Senators News: May 30th

-It’s Sens post-mortem time across the blogosphere and Nichols weighs in, providing brilliant context to the season that was which includes this gem:

The fact that management willingly parlayed an asset to acquire Matt Kassian, the realization that this was a bit of a lost season dawned on many of us

After going through all the positives he poses an obvious question:

You have to wonder whether the Senators’ goaltending may have masked the deficiencies this team had

Clearly they did and the open question Nichols’ leaves us with is whether there will be regression or not.  The positive is that the organisation feels confident in both their goaltenders, so if one falters they have a Plan B.  Nichols then wonders if the Sens are truly a contender going into next season:

The Senators are short on elite talent and problematically, each of its best offensive forwards are entering the final years of their respective deals and given their age and health issues, with the exception of Daniel Alfredsson, the  in Ottawa’s best interests to retain Milan Michalek or Jason Spezza.  Compounding the problem is that there is no one internally who can replace an Alfie, a Spezza or even a Michalek. Hell, they probably will have a difficult time replacing Gonchar’s minutes should the veteran defenceman find a better fit (read: one who gives him the money and term he’s looking for) on the free agent market.  In a nutshell, the Senators are left with two options: 1) they can move assets for an already established NHL player who can conceivably help this team for years to come; or 2) they can move a number of pieces in an effort to move up in the draft.

I partially agree with him in the context of next season.  Of the players mentioned Spezza‘s production simply can’t be replaced outside the draft or a monumental trade, while I think Michalek and Gonchar are more easily replaced (the former is rarely healthy and outside of last season his production wasn’t remarkable; I anticipate Patrick Wiercioch will provide a good chunk of offense produced by a declining Gonchar).  Can/should the Sens try to move up in the draft or make a deal?  I’m just not sure the team gets better exchanging one needed asset to acquire another–what do they have in abundance that they can afford to give up?

It’s a great article and I highly recommend it (although Nichols needs to figure out how to keep the ads on his site from blocking the text or his articles).

-Travis Yost examines a pair of playoff performances (here and here), beginning by looking at how much Alfredsson excelled in the Sens loss to Pittsburgh and how awful Jared Cowen was in the playoffs overall.  Yost wonders if Cowen will be ready for top-four duty next season, but admits there’s no other option as things stand.  If he’s healthy I think he’ll be fine, although a lot depends on who he is paired with.

Bryan Murray believes the Sens need a scorer in their prime, but it’s difficult to see how they could land such a player (free agency is not remotely promising).

-It doesn’t seem like news, but Ottawa has told Guillaume Latendresse that he won’t be back next season.  Unable to produce enough, the painfully slow Latendresse will be looking for a new team via free agency.

Don Brennan offers his grades for the season and doesn’t offer any particularly egregious assessments (his grade for Patrick Wierioch is a little low and Chris Neil is too high, but given his normal penchant for outright ridiculousness it’s not bad).

-Here’s my look at the ISS Draft Guide.

Allan Maki talks about the NHL’s relief that Stephen Walkom’s embarrassing performance can be ignored since Chicago ultimately won their game.  This isn’t Walkom’s first horror show and runs with how consistently awful NHL officiating has been (despite empty apologetics from Mark Spector).

Brian Cazeneuve offers a retrospective on John Tortorella’s time as head coach of the Rangers.  There’s not much love in the media for Tortorella, but for entertainment’s sake I’d love to see him back with TSN.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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