With so many players in and out of the lineup, it is tough to imagine what the team will look like when all players are healthy and available for action. Here is how the lineup looked last night:
Scratches – Mike Hoffman, Jim O’Brien
Scratch – Andre Benoit
So as the Senators (hopefully) get some healthy bodies back over the next three weeks leading into the playoffs, here is how I would envision the lineup looking heading in to the playoffs:
Conacher – Turris – Alfredsson
Greening – Zibanejad – Latendresse
Condra – Smith – Neil
Spares: O’Brien, Kassian, Regin
Basically they have 7 guys who should be capable of playing in the top 6. This allows some flexibility for Paul MacLean, to mix it up even during games depending on who is going well on any given night. I don’t anticipate the “rookie line of Conacher, Zibanejad and Silfverberg to remain intact in the playoffs. It would be tough for a trio of first year players to succeed on the same line, and I think you might see them spread over the top three lines. You will likely see the Spezza-Michalek and Turris-Alfredsson pairings stay intact, but anything after that is pretty fluid. The depth is very impressive, as all players would be capable of playing in the top 9, and a 4th line of Condra, Smith and Neil is pretty dam strong.
Methot – Gryba
Gonchar – Wiercioch
Phillips – Jared Cowen
The lineup on the blue line is pretty much what you get right now, with Lundin and Benoit being the odd men out, assuming Cowen can come back and get a few games in at the end of the regular season to get up to speed. Otherwise, Lundin and Benoit could continue to be rotated into the lineup as the 6th man. This also assumes Erik Karlsson doesn’t make a miraculous recovery from his achilles injury and will be unavailable for the playoffs. Should he be able to suit up, Gryba would come out of the rotation.
In the net, I still think Craig Anderson will be the number one heading into the playoffs, with Robin Lehner obviously backing him up. Anderson has more experience and will be rested after being out almost 6 weeks.