Comparing The State Of The Franchise: Ottawa Senators vs Toronto Maple Leafs

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The Forwards

Mar 14, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel (81) awaits the start of play against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports


The Leafs had another disappointing year which led to may of their Pending UFA pieces shipped out and for favourable returns. Toronto really dodged a bullet as compared to last season where they were forced to carry on with their pending UFA’s or deadline pieces hoping the team would continue their push to the playoffs.

So, with a few UFA forwards gone, Toronto’s depth has weakened. Here’s how it pans out currently in terms of 4 line depth:

The Leafs have some serious depth problems. Youngsters Connor Brown and William Nylander could fill-in in the Leafs’ top 6 group. The third line that will likely consist of Richard Panik (an RFA), Peter Holland and Leo Komarov is a good unit and one capable of playing a modern 3rd line role.

On the 4th line, the Leafs have control over two pending UFA’s in Zach Sill and David Booth. Booth had bright spots but might not be brought back. Former Toronto mayor, Rob Ford is a fan of Zach Sill, but he might not be brought back.

Overall, the Leafs have a solid top unit, but lack a true top center. The 3rd line exemplifies what would seem like good forward depth, but it’s not all there.

Grade: C+/B-



Now, on the flipside, the Senators are in a much different boat. There is a log-jam at forward and the Senators have a few too many contracts heading into the 15-16 year. Clearing them out should be a priority this off-season.

The Senators have 15 forwards who are capable of playing in the NHL. Colin Greening is a likely buyout, and the organization needs to decide whether they want Zack Smith or David Legwand and whether Chris Neil is a part of the team’s plans.

If I were steering the boat, I’d take Smith over Legwand as the 4th line center and would move out Chris Neil. Greening would be bought-out, leaving a solid 4 line system. Erik Condra is the odd man out as he could easily leave as a UFA. Condra played great hockey for Ottawa down the stretch, but he is replaceable.

In talking depth, Ottawa’s top 6 is pretty much set. Bobby Ryan was having a fantastic year until an end of season slump, and the Senators now find themselves with Mark Stone and Kyle Turris being a dynamic 1st line duo. Clarke MacArthur really played well in the late season and the Senators’ 3rd line was a big key to the team’s success. Jean-Gabriel Pageau is here to stay and so is Curtis Lazar. Throw in Milan Michalek (another potential trade candidate) to that line and he could once again find some magic in Ottawa’s lineup.

Ottawa clearly takes the cake here, beating out Toronto in terms of Forward depth.



Winner: The Ottawa Senators

Page 2: Defensive Depth

Next: Page 3: Defensive Depth