It was a tough season for the highest paid Ottawa Senators player, Milan Michalek. A second straight season of dwindling numbers with few highlights and a brutal +/- rating made it a nightmare for the Senators and their fans.
Michalek didn’t seem to get into gear this season and although he didn’t miss any games, he still put up marginal numbers. The play of the Kyle Turris line took some of the first unit power play opportunities away from Michalek, but that can’t be an excuse for declining production.
- Played all 82 games for the first time in his career, showing that he had regained health from the knee problems that have plagued him in previous seasons.
- Failed to reach 20 goals and 40 points.
- Finished with a -25 rating, second worst on the team (Jason Spezza -26)
Michalek finished the final year of his contract and will be a UFA if an extension cannot be reached in July.
Senators GM Bryan Murray stated this week that Michalek is the only UFA he is interested in bringing back. That seems a bit strange given his 2 straight down seasons and his hefty payday. Murray must think that he can get him on the cheap because his offensive numbers are down. Without Jason Spezza as his centre, Michalek might become little more than an effective penalty killer. He made $6M last year (cap hit of $4.33M) and that seems very pricey for what he has given the past two seasons. Why Murray would just let Ales Hemsky walk without much discussion and focus on bringing Michalek back is mind-boggling.
GRADE: D : Michalek was expected to put up 30G & 60 points. He didn’t even come close and his usual attention to his own end as the defensive conscience of the line wasn’t there either. Of all the pending UFA’s he would be down the list. The Senators only have so many offensive threats and Michalek was shooting blanks.