Michalek – Spezza – Silfverberg
Latendresse – Turris – Alfredsson
As it stands currently, there isn’t much room on the opening night roster for forwards. The team appears to be set with their top-6 but, things can quickly change if Latendresse and Silfverberg fail to impress early on. All reports indicate that Silfverberg will start the season on the 1st line with Spezza and Michalek. Despite a slow start in the AHL, he’s come on strong of late and has expressed a real desire to improve according to coach, Luke Richardson. He currently leads the Binghamton Senators in scoring (34GP: 13g +16a = 29pts) and has relished as a go-to-player for the Bsens. Bryan Murray wanted to bring him over last season because he felt that he was ready to make the transition. This season he looks like he could be a potential Calder trophy candidate. It`s unfair to add this pressure on the reigning MVP of the Swedish Elite League (SEL), but he`s deserving of the accolades he receives from the media, coaches and fans. He’ll compliment Spezza and Michalek nicely with his hockey sense and wrist shot.
A real wild-card player this year for the Sens could be Guillaume Latendresse, Paul MacLean has slotted the power-forward along-side Turris and Alfredsson. He’ll be given the opportunity to regain his offensive touch from his days with the Minnesota Wilds, where he posted up 25 goals in just 55 games in the 09-10 season. Health has always been a concern in his young professional career, the 25 year-old left winger has only played 27 games in the past 2 years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Colin Greening find his way back onto a scoring line eventually throughout the season, if Latendresse or Silfverberg struggle. Although, he`s not your typical top-6 forward, Greening brings a rare combination of size, speed, and tenacity. He`s an imposing figure on the forecheck and usually is the first player applying pressure on the offensive zone. He can be frustrating offensively at times because he fumbles Spezza`s passes or lacks the necessary skills to sustain a plays but I think he will be missed. He`s not the most naturally skilled played but he`s willing to do the little things in the offensive zone that goes unnoticed more often than not.
This could be Daniel Alfredsson’s last year playing with the Ottawa Senators, but I don’t expect it to be his last year with the organization. He’s been the heart and soul for this organization and consummate leader. We’ve seen Daniel Alfredsson regressed a bit in the past season but he still is a threat offensively. I’m really hoping that the Sens take him off the PK, so he doesn’t injure or tired himself out. Throughout portions of last season, he looked lethargically slow towards the 3rd period. We’ve been accustomed to seeing Alfie play in all situations but we now have the right personnel to allow him to rest on the PK. I expect Kyle Turris to have a big season this year and hopefully he can help rejuvenate Alfie’s longevity and carry the line a bit more offensively. For more thoughts on Kyle Turris read my article on him (here).