On the surface it looks like the Ottawa Senators traded a lot of brash for a little flash on their blue line. They singed D Sergei Gonchar to a three year 16.5 million dollar deal. In the process they let shot blocking defenseman Anton Volchenkov and hard hitting menace Andy Sutton walk in free agency. General Manager Bryan Murray thinks that Gonchar’s puck handling ability is key in today’s NHL. He should remember that it took Gonchar four seasons to bring a Stanley Cup title to Pittsburgh, and at 36 the clock is ticking on his career.
The Senators Head Coach will once again be Cory Clouston who has been at the helm since taking the reign mid way through the 2008-09 season. In that time he has an overall record of 63-43-10. His hard hitting in your face approach to the game makes him very popular not only amongst his players, but with Senators fans as well. He will need to travel past the first round of the playoffs to secure his coaching future.
This team’s breakout candidate may just be Center Nick Foligno. The Senators are still waiting for him to show the potential that made him the 28th overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft. To be fair he was sidelined last year with a broken leg. He never seemed to recover from that injury and should benefit from a summer spent hitting the weights. If the Senators can find him the right line to play on his is capable of scoring 25 goals.
Key Additions- D Sergei Gonchar
Key Subtractions- C Matt Cullen, D Anton Volchenkov, RW Jeremy Yabionski, and RW Jonathan Cheechoo