My Ottawa Senators Opening Night Lineup Would Be….[Jared]


Now that training camp is up and running, there are a lot of people putting out what they think the Ottawa Senators lineup will look like.  Well, here is what I would like to see once the Senators break camp and finalize their 23-man roster.


This is a team with not a lot of legitimate top-6 forwards, but a lot of maybes.  There are a lot of guys who are top 9 forwards, and finding the right fit among them will be the challenge facing Paul MacLean.

For the first line, I would keep the trio of

Clarke MacArthurKyle TurrisBobby Ryan

together.  While Mark Stone has had some chemistry with the Turris/MacArthur duo, for a variety of reasons the club owes Ryan the opportunity to be the man and that duo gives him the best chance.

For the second line, I like the unit that seems to have been put together so far in camp;

Alex ChiassonMika ZibanejadMilan Michalek

Michalek is the veteran who played well and had more jump at the end of the season.  Whether that jump came because of the arrival of Ales Hemsky or it was because he was finally feeling healthier will determine how long he stays in the top 6.  Zibanejad keeps getting better and Chiasson can get to the dirty areas.

The third line would have a veteran presence in the middle flanked by a pair of youngsters;

Curtis Lazar – David Legwand – Mark Stone

I like Lazar a lot, as do many people, so I am not breaking any news there.  Playing him on a 4th line doesn’t do much for his development and he is ready to be a key piece of the puzzle now.  Stone is a better skater than he was 2 years ago, and he is also ready to contribute now.  This line could be considered a 2A on any given night, and on some they could be the club’s top line.

The fourth line in my eyes would be a unit that was fairly effective as the “3rd line” last season;

Colin GreeningZack SmithChris Neil

This line, along with the third line above, should be able to create a lot of energy. At $6.5M, it might be one of the most expensive third lines in the league, kind of a dichotomy considering the budget the Senators operate under.  Greening is overpaid and if the Senators could move that contract they probably should, but it is what it is and he fits an energy role.

As the 13th forward, I would keep Erik Condra.  If Condra is needed he can move into the fourth line with others moving up in case of injury.

This would mean exposing Mike Hoffman to waivers and sending him to Binghamton.  It is a risk, but one that must be taken because at the end of training camp there will be a lot of names available and Hoffman might get lost in the shuffle.  Teams are often hesitant to put prospects on waivers, but the percentage that actually get claimed is very low.


The first unit, and the duo that should play close to half of every game, is pretty obvious;

Erik KarlssonMarc Methot

Karlsson, if healthier and more comfortable than last season, is a definite Norris and maybe even Hart candidate, and Methot can be his conscience.

The second pair could be the key to whether or not the Senators can compete for a playoff spot;

Jared CowenCody Ceci

Cowen, like many of the blueliners on the Senators, had a dreadful season last year.  His ability to bounce back given a full off-season of training instead of rehab and be a true top 4 defenseman capable of carrying a partner defensively will be a pivot point for the club.  Ceci is a puck mover that has made great strides defensively and if the last year is any indication, he is on a steep learning curve and that can only lead to good things.

The third pair would have a veteran mainstay along with a revolving door of partners that would change depending on the team they are playing and the way they are playing;

Chris PhillipsPatrick Wiercioch/Eric Gryba/Mark Borowiecki

Ideally Wiercioch steps up and seizes an opportunity, that way each pair would have a solid defensive defenseman and a quality puck mover.  I still am not sure quite why Wiercioch has been in the Paul MacLean doghouse so often, but he needs to turn that around now.

While I think carrying 8 defensemen might be a mistake, because 2 would have to sit out every night and it would stunt the development of the younger players.  However, the likelihood of Borowiecki getting picked off waivers would be higher than Hoffman, so that is the situation they are in now. Maybe a trade could be worked out, but those kinds of deals are tough to pull off at this time of year.

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Obviously the net is an area without much room for movement.  However, instead of naming a number 1 goalie, I would consider a more even split in games until one or the other of Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner seizes the job.  Run with the hot hand as long as you can and don’t feel the need to label either as “#1” or “#2”.

Tune in later on as more of SenShot’s writers post their opinions on what the lineup should look like.