Today at SenShot, we start our four-part series on the NHL’s season preview, specifically on our own Ottawa Senators. This is how the schedule works out to be:
Today: Ottawa Senators Preview, Offense
Tomorrow: Ottawa Senators Preview, Defense + Goaltending
Wednesday: Ottawa Senators Predictions
Thursday: NHL Predictions
Here we go, the first part!
Let’s start with the all-important first line. Coach Cory Clouston is going back to the first line he started last season with, the same line who had success in the early part of the year. Jason Spezza has a whirlwind of an off-season, being rumoured to a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets and etc. He’ll be motivated to prove his doubters wrong, and what we’ve seen in the pre-season, he should be able to. Daniel Alfredsson is just, Daniel Alfredsson. He’ll be capable of 70 points again, and his leadership on an off the ice will be instrumental to this contending team. The key factor on this line will be Milan “Milky” Michalek. Milan started out last season with a bang, and looked like a new person aside Spezza. However, injuries and fatigue got to him, with a slow end to the season. If he can break fast on the ice and mesh once again on the team and under Clouston’s run-and-gun system, we have a game.
Originally Peter Regin’s spot, Nick Foligno stole it after a sensational pre-season. He scored 4 goals in 4 games, and looked great alongside Mike Fisher. Furby admitted last season was not a good one for him, but if he can keep up the pace in the last quarter of the 08-09 season, he should have a record year. He’ll be depended on, which is a good thing. Mike Fisher led the team in goals last season, something no one predicted. His on-ice chemistry with Alex Kovalev is insourmountable, and should lead him to a good season. Now, I just hope Carrie won’t distract him. And then there’s the enigma known as Kovalev. He’s bound to have a bounce-back season, epseicially on a contract year. Look for 60+ points, and to keep Sens fans and fantasy league owners happy.
The third line sees Peter Regin playing aside rook Zack Smith and junior Jesse Winchester. The three played great against the New York Rangers last Saturday, and the three have some things going on. Peter Regin will have to have a good season, and this time with consistency. Let’s hope for playoff form. Zack Smith had an amazing Training Camp, finally making the team after 2 straight last-minute cuts. His style of play is gritty, to the front of the net, and defending his team-mates. I’ll see a role for him to defend Regin here, and for him an Winchie to create a good 1-2 punch on the forecheck. Jesse Winchester also had a good camp, and his play is something needed on the team. What he’ll bring to this line is great boards play, and nice dishes to the scorers. Expect a career year for him in points.
The last line stays the same from the last go around as well, the famous one of Ruutu-Kelly-Neil. There’s nothing to dislike about this combo. Jarkko Ruutu play s an abrasive style you have to love on your team, and his goals in timely situations are laways helpful. A bit more discipline would be great, but overall expect another increase in points for the Finn. Chris Kelly looks to shed his “Hands of Stone” nickname, and althoug he doesn’t score often, he is a great beneficiary to the team. What he brings is a great two-way play, and good pressure on the Penalty Kill. Chris Neil had a great season last year, and looks to continue that here. His role on the team is important, and you can see a leader role grooming in Chris. Although he should stay the same in stats, PM’s should rise for the good.
There it is, the first part here. Feel free to comment down, and voice what you think about the Sens’ offense in this upcoming NHL season.
Topics: Alex Kovalev, Chris Neil, Daniel Alfredsson, Dave Cameron, Jarkko Ruutu, Jason Spezza, Jesse Winchester, Mika Zibanejad, Milan Michalek, Nick Foligno, Offense, Ottawa Senators Preview 2010-2011, Peter Regin, Zack Smith