With that horrible start I was saying all along that much of blame could be laid at the feet of the twin demons inactivity and unfamiliarity.
They hadn’t played a meaningful game in close to a year when the season opened, had an almost 50% turnover in personnel, and no training camp to speak of, never mind exhibition games, to develop any cohesion. To boot, one of their biggest acquisitions – Stepan – had to leave behind in the U.S. his wife and newborn and you just know his mind was elsewhere most of the time.
Add to that Smith’s preference for playing veterans like Coburn, Paquette, Galchenyuk over the kids and it was all a recipe for disaster. Whether Smith “saw the light” or was shown the light is not known at the moment, but when the kids were allowed to play – mistakes and all – the team began to be a much tougher 2 points.
Heading into next season they can write off the Cap books the likes of Anisimov ($4,550,000), Pecca ($700,000), Coburn ($1,700,000), Dzingel $3,375,000) and Stepan ($6,500,000) – that’s another $16 mil plus to be added to an already healthy war chest to take care of contracts for their key RFAs and, perhaps, bring in a couple of more stable veterans.
Their D of Chabot, Zaitsev, Zub, Gudbranson (who I think they’ll re-sign – but nowhere near his current $4 mil) will likely see the full-time addition of Brannstrom and quite possibly Lassi Thompson from the system, with Wolanin and maybe Reilly still in the mix.
D prospects like Sanderson, Bernard-Docker and Tychonick will need to get some seasoning in Belleville.
Let’s just hope there’s a normal training camp with exhibition games this fall. It’s a process.
George, seeing the kids getting more ice time is really paying off. The maturity will continue. I’m not saying the Sens are out of the woods yet but, they can definitely see a clearing. I’m not convinced they finish last in North either…maybe I’m getting ahead of myself but, maybe not.
Will Mylnyk open his wallet when time? He says he will.
THAT is the $64,000 question FD. He’d better put his wallet where his mouth is if he wants to see a return some day of maximum capacity. If he doesn’t it will lead to the franchise’s departure for sure.