Originally written on The 6th Sens  |  Last updated 11/19/14
Edmonton_oilers_v_4cf6

 

As the object of fan and media derision last summer, Filip Kuba was without a question, an easy target for ridicule. Coming off one of the worst statistical seasons in modern team history – 2 goals, 16 points, +/- of -26 – everyone was looking forward to the day that his contract expired or the day that he was traded or waived; whichever came first. (To put in perspective how unimpressive Kuba’s season was, it compared to Darren Rumble’s 1992/93 inaugural season with the Ottawa Senators – 3 goals, 16 points, +/- of -24. Yuck.)

Far too often, we overlooked the fact that he was coming off of back surgery in 2010 and had sustained a broken leg during training camp. Unable to ever really get himself in proper shape, Kuba languished when he actually got ‘healthy’ and drew back into the lineup; which eventually caused him to lose complete confidence in his game in the process.

The outcry and lack of support for Kuba was unmistakable, the vocal majority of pitchfork and torch wielding fans wanted to see him gone. They had no concerns about the Senators getting ten cents on the dollar for him (or any cents on the dollar for him for that matter), so long as the big bodied defenceman who rarely physically imposed himself on opponents was gone.

Thankfully from an asset management perspective, management did not listen to the masses. Rather than risk losing Kuba for nothing, the organization afforded the veteran defenceman the opportunity to regain his form and recoup whatever value he once had.

As the season progressed and the team maintained its competitive status, the inclination to move Erik Karlsson’s defensive partner and the team’s shorthanded ice-time leader decreased.

As we approach this offseason, there are a number of players who share Kuba’s predicament from last year and could prove useful in the right circumstances.

Bobby Butler

Having entered training camp as the heir apparent to Jason Spezza’s vacant right wing spot, Butler aggravated his groin and had too much bravado to disclose the injury to the coaching staff. Rather than take the necessary time off to recoup and get back to 100-percent, Butler tried to play through the injury and only exacerbated matters because he feared losing his spot to an emerging prospect like Mika Zibanejad, Colin Greening or Stephane Da Costa.

After he posted a Patrick Eaves-like 10 goals and 11 assists in the latter stages of the 2010/11 season, we seemed prepared to pencil him in for 15 to 25 goals by playing alongside Ottawa’s number one center, instead his injury, bad luck (a few hit posts) and some ineffectual play forced him to the press box.

So what’s the good news?

Whether it’s the result of playing alongside Spezza for many of his shifts, Butler’s relative Corsi rating wasn’t that bad. Unlike Greening and Michalek, Butler actually helped drive possession and tilted the ice in Ottawa’s favor. Despite being a winger like Heatley, who when he isn’t scoring may not be that noticeable on the ice, but there is some underlying value that could be there.

Peter Regin

For the second consecutive season in a row, Regin had his season derailed by a shoulder injury – the same shoulder that he had surgically repaired. When healthy, which wasn’t that often, Regin resembled the player who flourished for a limited time while playing alongside Spezza in the 2010 playoff series versus Pittsburgh. Most importantly, his two-way play had earned the trust of Paul MacLean.

While his future with the organization was clouded because of his impending RFA status and doubts about the health of his shoulder, Bryan Murray surprised many when he swiftly signed the Danish center to a one-way, one-year contract for a few hundred thousand less than he earned this season.

If Regin can regain his form and prove a useful piece, he not only could allow the organization to be more patient with its young prospects – ie. Silfverberg, Stone, and Zibanejad – he could also give the organization an intriguing trade chip as the 2012/13 season progresses.

Matt Carkner

Barring some new contract agreement, there’s no guarantee that Carkner will even remain with the organization. The impending unrestricted free agent will hit the open market on July 1st but I’d imagine there has to be some mutual interest from both parties to get a deal done.

While a recurring knee injury limited the pugilist to 29 games this past season, his skill set and popularity amongst teammates make him an ideal candidate to serve as the organization’s seventh defenceman who could draw in against teams like Toronto and Boston. (Assuming of course that the issues with his knee are resolved.) Considering the *********** nature of this summer’s free agent crop, he should be cheap and is a familiar commodity.

Culek and Kramer sign ELCs?

According to a report on SportsJuniors.com, the Senators have inked Jakub Culek to a three-year entry level contract.

Now I’m not particularly well versed in the accuracy of its reports, the Senators organization hasn’t publically acknowledged the signing, but if you’ll recall, Pierre Dorion did say that he was traveling to watch the QJMHL Finals to watch Culek play. As a 2010 draft pick (a third rounder, 76th overall), Culek would have become an unrestricted free agent on June 1st.

Not to be outdone, Senators prospect Matt Puempel is the latest to break Senators news...

Congrats to @DarrenKramer22 on signing with the #sens today #tuff #chlheavy

— Matt Puempel (@mpuempel) May 23, 2012

Much like Culek’s status, the Senators haven’t publically acknowledged this signing either...

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Pacquiao knocks down Algieri six times in easy win

John Calipari gets daughter's birthday wrong

Carson: Hall of Fame career not worth concussion problems

Tiger hires new swing coach

Is Sting making his WWE debut at Survivor Series?

Eric Decker: It's tough watching Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Semaje Perine breaks Melvin Gordon's rushing record

Report: Chip Kelly, Eagles GM not seeing eye-to-eye

Pete Carroll open to playing Richard Sherman at WR

Jay Gruden: RG3 has been 'coddled for so long'

Red Sox have best offer on table for Pablo Sandoval?

LeBron: Kevin Love will get the ball 'if he demands it'

WATCH: Young reporter asks Helfrich funny question

Sager makes first appearance since leukemia diagnosis

Harvard kicker wears glasses

WATCH: Tennessee fans go a little overboard celebrating TD

Dwight Howard out indefinitely after having PRP on knee

Report: Mike Gundy pursuing Florida job

WATCH: Jameis Winston gets away with shoving an official

WATCH: Georgia's Chris Conley makes diving TD catch

WATCH: Nebraska blocks field goal, returns it for TD

Florida DL shows support for Will Muschamp with eye black

WATCH: Javale McGee kisses elderly fan sitting courtside

WATCH: Tim Tebow busts out a brief Steve Spurrier impression

Senators News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Cal gets daughter's bday wrong

Carson: Career not worth concussions

Report: Gundy pursuing Florida job

Tiger hires new swing coach

WATCH: Jameis Winston shoves ref

Florida DL supports Will Muschamp with eye black

Jay Gruden: RG3 has been 'coddled'

LeBron: Love needs to 'demand' the ball

Bills-Jets game will be free admission

Pete Carroll: Lynch is 'our guy'

Which NFL team will get the #1 pick?

Game of the week: Patriots vs. Lions

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.