We can all agree that as of right now, there is absolutely no chemistry on this team. There is no secondary scoring coming from anyone, and although the defense has been stellar, the offense coming from the back end has been lacking.
There is nobody besides maybe Filip Kuba (who is injured) who can move the puck out of the back end really well.
Overall, besides that top line, this team is flat, boring, and lacking grit.
So here is what I think needs to be done.
Bryan Murray has a very intelligent hockey mind. He may have a very annoying voice, but he knows his hockey. This team has been bad for over a year now and the only changes that have been made is this carousel of coaches he has been pushing through.
Sadly, there is no excuse for the lack of player personnel changes and he needs to go. Things need to change here, and the first step is to change is the General Manager.
Craig Hartsburg is a good coach. He deserves better than this and I hope he gets it. As for the team needing another coaching change, if Bryan Murray gets axed, then I think Hartsburg will too. Just happens when a new General Manager comes in, but I really hope it doesn't.
I think Hartsburg is a great coach and he deserves a chance to rebuild this team, but ultimately when a new General Manager comes in, he will be gone and a new coach will be brought in.
As I said before, the team has no offense outside of the big three. And with there being little to no improvement from it all season, I think it’s time to clean house.
Jason Spezza: One of the big three have to be moved on this team to spread out offense, and I think Spezza will be the one to get the axe. He is a great offensive player who could help any team needing a first line center.
However, ever since the team started this downward spiral, Spezza has reverted more and more to his playing habits from earlier in his career. He isn’t willing to get his nose dirty, he isn’t playing smart defensively, and his overall playing is very flat.
I think he needs a change of scenery, and Ottawa could fetch a couple draft picks and/or prospects for him.
Antoine Vermette: Coming into this season, Vermette had lofty expectations, with some people expecting him to eclipse 60 points. Now with the midway point of the season approaching, he is looking more and more like he will reach half of that, if he is lucky.
He is in need of a scenery change as well, and may not fetch a huge amount because of his almost $3 million a year salary. But he could fetch a decent prospect or a second or third round pick.
Dean McAmmond: I love McAmmond. No matter what team he is on or what role he plays on the team, he always gives 110 percent. But for a rebuilding team, he is old at the age of 35, and could be used on a team looking to make a Stanley Cup run.
I say trade him at the deadline when you can get the most for him, and send him to a cup contending team for a draft pick. He could fetch up to a third round pick if he can pick up his play a bit.
Although this team does have decent defense, they still needs a puck moving defenseman. They are lacking roughness from this part of the end as well, showing no grit most of the time. These are the players I think they need to get rid of to get this defense on the right track:
Filip Kuba: Now why would you trade your top defenseman who is the only one that can move the puck well? The fact that he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, of course. Kuba is a solid defenseman and could fetch a lot at the trade deadline. He is almost never out of position at his end of the ice, and can move the puck.
Unless the Senators plan on resigning him sometime this season, they should get what they can for him by trading him to a team that needs a top four defenseman. He could fetch a high draft pick and/or a prospect if there is the right team looking.
Jason Smith: Jason Smith is a solid stay-at-home defenseman, he knows how to hit and brings a load of experience to any team. The problem with Smith is that he is slow and can’t contribute offensively, which is a problem for the Senators.
He has a year left on his contract after this season, which could hurt his value. The Senators do not need a player of his age if they are rebuilding, and I suggest trying to trade him this trade deadline and if not, buying him out at the end of the season.
If they can trade him, I think they could get a mid level draft pick for him, or a defenseman in return.
Martin Gerber: Even though I still blame him not doing so well on the fact that he finally painted his helmet, he is still a serviceable goaltender. The problem with Gerber is his contract.
Luckily for Ottawa, Gerber has only this year left on his contract, so even if they can’t get rid of him by the trade deadline, they won’t have to deal with him after this season.
If they could get interest for him, I think Ottawa should aim for a conditional draft pick. Meaning that the other team in the deal will base how much they give Ottawa by how much Gerber contributes. This is the only way Gerber will be out of Ottawa this season.
Who They Should Go For
The Senators need a top four offensive defenseman and secondary scoring. It also wouldn’t hurt to shed some salary as well.
Curtis Sanford: With Jason LaBarbera traded to Vancouver and Roberto Luongo coming back soon, Curtis Sanford will be sent down to the minors. Why not pick him up on the waiver wire and send down Gerber to the minors to save some money.
Jay Bouwmeester: Jay Bouwmeester wants out of Florida, whether it be via free agency or trade. So why not trade Jason Spezza and Jason Smith for Jay Bouwmeester and get that top defenseman you are looking for.
He brings size, grit, and puck moving ability to the table and is still very young. You could build a team around this guy, and that is what Ottawa should do. Get this guy by whatever means necessary, and they will instantly have better defense.
Nathan Horton: Also wants out of Florida and brings the entire package to any team. Grit, size, speed, and skill, he would be the perfect player to upstart that secondary scoring that the Senators have been missing.
I could see Horton going for Spezza straight up or maybe even for just Vermette and two high draft picks. He can give a team what it needs to succeed.
I think if some of these changes happened to the Ottawa Senators, then they would be on the right track to set this team in the right direction. The right thing to do would be to do a fire sale and rebuild this team from scratch. This obviously needs to happen, including major overhaul in order for this team to be successful again.