Bryan Murray has done an admirable job this offseason re-tooling the Sens while leaving the team in a great position for the future. The signing of Jason Smith provides the team with a no-nonsense, play your guts out leader. Something this team has sorely lacked over the years. This guy will play on a broken leg if he has to and will always take one for the team. Jarkko Ruutu is a decent player who will drive opponents nuts. Jesse Winchester will be a sleeper in the bunch. He will impress in camp and will play a big role with the club. Book it. Ryan Shannon is a slick cat and could land a job on the first two lines. He's a boom or bust project. He's not suited to a 3rd or 4th line role, but has all the talents to be a 2nd line player IF his game is more suited to the Eastern Conference. He'd look good lined up with Vermette and Fisher. Shannon using their slick speed and playmaking abilities to get Fish some garbage in front. All Shannon cost the Sens as Nycholat. Murray should be charged with grand larceny fleecing Gillis out of a roster player for a guy who was constantly whining about not being in the NHL all the while not deserving that shot.
Filip Kuba and Picard plus a first rounder for Andrej (did I do that?) Meszaros was another steal. Murray stuck to his guns and refused to over pay for this underachieving, over demanding d-man. Hats off that he got a similar player in Kuba at a lesser salary with but 1 year until UFA, but also a blue chip prospect in Picard who will replace Meszaros' game (when it was good) for several seasons. It bothers me when players demand a big raise after 2 sub par seasons following an excellent rookie campaign. Good riddance.
Bank on Brad Isbister turning his game around as well. A stint in Bingo may motivate this enigma.
Speaking of Bingo, they will ice an uber-competitive team this season with an excellent mix of young players and experienced vets to guide their development into future NHLers
Goaltending is an issue, but Elliot could surprise and be with the big club come the second half. Hopefully, someone will take Gerber off Murray's hands and the Sens can finally work on getting a decent goalie until Elliot is ready. Alex Auld is a decent #2 at a decent price.
This 2008 team is very deep with several players in the AHL who, on a lesser team, would be NHL'ers. They're chomping at the bit and will push the regulars on the big club to play at their best. Brendan Bell is one such character. With the log jam at the #6/#7 defenseman position, he'll keep everyone on their toes while trying to steal a job. The same can be said for Matt Carkner. The organization also has a glut of 4th line forwards. Expect one more trade before October. Perhaps for the goaltending upgrade we so desperately require.
There are simply too many NHL capable bodies on this team and something has to give. It's just a question of who and who will come back.