The deadline happened.
As Mike mentioned Wednesday, our moves probably sting a little. But they were done with an eye towards the future. Most of the comments on this blog, on Facebook fanpages, and elsewhere are about packing it in.
I understand Mike's point. Furthermore, it seems from interviews with commentators, players, and GM Ray Shero that they do to. Plenty of precarious parlance like "We all understand the position the team is in" has permeated those conversations. Something to note, however is that there is a difference between preparing for the future and tanking. Tanking is intentionally losing to put yourself in the best position to get a good draft pick. Ray Shero is still in his first calendar year as GM and he's in the process of converting this team to something that more accurately adheres to his vision. We are NOT intentionally losing. Even when we were winning this year, we were still a transitioning team. No one who knows what's happening in this franchise believes that this team was ever a finished product. We haven't figured out the 3rd D-pairing all year. The SCAR line and Zajac-Palmieri-X were the two most consistent forces, but they had a very difficult time generating at evens. That's ignoring the fact that we have the least productive bottom 6 in the NHL These are the top 10 teams in terms of percentage of point production from the top 5.
|Team||Top 5||Bottom 5||Percentage of total|
For simplicity of the programming, when there were was a tie for the top 5 scorers on a team. Despite not even having our best forward for a huge chunk of the season, we are still the 3rd most dependent on our top 3 in the league.
That needed fixing.
But now, the fixing for this season is done, and we find ourselves with 67 points in 64 games. One year ago today, the Senators had 65 points in 61 games. The would go on to make the playoffs with a 3 point cushion. According to Sportsclubstats, we've got a 5% chance (as of this article) of making the playoffs. That is a 1/20 chance. People take worse odds in roulette. A 1 in 20 chance means we've got life. Why are we all done with the push? Because we lost Lee Stempniak?
Well, Devante Smith-Pelley is having a pretty solid first game (merit of his "goal" notwithstanding). According to HERO charts from Own The Puck, Joseph Blandisi and Reid Boucher have been performing as true 2nd liners by most metrics. Let's do it.
And that's not it. David Schlemko and Moore are playing like a perfectly adequate second pairing. Damon Severson is improving every week in possession statistics. If we can finally agree that he is the best of the 3rd pairing options and just settle on who is partner should be then we will be in a very similar position to where we were in the beginning of the year when we, at one point, went on a 9-3 stretch. Well, according to SportClubStats, a 12-4-2 stretch probably gets us in. This team has been RELENTLESS all year and they will stay that way through the last whistle of the last game. Let's do it.
Are we preparing for the future? Sure. Is this season absolutely hopeless? No. Am I just saying this because I still have 2 tickets to games and I want them to be worth seeing? Maybe. But we're not out yet. And if we're not out we're in. Let's do it. Let's make the playoffs.
Is it hopeless?