The Ottawa Senators claimed a huge win over the Montreal Canadiens, and it’s clear that the team’s youth movement needs to have more chances
The 3-2 victory over the Canadiens was just the second win of the season for the Ottawa Senators, in a season where the team isn’t expected to win but should at the very least make it count in terms of youth development.
The Sens’ 2-8-1 record to start the year is a disappointment, but what has arguably been more disappointing is the performance from a number of the team’s veterans and D.J. Smith’s insistence on keeping the youngsters further down the line-up.
Which made the victory over the Canadiens that much more enjoyable, with the young guns being given more opportunities to demonstrate what they are capable of and have a chance at staking a claim on more minutes moving forward.
In the win, the Senators were largely led by their young contingent; with Tim Stützle scoring a goal and have two assists on the night, defenceman Erik Brannstrom scoring in his season debut and even Drake Batherson contributing an assist.
A look at the Senators’ points leaders after this game, and it is unsurprising yet again that their top five offensive producers are aged 24 of under, with star defenceman Thomas Chabot being both the oldest of the bunch and being the overall points leader.
The likes of Stützle and Brady Tkachuk are the clear future of the team moving forward and, despite the recent rumours that Smith isn’t a fan of Brannstrom, the young Swedish defenceman is clearly a player that should have a big future with the team.
So why not start handing the reins over to those young players that are clearly eager to impress and will benefit hugely from playing regular minutes in the NHL, especially if they begin to take away minutes from veterans that are clearly only short-term options.
At this stage of the rebuild, the Ottawa Senators would benefit far more from allowing their top prospects to gain experience and season in the NHL, especially those that have already impressed in the AHL and need to start taking the next step.
The overall standings this season should not have much impact on the Senators, other than giving them a chance to land yet another top tier prospect to add to their impressively deep group.
Players such as Jacob Bernard-Docker, Lassi Thomson and Shane Pinto will start to transition over to the NHL over the next year or two, so why not allow them to join a group of players that are young but have already played meaningful minutes in the league.
Veterans have their place on any team, but when the players younger and less experienced than them are already showing they can be bigger contributors, it would be the most logical decision to start letting them take on a bigger role and grow into it.