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10-01-2011, 11:12 AM
  #27
DefenseMinister
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trentmccleary View Post
That depends on what you mean by ceiling and how much importance you are placing on Zibanejad's in the short term.

It really is asking a lot of Zibanejad to be a 2nd line centre this season and maybe even next, despite his preseason. I don't quite recall Hossa's first preseason, but he made a playoff team before being sent back to the CHL after 7 games and then put up 30 points in 60 games the next year. We don't need anymore 3rd or 4th liners and we certainly don't need to be wasting years of his ELC to get mediocre seasons out of a player.

As for Regin's ceiling...
Will he look better on the ice? ... Probably not much better.
Will he be more successful? ... He should have been a heck of lot more successful last season. 1 point in 29 games mid-season? That shouldn't happen for a player of his skill & smarts.

Is there a role for Regin in the future? Yep. In a bubble, you don't typically contend with a Regin as your 2nd line centre. However, as an offensive winger with the ability to provide a great depth option as an offensive centre for a contender with an injury... yeah, that's the kind of depth that you can win with. This of course presumes that Regin becomes something of a 'Vermette/White/Cullen' type of player this season.
I would tend to agree with a lot of this. I don't think it's realistic to expect Peter Regin to be the long term answer as a 2nd line centre (although stranger things have happened). However, that doesn't mean that he can't be a solid contributer in the lineup in another role. And that position could be as a winger on a scoring line. The Sens, as currently constructed certainly have openings there and it seems like there will be plenty of opportunities throughout the season for guys to be slotted in all over the place in order to see where they best fit.

As for Zibanejad, he's assuredly earned at least his 10 games to start the season. In a perfect world, you would be waiting at least another year to put him in such an important role but the Sens have a glaring hole in the middle and at the moment, he's one of the best options to fill it. But if you're going to do this, you should be playing him with reliable wingers. Alfie and Michalek make the most sense because Alfie makes everyone better and Michalek just doesn't work with Spezza. Both of those wingers are also very solid defensively and would support Zibanejad in their own zone allowing him to focus more on creating offense.

As for the 1st line, I think Filatov has shown enough flashes that he should start the season alongside Spezza in order to determine whether he can produce consistently in that role. You pretty much have to do this because Filatov without an offensive partner may as well be sent to the AHL for all the use he'd be. But he's at least put himself in the position to get that 10-15 game tryout alongside Spezza.

The other wing position is more difficult because Butler's been given every opportunity this pre-season to play with top players and he's looked terrible. The problem with Butler (and Filatov to a lesser extent) is that if he's not scoring, he's completely useless. If you look at players like Greening or Regin, even if they're not producing offensively, they can bring other attributes to the table in order to help the team and you can also play them on any line because of their versatility.

You can tell the coaching staff really likes Greening because he brings a dimension to a scoring line that the Sens don't currently have (the size, speed and physicality to go get the puck on the forecheck as well as plug up the front of the net) which makes him a very tantalizing "glue" component to a scoring line. But Greening can be effective throughout the lineup and his offensive upside is limited. I think Regin as the other winger brings more offensive spark and still gives you the defensive responsibility that Spezza and Filatov would need. There's also the curiosity about whether Regin and Spezza still have the chemistry that can be rekindled.

Based on last year when Butler displayed the ability to score consistently at both the AHL and NHL level, Butler earned his NHL contract and spot on the roster this year. That however shouldn't also mean that he automatically plays in a Top 6 role. Based on how he's looked in pre-season, he needs to start on a lower line or the press box and demonstrate that he can contribute before getting another shot.

Foligno also got a few chances to distinguish himself and didn't do anything of note so he'll have to ply his trade on the Bottom 6 for now as well.

It's unfortunate for Da Costa that he couldn't suit up for the last few pre-season games because he could have made some decisions harder for the coaching staff. But because of Zibanejad's assured 10 game tryout, he'll probably start in the AHL (which isn't the worse thing in the world). It's comforting to know that the Sens could have a potential offensive spark sitting down there that they can call up at any time. He did a good enough job in the games he did play in do give the organization little hesitation in order to call him up.

So, assuming that Regin is healthy to start the season, here's my best guess of what they may do:

Regin-Spezza-Filatov
Michalek-Zibanejad-Alfie
Foligno-Smith-Neil
Greening-Konopka-Butler/Condra (depending if they want to sit Butler entirely or simply play him on a lower line)

Winchester and Butler/Condra sit.

Karlsson-Phillips
Gonchar-Cowen
Kuba-Lee

Carkner sits.

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