Senators First (Line) Question Answered


One of the biggest questions surrounding the Ottawa Senators since the July 5th acquisition of Bobby Ryan, was whether or not the Sens would load up the first line, or try to spread the offense out over a couple of lines.

Speculation abound, the answer was finally given at yesterday’s Training-camp opening team Golf Tournament.  Coach Paul MacLean confirmed that he will start out with Ryan on the wing with Jason Spezza in the middle and Milan Michalek on the other wing.

Mar. 6, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza (19) and left wing Milan Michalek (9) celebrate after scoring a goal during the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Ottawa Senators defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

While this makes for a pretty potent and talented first line, are the Senators in a position where they need to put all their eggs in one basket?  That lineup leaves Kyle Turris without a proven sniper, although Clarke MacArthur has the ability to score 20 or more.  Turris can be a good second line centre, but can’t do it on his own.

There is only one puck, and Spezza can’t dish it to both of his wingers at once, although the options will make opposing teams’ focus more spread out.

Michalek didn’t play well at all after Spezza got hurt last season, and he didn’t seem to have much chemistry with Turris, although his knee injury might have had something to do with that.

I think that you have to try the big 3 together, but if the secondary scoring fails, a split might be the way to go.  Depending on how Ryan meshes with Spezza, that should be the top combination going forward, with Michalek dropping down to help Turris produce if that is what is needed.

So with that question answered, at least in the short term, that leaves a captain to be named, a Jared Cowen contract to be signed, and a 6th forward as the three burning questions in my mind yet to have a solution.