With the emergence of Nick Foligno as a legitimate scoring threat, Bryan Murray's job might have just gotten a lot easier over the summer.
If Murray can get Mike Comrie and Ryan Shannon under contract for a reasonable amount, the Senators clearly already have a proper second line that can score goals.
And that equates to money that can be spent elsewhere, such as a real power-play quarterback (Jay Bouwmeester anyone?).
One of the bonuses to Foligno's breakout season is that the young winger has also started to use his size when going to the net. At 6 feet and 192 pounds, Foligno isn't exactly a power-forward but he has the potential to be a good compliment to Mike Fisher – a guy who can score and run you over at the same time.
Murray has already mentioned that he wants more size in his forward ranks. Even though he will probably be unavailable, a player like Erik Cole would be the perfect fit for Ottawa. Given that there aren't too many players like that out there (no one wants to take on Dustin Penner's contract), Ottawa may have to look to a player like Foligno to grow into that role.
Under the salary cap, it's always cheaper and better to have a draft pick fill a vital need than to go out and shop for a player on the free market to do the same thing.
Strictly in that sense, Foligno might be the Senators most valuable player right now. He's signed for next year at only $ 785 000.
That's the right player at the right price if I've ever heard of one.
You know that scoring is still a problem in the NHL when it looks like there will only be one 50 goal scorer this year.
Given Alex Ovechkin's talent and drive to do anything to score, it looks rather bad on the league when all he can muster is 53 goals so far.
If Ovie has trouble reaching the 60 goal mark, nobody else has a chance in hell to put up huge offensive numbers.
The problem is that the goalie equipment is still too large and the NHL is moving at a snail's pace to reduce it thanks to the huge influence of the goaltending fraternity who have had the league by the balls since the mid-90's.
Because the coaching is so good now, the game will never return to the stage where players will challenge Wayne Gretzky's or Brett Hull's goal scoring totals in a single season, but the NHL should have at least five 50 goal scorers per year and one or two in the 60 range.
The one true way to spike viewership in non-traditional hockey markets, and thus increase revenue, is to crank up the offense. The NHLPA should overrule the petty concerns of their minority goaltending group and force the issue because the player's salaries are tied to overall league revenues under the CBA. It's in the players best interests to increase scoring and the only way to do that is bring back the skinny pads of the 70's and 80's.
The notion that shrinking the size of protection endangers the safety of the goalie is laughable. The materials used in modern equipment can probably stop bullets, let alone pucks. The bulk is only there to block the net, not protect the player.