Call it what you will, “rookie line”, “calder line” or any other number of names that have been thrown about, but the Ottawa Senators need to split up the newly formed line of Mika Zibanejad, Jakob Silfverberg and Cory Conacher.
And yes, I have watched the last two games, and I am well aware of the fact that the trio has been about the only thing going well for Ottawa lately. But, for the sake of the Ottawa, they need to be split up.
Face the facts: Kyle Turris is not capable of being a #1 centre in this league, at least at the moment. Maybe, if he gets a little more body strength he can develop into one, but not now. His best success so far this season has come when he does not get the full attention of the opposing coach. That occurs when he is not playing alongside Daniel Alfredsson, who is on the top line just by virture of him being Daniel Alfredsson, regardless of who he plays with. As long as there is no Jason Spezza out there, Alfredsson is the most dangerous player on the ice, and as such will get the best level of opposition.
Granted, Mika Zibanejad is not yet a #1 centre either, but he is close enough to Turris’ level, and is probably stronger physically at 19 than Turris is at 23. So you put Zibanejad with Alfredsson, sacrificing very little on the top line (if at all), while bolstering the second line just on the basis that Turris puts up numbers while in a secondary role.
How you fill out the rest of the wings is an either/or thing. Personally, I have wanted to see a line of Alfredsson, Zibanejad and Silfverberg for some time, as I think the all-Swedish “Ikea Line” could be dominant.
That would leave Conacher with Turris and, most likely for now, Guillaume Latendresse. They could be a successful unit based on the fact that Conacher and Turris can do the skating and Latendresse can be the big body at the net.
The Senators are struggling for offense, and this is the best solution I could come up with to generate some, at least short of rolling Erik Karlsson and Jason Spezza onto the ice in full body casts.