They may have lost Zdeno Chara to free agency this summer and traded winger Martin Havlat to avoid losing him to free agency next summer, but the Senators are still one of the top three offensive teams in the NHL.
Last season’s league-leader in goals, the Sens put the puck in the net without Havlat for much of the year, so his absence will not decrease Ottawa’s offense. They still have their top power play line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, and Daniel Alfredsson Â– all of whom are more than capable of tallying 100 points in the season ahead.
Rearguard Wade Redden re-signed with the team and will again quarterback the power play. His new partner this year will be Tom Preissing, who was acquired from San Jose as part of the Havlat deal. Preissing will cover any offense lost from Chara.
If you take into account the fact Havlat played but a small role on the Senators last year due to various injuries, the team may actually have more potential offense than before. Spezza and Heatley will play on the first line, with either Patrick Eaves or Peter Schaefer patrolling the other wing. Alfredsson will lead a secondary wave of offense, with newcomer Alexei Kaigorodov getting first dibs as his pivot and either Eaves or Schaeffer as the other winger. If he makes the squad, Kaigorodov is quite capable of matching the points that Bryan Smolinski, last season’s second-line center, posted (48).
The team’s third-line center, Mike Fisher, is now healthy and will match or surpass his career-high of 44 points he set last year. In addition to the above players, the Sens also signed Joe Corvo, a late-blooming blueliner capable of posting as many as 45 points this year. He will partner up with Andrej Meszaros to form one of the better second defense pairings in the league.
The Ottawa Senators potted 314 goals last season. They need 328 to average four per game. Look for them to take a run at it this year.
Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: Atlanta’s 2005 first round pick, Alex Bourret, sustained a head injury during a recent prospects game. He has a shot at a roster spot this year, but those plans will be derailed if it is a concussionÂ…Guillarme Latendresse, a Montreal prospect, has fully recovered from his concussion in the spring and will be ready for camp. The forward lines in Montreal are pretty much spoken for, so Latendresse will return to junior come OctoberÂ…Vancouver’s Brendan Morrison played much of last season hurt. He has since undergone (and recovered from) hip surgery and should improve his numbers despite the loss of linemate Todd Bertuzzi, who was traded to Florida earlier in the summerÂ…
Farm Report: Some prospects have already caught the attention of their respective coaches and management. Dallas’ Vojtech Polak and Marty Sertich have put forth strong offensive performances in the prospects tournament and Phoenix’s draft pick from earlier this summer, Peter Mueller (eighth overall), has also made a strong impression.
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