With the Ottawa Senators roster soon to be set, toying with the idea of opening night lineups and line combos is a fun one for “Armchair Gm’s” like myself. That being said, my opening night lineup would look like the following..
The 16 – 7 – 6 line that worked well last year, this year they have the opportunity to be Ottawa’s legitimate top line. Bobby Ryan compliments the group well as he strives for a 30 goal season in Ottawa before signing what is to be a monster of a deal for Ottawa.
Some have deemed this line “the 9 line” as all three players have the number 9 on their jersey. However, I’d deem this line to be “the question line”. Milan Michalek has a Top 6 scoring past, but due to injuries and a downward trend it is not sure whether he can score at a consistent pace once again. Mika Zibanejad and Alex Chiasson are young and certainly have Top 6 potential, but we are not certain if this is the year they step it up.
David Legwand has a scoring past, Zack Smith does not. Zack Smith was a part of the infamous “14-15-25” line last year and Paul MacLean has every reason to break it up. Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman are two more young question marks on the Senators roster, and look to solidify themselves as NHLers this season.
The 14-15-25 line has been broken up. Paul MacLean tried it out in pre-season and found a combo he liked. Curtis Lazar will get the 9 game look, and will debut as a Senator on opening night. David Legwand allows him the opportunity to generate something in the offensive zone, and Chris Neil provides veteran experience. At this point in his career I don’t think it is about playing the Top 6 minutes he soon will, but what’s more important is getting his feet wet in the big league.
A pairing we saw a times last season, the Senators have high hopes for Jared Cowen and his game. Ottawa knows what Karlsson provides and hopes that Jared Cowen can take a step into the right direction this season. An opening night start on a d-pairing with Erik Karlsson can only do good for his game.
Methot missed most of training camp with a nagging back injury, so we don’t know if he’ll be ready to go. Cody Ceci provides a two-way game and hopes to develop a more offensive side of his game this season. Playing alongside Erik Karlsson’s former d-partner allows him to play “Cody Ceci Hockey”
You can’t scratch Chris Phillips, you just can’t; especially on opening night. As the Franchise’s longest serving member, he means something. Patrick Wiercioch fits into the lineup in a Top 6 role and will get PP time. With the fact that Chris Phillips will find a way into all 82 games, Eric Gryba, Mark Borowiecki, and Cody Ceci will find each other switching out of the lineup on a frequent basis.