The organisation made two good moves last week, re-signing Bobby Ryan to a seven-year extension and making Erik Karlsson the captain. The latter move doesn’t necessarily have any impact on the ice, but it is at least an acknowledgement that EK is the team’s most important player. I’ve seen no serious criticism of the move, although Nichols does remind us of pertinent facts regarding Ryan:
a) is coming off a significant injury (sports hernia); b) will be 28 in the first year of his new extension and 35 in the last year of his deal; c) he has never had great underlying numbers; d) should see his production should decline post-30; the Senators simply could not afford to let him leave or allow his uncertain status linger over the team for the duration of the season as we watched his trade value sink like it did for so many rental players at last year’s trade deadline. As much as I hate it when organizations focus explicitly on the optics involved, in this situation, the optics were important.
Pre-season is over and the Sens finished with a 4-2-1 record. It doesn’t mean much (anything really), but a winning record is nice however irrelevant it is. The roster has been revealed and includes no surprises, with Curtis Lazar getting his obligatory hyped cup of coffee before being returned to junior. What interests me going forward is whether Paul MacLean will have the balls/brains to sit Chris Neil, Chris Phillips, Colin Greening, or any other of his favourites when they aren’t playing well–my gut says no, but fortunately we can rely on reality and hope for the best. As it stands I think we can get ready for frequent shots of Mark Borowiecki and Mike Hoffman having coffee in the pressbox.
All in all, outside contract talk, training camp has been remarkably uneventful. We’ve had zero roster surprises, no roster moves, and no injuries save for Methot. The Ottawa Senators will suit up in a couple of days with a roster very similar to last year’s, absent Jason Spezza and with David Legwand and Alex Chiasson added. Can this roster be better than last year? It’s going to need players to step up along with a coaching staff that allots ice time more appropriately.
Jeff Ulmer offers us his thoughts on player entering their first year with Bingo and my opinion on a couple of issues: the answer to Brad Mills, Brandon Wong, and Guillaume Lepine is “no” to making the team; the same doesn’t apply to PTO Ty Wishart–the former first-round pick (2006) is an adequate AHL blueliner and would round out the Binghamton blueline (up to seven players given that Troy Rutkowski doesn’t count).
Speaking of the B-Sens, the roster has become largely set with all the cuts from Ottawa now complete. A brief look at that roster:
Goaltending: Andrew Hammond/Chris Driedger (organisation favourite Scott Greenham will go to Evansville)
Defense: Aaron Johnson, Alex Grant, Fredrik Claesson, Chris Wideman, Patrick Mullen, Ty Wishart, and Michael Sdao (Rutkowski to Evansville)
Forwards: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Matt Puempel, Shane Prince, Carter Camper, Ryan Dzingel, Derek Grant, Buddy Robinson, Cole Schneider, Garrett Thompson, David Dziurzynski, Max McCormick, Darren Kramer, and Alex Guptill (Jakub Culek and Danny Hobbs to Evansville)
An update on the fate of some former Binghamton Senators: Wacey Hamilton and Ben Blood are both on tryouts with the Utica Comets [the latter has been released], while Nathan Lawson is playing in Austria. [Corey Cowick is on a tryout with Springfield.]
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)