Since other team have started to do there team report I thought I would do the same.
I will also borrow Loobs and JiriHrdina’s format.
The 2003/2004 season started out in bang for the Senators but ended in a Whimper. The Senators stormed out of the gate with a 7-2-1 record before injuries hit the team hard. The senators fell from there and never recovered. Despite a surprising run at a post season late in the season the Senators were one of the worst teams in the league most of the year. Changes were needed and veterans were dealt away. Stars like Karyia and Zhamnov were eventually moved. Although we did have a nice array of young talent hanging around none of them were ready to fill in once the veterans of the team got injured. We had no choice but to rebuild the team from there.
At the end of last season the lineup for the Senators was as follows
Jeff Friesen – Scott Harntell – Daniel Allfredsson
Rick Nash - Michael Ryder - Ivan Novoseltsev
Pascal Rheaume – Rob Dimaio – Boyd Gordon
Ben Eaves – Peter Taticek – Brett Mclean
Nik Boynton - Jason York
Ossi Vaananen – Andy Sutton
Cory Sarich – Lyle Odelien
Players that were on the IR were as follows
Ziggy Pallfy, Marty Turco, Rostilav Klesla, Mathieu Dandenault, Nikita Alexeev.
Clearly work needed to be done.
The Off Season
The Senators went to work over the summer bringing in some star players in the form of Joe Sakic, Peter Bondra and Martin Havlat. We then added Ed Jovanovski and Todd Simpson to try and shore up the D. We then promoted Alexander Daigle who seems to have found new life and acquired Vaclav Varada. Most recently we have added Sean Bates to the team to help on the 2nd line. We also added Pasi Nurminen to be the Backup this year.
Projected New Lineup (as of August 31, 2004)
Nash (77) – Sakic (80) – Bondra (80)
Havlat (78) – Bates (77) – Alfredsson (79)
Varada (69) – Hartnell (75) –Novoseltsev (70)
svoboda (65) – Rheaume (66)– Daigle(68)
Jovanovski (81) – vannanen (73)
Boynton (73) – Simpson (68)
Odelien (65) – Klesla (72)
Evaluation of New Lineup
The number one line of Nash –Sakic –Bondra should be a potent bunch. Joe had 99 points last year and was in the top 20 while Bondra put up 79 points and scored 45 goals. Young Star Rick Nash is expected to take his game to the next level this year. While toiling on the 2nd and 3rd lines last year he managed rack up 18 goals and 45 points
The second line or even the 1a line features another young star winger in Martin Havlat. Havlat is coming off a 79 point campaign as well scoring 32 goals and 47 assists He will be Flanked by Veteran Daniel alfredsson who is also coming off a 96 point campaign. He scored 46 goals and 50 assist all this while playing for a rag tag team all last year. He is looking forward to playing along side some very talented players this year. Centering these to is Sean Bates. Bates had 72 points last year. Although he did not score more than 14 goals he did manage 58 assists. It is his playmaking qualities that we will be counting on this year He does not need to score goals. He simply needs to setup his to line mates and they can worry about the goals.
The third unit of Varada, Harntell, and Novoseltsev should be able to take care of their own end and chip in with the odd goal. Harntell managed to score 50 points last year and he will be counted on to provide some offence to this 3rd line. Varada will be counted on to play a more Defensive role this year and Novoseltsev has shown that he can score a few goals in the sim as his 28 goals last year will attest to is expected to provide some goals as well.
The 4 the line is a mismatch of what’s left over. Daigle should be able to provide some 3rd line duty if needed. He is also able to play the RW, LW and Center which will allow the Senators to move him around in an effort to provide some spark to the lineup if needed.
The other 2 will be around to provide some PK duty and play a few minutes per game.
The Sens blueline corp is lead by Ed Jovanovski . A big force on the blue line and can chip in on the offense as well. Young Ossi Vannanen and Nick Boynton continue to develop and grow stronger every year. Young Klesla is still growing and learning is position and will one day be a solid #1 or 2 D men for the Senators. Providing some leadership and muscle on the blue line are Odelien and Simpson. We still hope to tweak the D a bit more but are comfortable. going into the season with these 6.
Marty Turco will again be called upon to play the majority of the games this year. He need to prove he can be one of the top 5 In the league this year after being hurt and missing a bunch of games last year. Coming in to play 20 some odd games this year will be Pasi Nurminen. He is still developing his game and we hope that continues this year.
Keys to Success
1. Avoiding the injury bug. The Senators were hit hard with injuries last year that derailed what started out as a promising campaign.
2. Defense. The team was a bit weak on the blue line last year. Another year of development by Ossi and Boynton should help this out. Add in Jovanovski and that is a decent but not spectacular top 3
3. Scoring. The Senators should be able to score goals. This is as deep as this team has been in 3 years. If we are to make the playoffs this year it’s because we have outscored the opposition.
The Senators should be setup to make a run at the playoffs this year and Even winning a round or 2 providing we don’t have another run of injuries like we did last year. If the top 6 can all catch fire then we may even challenge for the conference
Having promoted and traded away a lot of the young talent to beef up the lineup the Sens prospect list is a bit bare and will need to be rebuilt. We do have young Jay Harrison and Christian Ehrhoff on the Blue line both are developing nicely and we hope to see them on the OHL roster some time in the next few seasons. The best of the forwards is Ben Eaves. He is still probably a few years away however. We also have 2004 1st round pick Alexander Picard in the ECHL. We will watch his development and expect to see him in the lineup along side young Stars Nash and Havlat some day soon. We also have 7 other prospects in the ECHL and its hope that we can get a decent player out of one of them at the very least.
We feel we have now done a pretty good job rebuilding the Senators into a more explosive team. We have several young stars on the team in Nash, Havlat, Harntell and Klesla that will form the core of the team over the next few seasons. We have built a pretty decent veteran group to surround them with as well. Who better than Sakic, Bondra and Alfredsson to teach the 3 young stars how to thrive in this game.
The Senators are still looking to acquire some more depth and young talent as this has always been the way we wanted to build this team. We look forward to competing for that long sought after Playoff spot that our Fans have so desperately wanted these past few seasons.