If you are like me, you are no doubt wringing your hands in anticipation of the NHL and NHLPA getting their collective crap together, wondering if it will happen before it is too late. We all want our favorite team to be playing our favorite game. But, like it or not, this lockout could provide a silver lining as the Senators will be in a battle for a playoff spot when and if a shortened season commences.
Here are the 2 biggest reasons why:
1) Prospect Development
All teams have a bit of an advantage n this area, with many of their top prospects playing out the lockout in the AHL. However, most teams do not have the expectation to have two European rookies step in and contribute on the top two forward lines right away. Mika Zibanejad and Jacob Silfverberg have a combined 11 games of North American pro experience and although they would likely make the Senators out of training camp, there would be a learning curve that in the short term that would potentially hurt the Senators’ playoff chances. A 20 or 25 game stint (or however long they get) in Bingo, learning the North American game would be just what the doctor ordered. It did wonders for Erik Karlsson in his rookie season, and I would expect Silfverberg and Zibanejad to reap the same benefits and hit the ground running and ready to really contribute when the NHL season begins.
2) Alfie’s Legs
As the captain is getting up in years, a shorter season could keep him fresher for the playoff push. Whether it ends up being a 60 or 50 game season, taking some of the load off his shoulders should be a recipe for a solid season for the captain. The youth that surrounds him will also help, but playing a shorter regular season will benefit his older legs near the end of the season.
Noboby wants to see the lockout go any longer than it needs to, but there is a couple of silver linings in that dark, dark cloud the currenly hangs over the NHL season.