In an attempt to rid his team of any distraction going into 2009-10, Bryan Murray traded away Dany Heatley in what appeared to be deal made for the sake of making a deal.
However, with closer examination, the Sens didn't get fleeced, at least not as bad as many people have said, including myself.
In past seasons, one of the biggest knocks on the Ottawa Senators has been a lack of secondary scoring. Too often, if Heatley, Jason Spezza, or Daniel Alfredsson weren't scoring, the Sens would have to fight an uphill battle to win the game. Now, without Heatley, there is no longer a sure-fire top line in Ottawa.
That may not be such a bad thing.
Although the Sens badly overpaid Alexei Kovalev, he adds a new dimension of unpredictability to their power play, as he just might be the most dangerous player in the Eastern Conference when he is given just a little too much space in the right face-off circle.
Milan Michalek also adds tons of speed to the team, and he is good for at least 25-30 goals. The Czech has experienced two disappointing seasons in a row, so perhaps a change of scenery will do him good.
What Michalek brings to the team however, is more important than what he has done in the past, for he will provide secondary scoring that has been sorely lacking in Ottawa.
The biggest question mark in the Sens' crop of forwards entering this season is Jonathan Cheechoo. A fan favorite in San Jose, Cheechoo has seen his goal totals drop every season since 56 in 2005-2006.
One of the few Native American players in the NHL, Cheechoo can at least light the lamp 25 times, and he also plays with heart and determination, something that any NHL club could use these days. What heightens his value even further is that he still has the potential to regain his 56-goal form, given that he plays with Jason Spezza.
Mike Fisher remains one of the better two-way centers in the NHL, as evidenced by his Selke nomination in 2005-06, and is much better than the 13 goals he scored last season indicate. A rebound year should be expected, especially with new quality line mates.
The fact remains that the Sens will no longer have a go-to scorer such as Heatley, but Ottawa will greatly benefit from spreading the offense, as will take some pressure off of Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza.
While the Senators are nowhere near contender status, the pieces are in place for a very dangerous offense, and a possible shot at the playoffs.
There's no Heater warming up Ottawa's offense anymore, but that won't bother the Senators one bit this season.
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