Saturday, September 29, 2007

Your 2007/2008 Ottawa Senators?

Without Rogers 22 handy, I'm afraid I haven't caught a ton of pre-season action. With that caveat up front, I've roughed out a tentative depth chart and points forecast. Consider the following as a potential mid-season status quo, after any early season experiments have been abandoned.


Scoring 1: Heatley / Spezza / Eaves

Heatley and Spezza's contract year will be something to behold indeed. I'll wager 55 goals and 50 assists for Heater. As for Spezza, if he avoids the usual injury blips, look for a nice round 100 points. Should Eaves reserve his seat on this gravy train, I think just under a point a game seems entirely reasonable - I'll lowball 80 points (think Jonathan Cheechoo after the arrival of Joe Thorton).

Scoring 2: Vermette / Fisher / Alfredsson

Fisher is bound to miss between 10 and 20 games, however, he's good for up to 60 points when off the IR. I've already succumbed to a Vermettian man-crush, so the 75 points projection has to stand, assuming he gets time on the second PP unit. On the right side, Alfie should put up around 85 points.

Checking 3: Donovan / Kelly / Neil

I'll assign between 20 to 30 points each for this line.

Energy 4: Foligno / McAmmond / McGratton

10 to 20 points each, dependant on a successful McAmmond return and whether McGratton will be limited to chipping in icy glares from the bench / press box.

Possible Call Ups / Fill-ins: Hamel / Hennessy / Bois

Hamel and Bois are likely typecast as AHL journeymen, while Hennessy needs to make the most of his replacement opportunities.


Shut Down: Phillips / Volchenkov

Points are less important than closing the door on the opposing team's offensive threats. 10 to 20 points each. They were in peak form during the first few rounds of the playoffs last season and the bar has now been set quite high.

Offense 1: Corvo / Schubert

40 to 50 points from these guys if they receive significant PP time. Corvo loves to pinch and Schubert has that long-coveted boomer from the point. I am anxious to have Schubert's position set permanently to D, as he brings some much needed size and roughness. Up front, he had a tendency to draw inopportune penalties in the offensive zone.

Offense 2: Redden / Meszaros

20 to 30 points each. This season will bring clarity to the roles of the default third defensive pairing. Did Meszaros simply suffer from the soph jinx or did Redden experience a sudden, disastrous and irreversible drop in his level of performance? Is it possible that both had a coincidentally sucky season in 06/07 or can we isolate one or the other as the boat anchor that weighed down what on paper ought to have been an enviable couple of D-men?

Scratches / Call Ups: Nycholat / Richardson

With the deep cup run and a captain entering his 11th year of play, I'm not sure "veteran leadership" is what's lacking on this team anymore. Having Richardson on deck sure beats a kick in the pants, though.


Gerber / Emery

Sens fans are lovin' the G-man's preseason swagger - the black mask, the improved positioning, and the 1.97 / 0.947 numbers despite a ragged looking defensive effort in front of him. All of this should help to keep Emery shoulder checking both on and off the road. Neither has learned to control their rebounds worth a damn, but expect to see a more even distribution of starts and wins this year. Let's go with 23 and 30 wins, respectively.

Overall: 53-23-6, 112 points, 2nd in the East behind Pittsburgh.

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