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Ottawa was a two foot putt for a lot of opponents - a chance to use backup goalies, let a few goals in at the start to set up come back wins and dress truculent players to use Spezza and Karlsson as punching bags.
Aside from the character bullshit, the only internal growth I saw was from Turris and Stone. Both look like solid blocks for a long time. Stone looked like he was playing the exact role Bobby Ryan was brought in for. To a lesser extent, Hoffman's speed looks like a critical tool that was sorely missing and hopefully his game will keep growing with experience.
The brilliant power plays of Hemsky, Micahlek and Spezza in the last 5 games sound like a flash in the pan with all the changes being hinted at. I hope the short time they were together has convinced management of the importance of having a full complement of top 6 forwards.
Injuries were a bigger part of this year than last year to me. Karlsson, Ryan, Spezza, Michalek and Cowen looked like they were playing lesser roles battling confidence in their bodies through injury. Any small improvements in this group should net noticeable gains next year. To me, this is probably the most important off season of the decade - a chance to build on and tweak a promising young core or implode under external pressures of fans, media and a meddling owner.
1 day, 14 hours ago on
Murray probably opened the doors at the deadline on what is now a 6-12 month process of trading a top player. I think he's accomplished everything he can in Ottawa.
Considering they paid for goals, upside and RFA years in the Bobby Ryan trade, they'd have to settle for much less value today. So much so that it's probably just worth keeping him through his contract and re-evaluating then.
Hemsky to me is a much more interesting piece. He's resuscitated Michalek and Spezza with a good blend of speed and playmaking. I would guess his play has put a lot more pressure on management to decide if he can reproduce that success with other linemates in Ottawa. It may just be a flash in the UFA pan like Alex Semin, but at the very least he's made both his linemates more valuable pieces for offseason activity.
1 week, 6 days ago on
1 month ago on TSN's Brent Wallace Gets Candid On 'In The Box'