Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Money well spent?

The Senators are cheapskates. Rarely have they fished into the often-outrageous waters of free agency to fill a roster spot, no where is this more evident than on the Sens defence.

Looking at the numbers, it becomes clear that Ottawa is getting good value for their money overall.

Spending on defenders:

Ottawa - $14.175 million
Montreal - $ 19.9 million
Toronto - $21.66 million
Boston - $18.55 million
Buffalo - $14.6 million

Detroit - $22.85 million

It's hard to argue that Detroit's investment in its defence. They've had to pay Nicklas Lidstrom $7.45 million per season, but they've been competing for the Stanley Cup every season for a decade. Does Ottawa have such a leader in their corps? Are the Senators simply missing that key piece in their own defensive puzzle?

Buffalo seems like a comparable team. They too have spread their money around evenly, with their top four defencemen being paid between $2.5 and $3.5 million. The Sabres have very quietly collected a record of 8-2-2 so far this season.

It's also worth noting that the Senators have only Chris Phillips signed past the 2009-10 season. Ottawa has a lot of mobility, should it choose to remake its team in the coming years. Prospects like Brian Lee will undoutedly play a large part in Ottawa's future D-line. Alexandre Picard has become the Senators #4 defender this season after coming to the Sens from Tampa Bay in the Andre Meszaros deal. How he will fit into the lineup in the future will depend largely on how he fares this season and next. He's not a prospect anymore.

There's much talk about the Senators acquiring a puck-moving defender, and the numbers say that GM Bryan Murray can afford him. As Detroit has shown, an investment in a #1 defender is an investment in the long-term success of the team.
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