The Ottawa Senators have some holes to fill as they head into free agency. Whether or not they resign some combination of Ales Hemsky and/or Milan Michalek, there is still one ingredient that is absent from the Senators. It is one thing that the Ottawa Senators have never really had in their history.
That is, a forward who can put up 20 goals, 40-50 points and 100 penalty minutes. Also a player who is toeing the line between right and wrong. Those types of players that make opponents think twice when they go into a corner with them because you aren’t sure if you are going to get hit cleat or get a stick in the ribs (or worse).
Ottawa has had its share of enforcers, from Mike Peluso to Dennis Vial to Andre Roy to Brian McGrattan to Matt Carkner to Matt Kassian. They have also had Chris Neil, who would never back away from a fight but like the others, has never really been a consistent threat to score.
The guy I have in mind that would be a fit for the Senators could play on either a second or third line, has enough talent to score 20-25 goals (he has done it once) and is just a little bit psycho (for lack of a more PC term).
He is skilled enough to have been a member of 2 gold medal winning Canadian World Junior teams, and captain of one. He is tough enough to fight his own battles and instigate instead of retaliate.
He is also a pending free agent from a team that is up against the salary cap and will not break the bank money-wise.
This guy is Steve Downie, currently a Philadelphia Flyer but will be an unrestricted Free Agent in July.
Only 4 players have had seasons of 20 goals, 40 points and 150 PIMs since the 2004-05 lockout. Downie is one of them, and the most recent one. The others are David Backes, Alex Burrows, Scott Hartnell and Brenden Morrow.
Steve Downie might not be big enough to be classified as a power forward, but given the right situation I think he could excel. And that situation might just be the with Ottawa Senators. He could just be the missing link for a club who lacks that player with cross-over ability and a combination of grit and skill that they have never really had on their roster.