With 32 games left in the regular season and owners of the fourth worst record in the NHL, you can forgive fans for partaking in some scoreboard gazing and for hoping that those teams that are close to the Senators in the standings will win.
For the first time in years, fans are no longer curious about finding a steal of a pick in the middle of the first round. Instead, they're clamouring for a can't-miss prospect that can have some immediate dividends and be counted on to play next season. Of course it has not helped matters that the whole Jeff Skinner's only 18 years old love-fest has played itself out the course of the All-Star weekend. (Note: How mundane was it to listen to people remark at how young Skinner looks? It's the Phil Kessel corollary: You just need to put him anywhere in the vicinity of one of the oldest looking 23-year olds.)
Fortunately, Ottawa's in an enviable position. Assuming that the standings remain relatively static, the odds of the Senators securing a lottery pick are pretty good. When you take into account reports that teams like the Devils, Islanders and Oilers favour defenceman Adam Larsson, the opportunity for the Senators to select a forward who fills a need should be there. And now that it's become clear that the organization will be a seller at the NHL Trade Deadline, with the names that are being kicked around rumour mill, the organization should be able to line the system with more picks and prospects.
Or better yet, these same assets could be packaged with Ottawa's 1st rounder so that the organization can move up in the draft and select the player that they covet. Because in retrospect, hoping that a guy like Skinner would slide to you is the sort of thing that could have been avoided last year had they not flipped their two second round picks for rentals like Matt Cullen and Andy Sutton.
This is me aggregating all of the information that I can find via Twitter and via a Google News search:
- One email from Nolookdroppass, Check it -- not only are we number 30 (on TSN's Power Rankings), but Leclaire isn't even listed as a key injury...amazing!
- Reported everywhere: Colin Greening and Robin Lehner have been recalled from Binghamton. Both are expected to be in the lineup tomorrow night against the Devils. @ScottMacArthur believes that Jarkko Ruutu will sit out with a lower body injury. According to Don Brennan, Greening's expected to play on a line with Jesse Winchester and Peter Regin.
- Bobby Butler was named as the AHL All-Star Game MVP after he scored a goal and had three assists.
- In response to David Martin's failed attempt at humour in the Ottawa Citizen, @TaoofStieb tweets That's the worst article that I almost read. The entire city of Ottawa is dumber for it having been published.
- On the morning of January 7th, I tweeted If Chiarelli offered Murray Toronto's 1st + Marc Savard for Fisher, Phillips, Wiercioch and a 2nd. Who'd say no first? The tweet provoked some responses which eventually led to me tweeting that Boston's a team I see making a play for Phillips. Re-unite him with Z. The idea of Boston being a fit for Phillips was echoed by Bruce Garrioch and now it's getting some rung on NESN. If in the event that a Boston trade actually comes to fruition, I will retire from the rumour business with a better success rate than Eklund.
- Over at Senators Extra, James Gordon mentions that statistically speakin, Erik Karlsson had a quiet All-Star Game performance. Is this surprising? Even in an All-Star Game format, they have problems with point production. It has just been that kind of season.
- And while you're over at Senators Extra, why not take the time to read this article that I penned in October. You know, before the season was ever in doubt.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning have revealed some new logos and jerseys today that will be implemented next season. According to the Lightning Strikes blog, it sounds as if GM Steve Yzerman had a lot of input into the details or at least into the idea of trying to create a classic look that will endure for a long time. Yzerman pushed for a jersey re-design? Maybe he should have received stronger consideration for the gig here. Anyways, I've included the Tampa designs below. Check them out: