This offseason was the most shocking, baffling summer in the history of The Ottawa Senators organization. The most eventful news of acquiring Bobby Ryan via trade came shortly after finding out that the face of the franchise Daniel Alfredsson, would be leaving his beloved Senators behind from what turned out to be a negotiation gone sour. The highs and lows however, did not stop their; the Alfredsson situation left Sens fans with many question marks and when he spilled the beans on live television, Senators owner, Eugene Melnyk’s financial crisis was exposed. With all of that behind us as Sens fans we move forward in hopes that the team we’re left with can match some of the promising teams that The Senators once were. For this one however, I want everyone to take a step backwards and really look at how this situation played out.
This was obviously a blockbuster trade and thus has already been analyzed extensively and will be examined many times in the near future and beyond. Looking at the trade at a glance it seems, at least currently like both sides could potentially benefit from the trade; Ottawa fills an immediate void getting a proven talent in Bobby Ryan who brings a finishing quality that had been lacking in the Nation’s Capitol since the Dany Heatley days. Anaheim finally parts ways with Ryan’s contract, allowing them to spread that money to improve other areas and brings a younger ”replacement” roster player in Jakob Silfverberg, a prospect that they originally wanted to draft in Stefan Noesen and also a first round pick in the 2014 NHL draft.
Was this choice A for The Senators back in July? Or was this move a reactive decision derived from a fan base that was on the verge of near explosion after hearing that management failed to sign the longest-serving captain in the league, Alfresson? I recall hearing Bryan Murray addressing the media after the events unfolded on this day and to me it certainly seems as though plan A may have been: Sign Alfe, and free agent David Clarkson, plan B sign Alfe and free agent Clarke MacArthur. From my perspective of course being on the outside, there was no expectation that Alfe would leave The Senators and therefore their was really no plan C. When Alfe chose to sign elsewhere Murray was forced to make a rash decision and completed the Ryan deal that seemed to have been lingering on the table for sometime.
Certainly from an Anaheim perspective most of the benefits of this trade will come in time but, was Silfverberg the player that they originally targeted? Many suggest that The Ducks may have asked for 1 of Silfverberg or Mika Zibanejad and that it was Senators GM, Bryan Murray who elected to trade the 23 year old winger Silfverberg and keep the younger Zibanejad.
Looking at the current Ottawa Senators roster, to everyone’s surprise including ESPN, Mika Zibanejad did not make the cut out of training camp and therefore was sent down to Binghamton to work on his compete level. Jacob Silfverberg on the other hand, is playing in a top 6 role with The Ducks and through his first game has already scored a goal. Would The Senators not have benefited more from keeping Silfverberg and instead trading Zibanejad?
Lets take a look at how The Senators current line combinations would look if they had chosen to trade Zibanejad rather than Silfverberg.
At least in the now I think we could all agree that this would be a better scenario and a very strong top 6. The obvious argument is that Zibanejads future is brighter than Silfverbergs and he will be a more valuable asset as a center for The Senators, creating strength down the middle. Absolute valid point however, here is the big question? When is the Senators best chance to win the cup? My argument is that it seems unrealistic for The Senators to keep both Ryan and Spezza long-term given the teams financial situation; Both have contracts that will expire 2 years from now in 2015 and both could easily receive 6-7 million dollars in the open market. With that in mind, if The Senators will not be able to keep both of their most dynamic offensive players then can we all agree that the time is now (13/14-14/15)?