1. Now that the Bobby Ryan deal is done, how are you feeling about it? As a low-budget team (29th out of 30 according to CapGeek), how do you think this deal will impact the roster in the future?
A week later and I'm still really happy about the Bobby Ryan deal. It might be a slight overpayment but with the way contracts and the cap are escalating, Ryan would have likely received offers for more if he had tested free agency. If Ryan stays healthy this season, I think reaching the 30-goal plateau is more than achievable, especially if Paul MacLean keeps the Turris-MacArthur-Ryan line together this season, and makes this deal a reasonable one for the team.
The second part of your question hints at how important this deal is for the organization at this moment. Ottawa's had some well-documented departures over the past two summers and there have been rumblings about the team's and the owner's finances for a few years now that have only recently been discussed in more mainstream sources. Ottawa had several key pieces (Jason Spezza, Craig Anderson, Marc Methot, Clarke MacArthur, and Bobby Ryan) who were UFAs in 2015. Spezza was dealt for a variety of reasons and the Sens decided to extend Andy and MacArthur to reasonable deals. But Ryan was the big one. He's a bona fide sniper, he would have had other offers, and he's an American. These are usually things that make some Sens fans worry a player will leave. That he re-signed sent a jolt through the fan base. However, the cynical among us would just point out that's the money that would have been earmarked to cover a new Spezza deal. The question in Ottawa isn't will ownership spend to maintain its core (numerous things, included a rising cap and cap floor make that a necessity), but will ownership spend to augment the core? That remains to be seen.
2. What are you expecting from Original Predator David Legwand this season?
Legwand is still somewhat of an unknown quantity in Ottawa. I think many pundits around the league expect him to be the second line centre in Ottawa, but in reality, Legwand will only be in that role if Mika Zibanejad falters spectacularly. Legwand was brought in as cover for the second line centre position but will mostly lead the third line. Legwand should take some of the penalty killing and defensive zone start burden away from the top two lines and I could see 19-year-old Curtis Lazar start the season on Legwand's wing. Lazar will be a centre for Ottawa in the future and a experienced, two-way player like Legwand can probably help his development.
In preseason, Legwand was an effective penalty killer (which wasn't surprising) but also lined up for the Sens on the power play. I don't think he'll see much power play time unless there's an injury in the top six, but I think he surprised lots in Ottawa with how comfortable he was in an offensive role. We know he was Nashville's leading scorer at the time of his trade to Detroit last season, but I think any offensive production will be viewed as a bonus in Ottawa. This team let in a lot (A LOT) of goals last season and its porous defense is still intact. If Legwand can help with that, we'll be pleased.
3. What's going on with the goaltending situation? Will anyone emerge as the true #1?
After extending RFA and goalie of the future Robin Lehner in July, the Sens extended Craig Anderson in August. On the surface of things, it seemed to be a curious move but the Sens aren't completely sold on that future right now. They're high on Lehner, but need to see more from the player before moving on. Last season, Anderson was still the number one, Lehner the back-up. This year, Andy begins the season as the starter but it's going to be a more open competition. If Lehner gets hot, I expect MacLean to roll with him, if Anderson does, he'll get more games. It has the potential to work, but might also end up as a "win and you're in" system the Senators have used in the past with poor results. Both have the ability to emerge as a true number one and their contracts mean there isn't a rush. If Lehner does emerge this season or next, which is likely, Andy doesn't have a NTC in his new deal and can and probably will, be dealt.
Thanks a bunch Amelia! Good luck this year...just not tonight.