#5 or 6 defenseman - void filled with Volchenkov next year - Need a rent-a-player
2nd Line Centre - void will need to be filled from within - maybe Fisher
Goaltending - more Prusek ?
Violent Grit - Retribution type player for instances where the Goaltender or a skill player gets run - Not on a Martin team!
These are the reasons that I belive we could use a second line centre:
Bonk - the centre of our best overall line. Hossa is our premier offensive star and deserves the most playing time. Not only is he our best offensive star, he is also great defensively due to his early playing time (with Bonk) on our checking line.
I believe that when the talent is evaluated, Bonk is our #1 centre.
Spezza - our future #1 centre. His offensive skills are amazing, but they lack the wisdom of experience. He still tries too many low percentage passes, and (as with all young players) can be prone to bouts of inconsistancy. He is working on his defense and the improvements are coming. He is just not ready to be our #2 centre.
Todd White - our current #2 centre. I have not been overly impressed with Todd this year. His effort almost every night can not be questioned. It is his effectiveness that can be questioned. I have heard it said that Todd White's head on player X would produce a superstar. This year though, he has seemed a step behind too many times, and some nights does bring his line down. That said, most nights when I say, 'Why is Todd White even on this line?", he ends up getting a cluch goal, and I have to rethink my statement.
On the forward lines, I think that one area that could be improved would be to have a big power forward type of centre for Alfie. I did not say it was a glaring weekness, only that it was an area which could be improved upon.
Nice work . I really hope that Muck calls ANA about Carney, he'd be a perfect fit. Other possibilities could be Boughner, Richardson, Matvichuk (if they fall out of the race), Zhitnik....I'm sure there is more.
From a purely offensive perspective, I agree, Spezza is our #1 centre.
He has the most creativity on the Senators. What think he lacks and what is keeping him from filling the #2 centre roll are: experience, consistancy, patience. All these things will come, I just don't think they will come by April.
He is very effective playing with Smolinski and Havlat. They are an incredible 3rd line and will give most teams nightmares. Smolinski has been able to assume the defensive responsibilities on this line and has done a great job. Spezza is also learning to be more defensively responsible as evedenced by his attempts at backchecking. When he completely grasps that concept and can backcheck at close to Hossa's level, then he will officially be our #1 centre.
I think that Alfredsson deserves a centre who will be able to bring more power to that line and create a little space for him. I also would like to have someone who can step in when Alfie has liberties taken against him. Alfie should not ever have to drop the gloves, or be overly concerned with watching his back.
I kind of flip back and forth when it comes to Bonk - but this in no way ties me to any Garrioch thought, argument or quote. Any such similarity is purely coincidence.
Some games he shows how valuable he really is even if he doesn't get on the scoresheet. Other games he gets the odd point but is largely useless out there.
Right now, I'm of the opinion that he isn't as valuable as everyone makes him out to be. His defense is what does this. I don't really expect much from him in offense, but given his RWer is 4th in league scoring you'd think he'd have some better numbers.
How can a guy who is supposed to be the Sens #1 center, their #1 defensive/shut down center, be essentially even in +/-? If you think about it and try to argue that he;s always out there against the oppositions best line and that's the reason for his numbers, then it leads one to believe that he's not really doing a good job. In the last 3 seasons(including this year) he has been a +3, a +6 and now a +3. Hardly blows you away, huh?
Spezza, who isn't known for his defensive prowess is still a +15. Granted he doesn't always see the other teams top center, but he probably sees his fair share of them on the road.
Anyway, all of this to say that at this point Spezza is the #1 center, IMO.
Is it possible to be the #1 centre while playing on the third line?
Spezza will be our #1 centre as early as next year if he keeps progressing.
Will Martin put Spezza between Alfie and Peter, or between Hossa and (whoever) and officially proclaim Spezza the top centre?
Until one of these happen, he will be the most talented 3rd line centre in the league, but you have to admit, he makes it one hell of a third line.
Back to needs:
What we need is a player who can make those around him play tougher. The elbow that Hossa took left visible evidence on Hossa's face, and no one went after McCabe. Sure Chara fought him later, but that was only after being sticked by him on the same shift.
There was no retribution on Nolan's hit on Spezza.
How can a GM like Muckler, who understands the need for intimidation/toughness allow this team to continue with the, 'we'll kill you with the power-plays." As we saw last Saturday, when the power-play is not clicking, it is a hollow threat.