With the 2011-2012 NHL season quickly approaching, the minds behind a few of the best Ottawa Senators Blogs on the interweb have gotten together to answer the five major questions going into this season.
Last week, we took a look at the future of Daniel Alfredsson and if it was time for him to be moved. This week, we take a look at the future of a few current Sens and if their time in a Sens jersey should come to an end for the betterment of the team going forward. So without further ado, here is question number two of our Sens blog round table.
With the rebuild still in process, it’s to be expected that more bodies will be shipped out of town. Who will (or should) be traded first: Milan Michalek, Peter Regin or Nick Foligno?
Here are the thoughts from the best Sens blogs on the net:
Here's Stephen from SensTown and you can follow him on Twitter here.
To me this one is a no brainer, it's Nick Foligno. You have to look at the potential each player has and where they will top out at. MilanMichalek has proved that when healthy, he's one of the fastest players in the league and can pot 20-30 goals and is very valuable on the PK as well. Plus you can't discount that he was the valuable piece we got from the Heatley deal and trading him so quickly would make it look like they're admitting it was a failure.
Peter Jensen, I mean Regin is a bit of a head scratcher. I'm still not quite sure what happened last year. How did a guy with such potential put out so little? It looked like he was going to be a breakthrough player for us and it just never happened for some reason. Still at his age and with his super cheap contract, I'm definitely not ready to give up on him yet. I still think he can be a top 6 guy, perhaps he just caved under the weight of expectations last year. I look for a much more productive season from the Dane.
And on to Nicky boy. I feel bad for wanting to ship him out of town, but it's the reality of the NHL. To me he doesn't have a role on the team or even in the league really. I'd much rather have his brother Marcus, who will be tearing us up for years to come as a member of the Sabres. Nick doesn't really do anything well and he's endearing because he clearly tries so hard, but he's clumsy, very slow and not particularly good at any role. He's not talented enough to play top 6, but he isn't a fast enough skater or rough enough to really make an impact in the bottom 6 either, which makes him expendable to me. Hopefully we're able to unload him before the rest of the league realizes he shouldn't even be a full time NHLer probably.
It's too bad because he seems like a great guy and he definitely works very hard, he just doesn't have it.
I don't think any of these players "should" be traded at all. But if a deal comes along that contributes to the rebuild more than the player in question would, then we make that trade. It depends on which one is sought after, and what we're offered in return.
Well, if one of the three have to go in the name of the rebuild, Milan Michalek would probably net the highest return out of those three names. Mind you, like Nick Foligno, he’ll enter the season with a lot of job security. He’s a relatively productive top six forward who’s finally healthy and the organization will need his cap hit to stay above the NHL’s cap floor. Unlike the other two players, Regin’s role on this team hasn’t been set in stone and as such, he’s the likeliest of the three to be moved first. He’ll enter camp vying for the second line center role with Stephane Da Costa and possibly Mika Zibanejad. Regin has teased fans with some offensive promise but unfortunately, he just hasn’t done anything consistently enough to warrant much of a return on his own. It’s for this reason that I’ve written about how prudent it would be for the organization to afford Regin every opportunity to be the second line center and succeed. If Regin can put together a moderately successful campaign, he’s the perfect candidate to be packaged in a deal (with perhaps a Nick Foligno type player) to fetch someone with a higher ceiling.
I think there is a market, albeit a small one, for each of the three guys you have listed. All three are young and still have their best years ahead of them but are coming off sub-par seasons. Of that group though, I would have to say Regin is the most likely to be shopped.Regin will have a shot to take that second line centre role in camp this year but if he can't fill that void on a consistent basis, you have to wonder exactly where he fits in moving forward. With Zibanejad poised to assume the roster spot on line two (perhaps as early as this season), Regin seems to be the most expendable. With that said, I expect Regin to be one of the guys that has a big bounce back year. He never really seemed to see eye to eye with Clouston and a fresh start under Paul MacLean could be exactly what he needs.
I think Regin and Michalek are safe for now but Foligno is an interesting case because this will be his fourth full season (he split his first season between Ottawa and Bingo) and, according to the cliché, it should be his breakout year. If he doesn’t produce early on, he could be in trouble. You get the sense that the organization expected him to challenge for a top-six spot but he’s already been surpassed by a guy like Bobby Butler and they also brought in Nikita Filatov for that same reason. The first thing they should tell Foligno is to stop trying to stickhandle over the other team’s blueline every shift. He’s a giveaway machine when he does that. That stick should be on “auto-dump” so he can use that rangy physique to cruise the front of the net like a shark looking for garbage goals. Instead of trying to play like Spezza, he should look to a guy like Brad Marchand in Boston. Get meaner, go to the net and show up big in the playoffs if you get the chance. Foligno has great character but he needs to find a proper role under the new coach if he’s going to stick around for the long haul.
I think this year will most certainly see one of these players shipped out for either a young prospect with potential or for draft picks to help with the rebuild. Out of the three players, Milan Michalek is a name that is recognizable around the league and would garner the biggest return. Now entering his seventh NHL season, Michalek has yet to break through and dominant on the ice. With all the tools to be a speedy, power forward in the league, Michalek just hasn't been able to put it all together, especially here in Ottawa..
What Ottawa needs in this rebuild is some more high draft selections to be able to stock the prospect cupboards. With Michalek's reputation around the league and the package that he has, Michalek could easily nab a first round draft pick from a team in need. Just like the Mike Fisher deal last season, Michalek is a good player, but just not on a rebuilding team.
Michalek has never fit in on a line with Jason Spezza. Expect for the first 20 games in a Sens uniform, Michalek has never been able to perform consistently. I think if the Sens get off to a good start, and if Michalek is rolling, I say sell as high as you can on him and get the biggest return possible.
As for Peter Regin and Nick Foligno, I think the organization has more options with these two. Regin could also be used as a winger if he can't cut it as a centerman this season. And Foligno could be used as a centerman and is still a good bottom six winger. These two are also easier to control as they won't command high salaries next off-season.
Tune in next Wednesday for Question Number Three where we discuss the Sens hoisting this year's All-Star festivities.