When news broke this afternoon that Milan Michalek was listening to other offers, as is his right under the parameters of the CBA leading up to the start of unrestricted free agency on July 1st, it affirmed what Senators fans already knew – the Senators were always in a realistic position to lose their most productive line.
Having spurned Ottawa’s three-year, $10 million offer, Ales Hemsky already had his foot out the door and with Bob McKenzie tweeting that the trade market for Jason Spezza was ramping up, it seems more and more likely that Spezza will no longer be a part of the Senators organization by the end of Friday’s NHL Draft.
While Michalek was the likeliest of the three to return, now with him listening intently to other overtures and the Senators having the resolve to not offer something “stupid”, the Senators should move in a different direction.
Naturally, when the names of these three players will be brought up by pundits or prognosticators during their assessment of the Senators’ offseason, the instinctual reaction will be to point just how productive this line was from the time that Hemsky was acquired at the March 5th NHL trade deadline and that’s fair.
The Senators will miss their production, but at the same time, fans shouldn’t pretend that this line didn’t have its warts either.
Using Timeonice.com to examine the Senators’ even strength play, it’s easy to notice that this trio gave up goals as frequently as they scored them.
|Player Number||Games Played||Goals||Saved Shots||Shots%||Missed Shots||Fenwick%||OTT Shots that were Blocked||Corsi%||On Ice EVsave%||On Ice EVshooting%|
The numbers in bold are the number even strength goals allowed while said player was on the ice.
As you can see by the numbers, the gave up as much as they scored. Granted, they did outshoot the opposition on the ice and it’s not like the goaltenders did their part to help bail this line out. Nevertheless, whether these numbers are the result of bad luck, poor defensive coverage or puck support that resulted in many quality scoring chances or whether we can simply chalk them up to inadequate goaltending is unknown.
It’s probably all of the above.
In his end of season media availability, head coach Paul MacLean explained how he wanted to cut the Senators’ goals against by 50 goals this season and if he can get improvement in the percentage of goals for generated by the second line, whatever drop in offensive totals could be offset or at least mitigated by some improvement in the number of goals allowed.