It feels strange for hockey to be over in Ottawa so soon, but nevertheless the off-season is here, and with it the inevitable questions on who should stay and who should go. My personal picks (YEA or NAY) are listed below - looking forward to hearing your comments.
C- Mike Comrie - Hard to say whether he will re-sign or not with the Sens this summer. He likes playing in Ottawa, but he vanished down the stretch. NAY
C- Mike Fisher - No question he underachieved. No question he is overpaid. But do you really want to see him in a Leafs jersey? YEA
C- Chris Kelly - Garrioch has started a rumour the Jackets want him. No doubt to pair up with Antoine Vermette again on the PK. Zack Smith and Peter Regin have been able to play when called up - could Kelly be dealt? NAY
C- Jason Spezza - I really like Jason Spezza as a human being, as a good guy, but as a hockey player he makes me want to rip my hair out. He's either world-class putting sick moves on guys and scoring on nifty trick shots, or he's coughing up the puck to give opponents uncontested breakaways on Ottawa's net. He's still young, and still has many contract years to go, but can Clouston get him to stop the brain farts? If he can, I want him to stay. YEA (tentative).
C- Cody Bass - When he's healthy, I love what Cody Bass brings to the rink. YEA
D- Brendan Bell - He's likely gone after an up-and-down year. His inconsistency is his worst enemy. NAY
D- Chris Campoli - scored more points than Comrie following the trade that brought him to Ottawa, but will he fall victim to a numbers game? Ottawa suddenly has a lot of D-men on the roster. YEA (conditional)
D- Filip Kuba - If this guy can ever learn to play with an edge and actually hit people, he'd be a consensus all-star defenceman. The only power play captain we've got, let's face it. YEA
D- Brian Lee - Still plenty of upside to this kid's game. Let's not forget he rose through the NCAA ranks, not Junior. He is consistently getting better, and it was nice to see him scrap it up towards the end of the season. YEA
D- Chris Phillips - He had a bad year, like everyone else on the team, but he's still one of the most physical presences we have on the D. YEA.
D- Anton Volchenkov - This guy does two things superbly well - block shots and hit people. He seems to have taken a long time recovering from his last major injury, but he's still a keeper. Best Russian player ever to suit up for the Sens. You know it's true. YEA
D- Alexandre Picard - Did not see him play enough to even be able to evaluate him as a player. For me, it's a coin flip between him and Campoli on who I'd want to stay. YEA (conditional).
D- Jason Smith - I realize he's not known for his offensive prowess, but did he ever stink it up this year. Perhaps at the end of the line career-wise? NAY
G- Alex Auld - Streaky performance, but he's under contract for another season. YEA
G- Brian Elliott - Will he be re-signed? Presumably. But even if he's back he's starting next season in Bingo. YEA
G- Pascal Leclaire - If there is one guy guaranteed to be back next season it's Leclaire. I am one of many Sens fans close to drooling over the prospect of this guy in net for Ottawa. This is a no-brainer. YEA
LW- Nick Foligno - At times this guy is the best player on the ice. YEA
LW- Dany Heatley - Did he miss a team memo this year and think the season started in January? I have no doubt he will return to form next year. He's usually money in the bank. If' he'd played all season like he did down the stretch he probably would have had 70 goals. YEA
LW- Jarkko Ruutu - Frankly I'm underwhelmed. For a pest he didn't draw a lot of penalties. NAY
D/LW- Christoph Schubert - I liked Schubert sicne he was a prospect in Binghamton, but he's not a top-5 defenceman, and if he could not get top-5 ice time for Ottawa this season, will he ever? Likely not. Let him try elsewhere. NAY
RW- Daniel Alfredsson - Even in a bad season, he's the best of the best. YEA
RW- Shean Donovan - When he's healthy he's a good physical player. YEA
RW- Chris Neil - Sad to say his time in Ottawa may be done. Lost in the dabacle of Spezza's latest brain cramp in the season finale against Toronto was the gritty play of Neil to get the Sens that power play. His effort night-in, night-out is always high. I just hope he doesn't sign with the Leafs. YEA (unrealistically)
RW- Ryan Shannon - He's been the revelation of the year, as far as I'm concerned. I'd like to see him permanently on a line with Spezza and Heatley as the "defensively responsible" member of the line, although he would no doubt contribute offensively as well. YEA
RW- Jesse Winchester - Let's face it, with 4 forwards making such a high percentage of the Sens payroll, guys like Winchester are bargains. He can play, but he has his limitations. YEA
By my count, that's 6 NAYs and 19 YEAs.