Monday, September 14, 2009

Are two lines better than one? You do the math

Does 25+25 = 50?

Ottawa Senators fans have been doing the math for the past few weeks, trying to determine if having two second-line players contribute 25 goals each would make up for the loss of Dany Heatley's expected 40-50 goals.

Well, Sens fans and mathematicians everywhere can rest easy, because says it does. Today, they released their point-projections for the upcoming season (mostly for the purposes of fantasy drafting and pure, amusing speculation) and the results are pleasing.

Dany Heatley - 47 goals, 41 assists, 88 points

A definite improvement over last season. TSN obviously expects Thornton to play a large role in Heatley's resurgence.

Now for our new guys...

Alex Kovalev - 26 goals, 38 assists, 64 points

$5-million is a steep price to pay for less than 30 goals, but the fact is that's 64 more points than the Sens would have had this year. That could translate into five more wins this year--and possibly a playoff spot.

Milan Michalek - 26 goals, 36 assists, 62 points

Jonathan Cheechoo - 24 goals, 22 assists, 46 points

There's your 50 goals. This would make a serious turnaround for Cheechoo, and just about meet expectations for Michalek for this season - his contract ($4.3-million until 2014) would indicate that hopes are high for the future (or that his agent is as good as Fisher's).

The upside of having two goal-scorers though, as many have suggested, is to keep the pressure on the opposing team, rather than having them focus on a single trio of scorers. Definitely a departure from the Pizza Line philosophy of yesteryear.

Let's hope it has the intended effect.

PS: Spezza and Alfredsson are expected to match last year's performances... but we all know they both have the talent to surprise.
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