About John Chidley-Hill

John Chidley-Hill grew up in Toronto, the son of a third-generation Maple Leafs fan and a die-hard Montreal Canadiens follower.

He's still recovering and faces his demons on a regular basis as HockeyPrimetime.com's Northeast Division beat writer.

When not blogging about hockey, other sports, comics and TV he is the junior hockey beat reporter for the Canadian Press. You can read his blog at http://johnchidleyhill.com.

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2010-11 preview: Ottawa Senators Print
Northeast
Written by John Chidley-Hill   
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 00:00

The Senators must transition out of the Daniel Alfredsson era at some point. The time could be now or later – depending on whether or not the current group has one more playoff run left in it.

2009-10: 44-32-6, 94 points, lost to Pittsburgh in Eastern Conference quarterfinals

Key additions: D Sergei Gonchar, F Bobby Butler, D Jared Cowen and D Patrick Wiercioch

Key losses: D Anton Volchenkov, Matt Cullen, Shean Donovan, D Andy Sutton

Overview:
On Dec. 11, All-Star right wing Daniel Alfredsson will turn 38. His career isn’t yet over, but it’s clear that as the Alfie Era draws to a close the Ottawa Senators are looking to retool and rebuild. GM Bryan Murray is going to continue to rely on the defensive stylings of head coach Cory Clouston while he reassembles Ottawa’s roster. The goalie triumvirate of Pascal Leclaire, Brian Elliot and “Cousin” Mike Brodeur are not world-beaters, but they’ll be able to hold the fort. Alfredsson and Alex Kovalev should continue to see their offensive numbers drop off, but Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Mike Fisher will be able to keep things rolling. Gonchar will help with that attack, although when he wanders away from the blue line the rest of the rearguard will be tested often. The challenge for management will be trying to balance the aging franchise cornerstones while developing new talent. With a smooth transition, the Senators will find themselves back in the playoffs. If not, Murray will have some high draft picks coming his way to accelerate the rebuilding project.

What they’re missing:
A clear vision of the future. Spezza still has many productive years left in the NHL, but Alfredsson, Kovalev and Gonchar do not. Murray has already made some moves to restock the shelves, including adding Cowen, Wiercioch and Butler. Although they’re all solid players, none are ready to fill Alfredsson’s shoes. The Sens need a young franchise player.

• Players to watch in camp:
Former University of New Hampshire captain Butler might be a staple in the Senators’ new cupboard. Signed after scoring 29 goals in 39 NCAA games, the 23-year-old is hoping to impress at camp this fall. Similarly, there’s a good chance that Cowan and Wiercioch will crack the opening-day roster. These three will be the first wave of Ottawa’s youth movement.

HPT is counting down one team each day before NHL training camps open on Sept. 17. Tomorrow: Philadelphia Flyers.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 20:26