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All-Time Ottawa Senators Team


ScottM

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It will probably surprise absolutely no one to know that I've been eagerly awaiting this entry in the All-Time Teams series. Many of the guys on this roster are players that I watch or used to watch very closely. There's a higher level of familiarity for me with them than there has been for many of the other teams. On the one hand, it might seem that putting this team together would be easier because of that, but on the other hand, I have to try to keep emotional attachments out of the equation. We all know what it's like to have favorite players that we feel attached to (or players we can't stand), and that was something I had to contend with. Anyway, let's get to the team, and I promise I'll try not to be too verbose in my explanation afterwards.

 

First Line: Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson

Second Line: Bobby Ryan, Alexei Yashin, Marian Hossa

Third Line: Shawn McEachern, Kyle Turris, Mark Stone

Fourth Line: Magnus Arvedson, Radek Bonk, Martin Havlat

 

First Defensive Pair: Erik Karlsson, Zdeno Chara

Second Defensive Pair: Wade Redden, Chris Phillips

Third Defensive Pair: Jason York, Andrej Meszaros

 

Goaltenders: Craig Anderson, Patrick Lalime, Dominik Hasek

 

Head Coach: Bryan Murray

 

I don't think there's any surprise that the CASH line is back together. They're all stars individually, and when you look at their contribution as a unit, they rank right up there as a line. I acknowledge that I might be early with Stone and Turris, but I feel very confident that time will bear it out. Honestly, I think that when all is said and done with their careers Hoffman and Zabinejad are very likely to make a roster like this one. If the current core stays together, the Senators could be headed for their new golden age. If so, this group will be well-represented.

 

The defense is a strength of this team. It isn't filled with superstars, but is solid at worst. Karlsson qualifies as a superstar, and it was in Ottawa that Chara began to develop into the defenseman he became. On top of that, Redden had three top-10 Norris trophy finishes. Needless to say, I'd feel very good about putting that group on the ice.

 

There's much less depth at goalie, but Craig Anderson is a good starter. Patrick Lalime is the team's all-time wins leader, and while not stellar at all times had his moments. Hasek may look odd on that list, but if he were left off, I don't know who I'd put there. His tenure with the team was extremely short thanks to questionable moves by upper management, but when he did play, he was, well, Dominik Hasek. Given the other options, I think it makes sense to include him.

 

I'm no fan of Bryan Murray, which is a well-known fact here, but honestly, there was no way I could choose anyone else as coach. The team had its greatest success with him behind the bench, as he was the coach of the Stanley Cup Finals team. That's a big accomplishment for a small market team, and it can't be ignored.

 

Okay, I'm done running my mouth. As always I'm sure there will be some disagreements, so let the conversation begin!

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@ScottM  Hard to believe there is not a better third line LW than Arvedson.....other than that...looks pretty complete. I often wonder what would have happened if the Sens had made the right move and kept Chara over Redden. Offensive skills can fade, but a tower of power in your own end....only father time can knock down a few pegs....as we see today with Chara...but the Sens missed out on 6 or 7 prime years.

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@ScottM  Hard to believe there is not a better third line LW than Arvedson.....other than that...looks pretty complete. I often wonder what would have happened if the Sens had made the right move and kept Chara over Redden. Offensive skills can fade, but a tower of power in your own end....only father time can knock down a few pegs....as we see today with Chara...but the Sens missed out on 6 or 7 prime years.

 

Actually, I took a second look after you said that, and I realized I missed Shawn McEachern on the left side. I think the thing that threw me is that hockey-reference.com has him listed as a right winger, but if I recall correctly, he played both sides at time, and he is an upgrade on the left side. I edited to reflect that.

 

Yeah, I've wondered the same thing about Chara. The Sens front office has a knack for making the wrong move (i.e., keeping Lehner instead of Bishop). Sometimes it's bad luck, sometimes it bad choices, but it breaks that way too often.

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Alexei Yashin could have been first line center as well. Im aware Spezza has the superior PPG but Alexei Yashin was once second in hart voting, something Spezza will never attain in his career. Even then, Spezza had more offensive support, playing alongside Heatley and Alfredsson. So its not apparent that he is the superior offensive player. Since their PPG's are relatively close.

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Alexei Yashin could have been first line center as well. Im aware Spezza has the superior PPG but Alexei Yashin was once second in hart voting, something Spezza will never attain in his career. Even then, Spezza had more offensive support, playing alongside Heatley and Alfredsson. So its not apparent that he is the superior offensive player. Since their PPG's are relatively close.

 

Yes, there was the runner-up Hart finish for Yashin, but there's also the damage he did to the team. That plays a role in this as well. As an example, that's one reason I didn't seriously consider Messier for the Canucks team. It's true that Spezza's departure from the team wasn't all that amiable, but it wasn't as destructive as Yashin's.

 

Secondly, in considering on ice play, offense isn't the only factor in question. Generally speaking, I'd give Spezza the edge over Yashin in defensive play, so that's another point for Spezza.

 

Then, there's playoff performance. Yashin was a choke artist in the postseason. Spezza performed well, including leading the playoffs in scoring in the Stanley Cup Finals year.

 

All things considered, there's no doubt who was better for Ottawa and who deserves the top spot. I didn't even have to give it a second thought.

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