|ESPN.com: NHL Preview 2005||[Print without images]|
The Marian Hossa deal, necessitated by the need to free up cap room next year in the hopes of locking up defensive anchors Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara, will be closely monitored during the course of the season. Muckler traded his best offensive player, one whom scouts think is a top-five forward in the league, for a player who might ultimately be better but who brings with him a lot of mental and physical baggage.
Offense: Two years ago, Dany Heatley was behind the wheel of his Ferrari when it crashed into a brick pillar, killing Atlanta teammate and close friend Dan Snyder. Heatley returned to earn MVP honors at the 2004 World Championships, but his play has since slipped. He suffered a serious eye injury playing in Switzerland during the lockout and while he claims to be 100 percent recovered, scouts say his timing appears to have suffered as a result.
Heatley figures to start the season playing on a line with top draft pick Jason Spezza, who led the American Hockey League in scoring during the lockout and appears ready to step into the star role that's been predicted for him since he was 14. Talented Martin Havlat will likely fill out the team's top trio and he must answer questions about whether he's ready to take another step toward stardom.
Defense: The Senators remain one of the most talented defensive teams in the league. Chara was a Norris Trophy finalist in 2004, and Redden and Chris Phillips are both superior puck-movers, making the team dangerous on the transition.
Goaltending: Muckler and the rest of the Senators have spent a lot of time insisting they have no worries, but the bottom line is Dominik Hasek is 40 and played just 14 games during his ill-conceived return to the NHL in 2003-04, this after taking the entire 2002-03 season off. His unorthodox style of play demands that Hasek be in peak physical condition to succeed. If he hits the skids, Ray Emery is capable, but hardly the kind of netminder on whom you pin Stanley Cup hopes.
Search: Ottawa Senators
|Comings & Goings|
G Dominik Hasek; C Steve Martins; RW Dany Heatley; D Lance Ward.
RW Marian Hossa; D Greg de Vries; C Radek Bonk; C Todd White; D Todd Simpson; D Curtis Leschyshyn; G Patrick Lalime; G Martin Prusek; RW Rob Ray; RW Peter Bondra; C Shaun Van Allen; RW Josh Langfeld.
|When we last saw them|
Gone is Mr. Hossa, who had 82 points in 81 games during the 2003-04 season.
Gone also is Mr. Lalime, who posted a 25-23-7 record in 2003-04
“Requesting a change of environment was an extremely difficult decision.
[but] it made the most sense to seek a change.”
— Dany Heatley on why he requested a trade out of Atlanta