Originally written on The 6th Sens  |  Last updated 11/20/14



When your favorite hockey team is not in a position to be contending for a Stanley Cup, there is only one thing that organization can sell you on as a fan: hope.

Hope that your management team can be prudent with its investments - whether it be in free agency or when it comes time to renegotiate extensions with its best players. Hope that its amateur scouting staff can unearth some early round studs and late round gems at the NHL Draft. Hope that your team's GM isn't Scott Howson or Jay Feaster. Hope that your favorite team's management staff isn't pressured by ownership to do something brash and ridiculous just because it has the fiscal resources to do so. Hope like hell that your team has stockpiled enough young talent to inevitably make that ascent up the standings. 

Here in Ottawa, the Senators organization is shovelling hope down our throats faster than Theoren Fleury could throw away chips at a casino.

And really, who could possibly blame the organization for that?

 

Given the unexpected success that the unheralded team had last season -- ultimately pushing the first place Rangers to a game seven and the brink of elimination in the Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoff Quarterfinals -- expectations are only going to rise in the nation's capital.

There is an interesting dichotomy of personnel on the roster. With the steadying offensive production of veterans like Spezza, Michalek and Alfredsson combined with the emergence of a dynamic offensive defenceman in Karlsson and a second line center in Turris, the Senators' roster has a number of pieces to build around. There are a number of inexpensive, effective depth players -- think Condra, Greening, Smith, and Daugavins -- who played their first full NHL season with the club last season to augment this group and provide depth to the bottom two lines and penalty kill units.

Of course, what really has fans in Ottawa excited these days is that for the first time in years, there's a plethora of NHL-ready prospects who are not only on the cusp of cracking the roster, they actually look like they are poised to be meaningful contributors.

With the possible additions of: Mark Stone (20 years old) - the 2012 Canadian World Junior team’s leading scorer; Jakob ‘Oh ah’ Silfverberg (21 years old) – the Eliteserien MVP and Playoff MVP; and Mika Zibanejad (19 years old) – the organization’s highest selected draft pick since it took Spezza with the second overall selection in 2001 – there is this overwhelming consensus that the organization’s best days lie ahead.

Interestingly, despite a relatively strong draft record over its 20 season existence, the Senators organization has only produced four players who have gone on to post 40+ point seasons in their rookie season. (Note: Per the NHL, to be considered a rookie, a player must not have played in more than 25 NHL games in any preceding seasons, nor in six or more NHL games in each of any two preceding seasons. Any player at least 26 years of age -- by September 15th of that season -- is not considered a rookie.)

In a timeframe that spans more than a decade’s time, Colin Greening was the first Senators rookie since Martin Havlat to come close to recording a 40+ point season. In fact, if you want to take it a step further and examine the paucity of Senators forwards who have totalled 30+ points, in the team’s modern history, there have been eight – only Greening and Regin are still with the team today. And both were relatively older than the other former Senators prospects who also passed that points threshold.

In consideration of their respective ages, I'm skeptical of how much more growth and development there will be to the games of players like Greening and Condra; especially in the former's case. Thanks to the arrival of players like Silfverberg, Guillaume Latendresse, Zibanejad and Regin, Greening's ice-time could be significantly reduced. Should he lose his first line spot alongside Spezza, his production could take a significant hit. Fortunately for him however, the combination of his strength, speed, size and two-way ability should make him versatile enough to produce on one of the team's 'checking' lines. 

While outsiders may look at the Senators' roster and remark that the organization lacks some familiar names, the amount of depth that it boasts up front is impressive. Essentially the organization is returning the same lineup (with the exception of Nick Foligno) as last season but have Latendresse, Regin, and rookies like Stone, Silfverberg and Zibanejad competing for spots up front.

Although these players were never going to receive praise around league circles on a level that was par for a major free agent acquisition, they are inexpensive and one hopes that they should be able to make some modest offensive contributions; even if franchise history suggests how difficult it will be for rookies of any age to have an impact in their first season.

Player

   Season   

  Age  

   GP   

    G    

    A    

  PTS  

  +/-  

Alexei Yashin

1993-94

20

83 30 49 79  -49

Daniel Alfredsson

1995-96

23

82 26 35 61 -18

Alexandre Daigle

1993-94

18

84 20 31 51 -45

Martin Havlat

2000-01

19

73 19 23 42 8

Andrej Meszaros

2005-06

20

82 10 29 39 34

Colin Greening

2011-12

25

82 17 20 37 -4

Peter Regin

2009-10

23

75 14 17 31 10

Andreas Dackell

1996-97

24

79 12 19 31 -6

Marian Hossa

1998-99

20

60 15 15 30 18

Wade Redden

1996-97

19

82 6 24 30 1

Patrick Eaves

2005-06

21

58 20 9 29 7

Erik Karlsson

2009-10

19

60 5 21 26 -5

Bruce Gardiner

1996-97

24

67 11 10 21 4

Jason Spezza

2002-03

19

33 7 14 21 -3

Sami Salo

1998-99

24

61 7 12 19 20

Chris Neil

2001-02

22

72 10 7 17 5

Chris Phillips

1997-98

19

72 5 11 16 2

Anton Volchenkov

2002-03

20

57 3 13 16 -4

Steve Larouche

1994-95

23

18 8 7 15 -5

Antti Tormanen

1995-96

25

50 7 8 15 -15

Trent McCleary

1995-96

23

75 4 10 14 -15

Antoine Vermette

2003-04

21

57 7 7 14 5

Brandon Bochenski

2005-06

23

20 6 7 13 7

Colin Greening

2010-11

24

24 6 7 13 2

Radek Bonk

1994-95

19

42 3 8 11 -5

Erik Condra

2010-11

24

26 6 5 11 -1

Christoph Schubert

2005-06

23

56 4 6 10 4

Mike Fisher

1999-00

19

32 4 5 9 -6

Nick Foligno

2007-08

20

45 6 3 9 0

Petr Schastlivy

1999-00

20

13 2 5 7 4

Jason Zent

1996-97

25

22 3 3 6 5

Dmitri Filimonov

1993-94

22

30 1 4 5 -10

Shane Hnidy

2000-01

25

52 3 2 5 8

Brian McGrattan

2005-06

24

60 2 3 5 0

Cody Bass

2007-08

21

21 2 2 4 -1

Derek Mayer

1993-94

26

17 2 2 4 -16

Stan Neckar

1994-95

19

48 1 3 4 -20

David Rundblad

2011-12

21

24 1 3 4 -11

Pavol Demitra

1993-94

19

12 1 1 2 -7

Toni Dahlman

2001-02

22

10 0 1 1 -1

Josh Hennessy

2006-07

21

10 1 0 1 0

John Emmons

1999-00

25

10 0 0 0 -2

Filip Novak

2005-06

23

11 0 0 0 -2

Andy Schneider

1993-94

21

10 0 0 0 -6
Other News of Pithy Importance

- According to Sylvain St-Laurent, Peter Regin broke a certain Swedish defenceman's replica Norris Trophy. I feel conflicted. On one hand, I feel bad for Karlsson. On the other, I'm just grateful that Regin hasn't broken anything (bones mostly) of his own. Still, this is really a situation where photographic evidence is called for, if only to compare to the butchering the Shawinigan Cataractes put on the Mem Cup:


 
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