Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Winchester could be a top-six forward

An article in the Citizen today explored the possibility that Jesse Winchester, a rookie who's played one NHL game after a four-year career of ECAC hockey, will get a good, long look as a member of the Senators' top-six forward. And you know what? I think it might work.

Winchester played right wing in his one NHL game on the second line, alongside Mike Fisher and Antoine Vermette. The following day he practiced on a line with Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza. Although he was likely only in that spot because Daniel Alfredsson was taking the day for rest and relaxation, Winchester didn't look out of place on either line. Although he was a centre through his university career, I'm sure he'd play the wing if it meant time on one of the top two lines.

From what I've seen of Winchester, his speed and size make him well-suited to play with Spezza and Heatley, if the two are kept together. Another solid fit for him, in my opinion, would be with Fisher and one of Heatley or Alfredsson on the other wing. To be honest, I saw Winchester as an asset-specific acquisition: GM Bryan Murray realized that there is a certain player you need to complement Fisher, and for him--now that he's signed long-term and a certain building block of the franchise--to excel, you've got to play to your strengths.

So, unless Craig Hartsburg has a different opinion than Murray, I expect Winchester to at least get a shot beside Fisher on the second line. Man, I want the season to start.
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