I was recently playing my copy of NHL 08 on XBOX 360 as I have not updated to 09 yet. I was editing my Ottawa Senators dynasty roster so that I would have all the current players in the lineup. Gone were several players from the year before and setting up my lines proved difficult.
It seemed that I was having the same problem as Ottawa’s new coach Craig Hartsburg. There is a definite need for the offense to be spread out beyond the first and second lines. This means the inevitable break up of the infamous “pizza line”.
Ok so most would say put Alfredsson down on the second line, right? Easy enough, but the real task is evaluating who is the best candidate to join Heatley and Spezza?
It seems that Hartsburg has a player on his roster that I don’t.
Jesse Winchester, 24, has only played in one NHL game and is the latest player to audition for the role of Ottawa’s top right winger.
The Senators signed the free agent forward to a one-year contract last March after the Ontario native spent the last four seasons playing for the Colgate University Red Raiders of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Association. He sports a 6-1, 204-pound frame and has already left a good impression with his teammates and coaching staff with his skating and puck-moving abilities.
Now it is not definite that Winchester will even crack this years roster to begin with, let alone be a starter on the talented first line. What is clear though is Coach Hartsburg is not afraid to experiment with his crop of new talent coming up through the ranks.
Young players to keep an eye out for this season include:
Zubov, Nikulin, Foligno, Lee, Shannon, Elliot, and Carkner.
As for Alfredsson he has started out training camp on the second line that sees him paired with Chris Kelly and Nick Foligno. Only time will tell if Ottawa has enough firepower to go the season without acquiring a top six forward.