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

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The Defenders

Mar 28, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing David Booth (20) circles behind the net as Ottawa Senators center David Legwand (17) bears down at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Senators 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Ottawa still lacks on defence, and so does Toronto. It frustrates me to see Bryan Murray continue to pursue a top 6 forward over a defender when Ottawa’s forward group and especially the top 6 seems set. Either way, here’s a comparison of two mediocre NHL defence groups.


The Leafs have a lot of rebuilding to do if they want to compete fairly soon. Rumours continue to surround Dion Phaneuf as Toronto’s captain could be shipped out-of-town this off-season. The leafs have two promising youngsters in Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly. Rielly, who really took big steps last season could easily be a replacement for Dion Phaneuf in the future, but may need some more time to develop properly.

The leafs have control of Eric Brewer, a pending UFA and should consider resigning him. If the contract can be negotiated cheap, there’s no reason for Toronto to turn away a defender who played well for them last season, especially considering the questions on pending RFA’s Andrew MacWilliam and Tim Erixon, two guys who are serviceable but not always consistent.

The Toronto system has it’s faults. The frame is there, as Morgan Rielly will be a huge piece going forward. As it stands, however, Toronto doesn’t receive amazing marks here.




Ottawa’s defence group is obviously highlighted by Norris Candidate, Erik Karlsson. A piece like that alone will go far in helping a team succeed, but behind Karlsson there are still some obvious holes.

In a similar story to the forward group Ottawa now possesses, there is a l0g-jam that is one pairing too big.

Patrick Wiercioch displayed something towards the end of last season, and Cody Ceci should only continue to stabilize. We know Marc Methot and Erik Karlsson make up a true top-pairing, but after that, it’s mainly quantity over quality for the Senators.

Mark Borowiecki makes a good 7th defender. I have no problems with his game. Eric Gryba, on the other hand is a slow and often caught flat-footed defender who has trouble on the blueline. Jared Cowen, a former top 10 pick is the same story and Chris Phillips is now 36-years-old and coming off back surgery, so he’s a real wild card.

Ideally, I think the Wiercioch-Ceci pairing would be Ottawa’s 3rd pairing with another two top 4 pieces taking up Ottawa’s 2nd spot. Ceci and Wiercioch certainly hold the potential to be that pairing, but they aren’t there yet.



Winner: The Ottawa Senators 

Page 3: The Goaltenders

Next: Part 3: The Goaltenders

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