Matt Puempel (LW) (20, 1-24/11, rookie)
*Cory Conacher is eligible, but I don’t believe he’ll ever suit up in Binghamton
Of the players who play both center and wing Grant will definitely remain a pivot, but if Pageau stays in the NHL it’s not entirely clear to me who all four centers will be. The team will also have to move someone to their off-wing to fill out the right side of their lineup. Assuming all players are healthy both Culek and Hamilton are the most likely players destined for demotion, albeit the team’s shortage at center could benefit both. Here’s a rough lineup (minus Pageau, who if he winds up in Binghamton likely gets the second line center spot):
This leaves newly signed Karlsson as a scratch (along with the aforementioned Culek and Kramer as spare parts), Cowick on the fourth line and Dziurzynski playing the off-wing, but it’s difficult to see anything else if the roster remains intact. The B-Sens are thin on the right side so any idea that Petersson (who barely played last year due to injury) might be traded seems unlikely unless it’s for another right-winger. The exact rotation above could shift around, but I think the basic framework of the top-six and bottom-six makes sense.
Tyler Eckford (LD) (27, FA 2012, 5 years, 7 NHL games)
Eric Gryba (RD) (25, 3-68/06, 3 years, 33 NHL games)
Mark Borowiecki (LD) (24, 5-139/08, 2 years, 8 NHL games)
Fredrik Claesson (LD) (20, 5-126/11, 1 year)
Ben Blood (LD) (24, 4-120/07, 1 year)
Chris Wideman (RD) (23, 4-100/09, 1 year)
Michael Sdao (LD) (24, 7-191/09, rookie)
Troy Rutkowski (RD) (21, WHL FA 2013, rookie)
Cody Ceci (RD) (19, 1-15/12, rookie)
A glut of defensemen is not a problem for the organisation, especially as Blood is likely destined for Elmira, while Gryba may well stay in Ottawa as the spare blueliner. That leaves seven defensemen and I’d guess Wideman, Sdao, and Rutkowski will battle it out for the bottom-pairing (so Eckford, Borowiecki, Claesson, and Ceci are your top-four).
Nathan Lawson (29, FA 2012, 6 years, 10 NHL games)
Andrew Hammond (25, NCAA FA 2013, rookie)
*Robin Lehner is eligible, but his spot in Ottawa is cemented
This is the simplest part of the lineup to look at: Lawson will start and Hammond will back-up. Presumably a third goaltender will be added on an ECHL-deal who can be called up if there’s an injury or if Hammond struggles.
The Sens could stick with this group, but I believe at least one forward will be moved from the roster–likely without a player coming back in return, but if one does it will either be a prospect not playing in the AHL or else at a different position. I continue to think that Culek is the most disposable player, but it’s hard to imagine he would garner much interest (although future considerations remains a possible return).
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)