You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone. Crappy song, but truer words were never spoken.
Ottawa, like many other teams in this league, is beginning to build a rolodex of players that I’m sure they would love to have back. While there’s been a number of players we were glad to see go (I’m looking at you Alexei…. Kaigorodov, not Yashin), Ray Emery’s shutout on Friday was a classic example of a player that maybe we should have held onto.
So in celebration of Ray Emery’s shutout and return to the NHL, it’s time to countdown the Top Ten Players that the Ottawa Senators maybe should have reconsidered letting go.
10. Dany Heatley
- I may take some flack for this one, but Dany Heatley will probably be a guy down the road that Ottawa would still love to have. As much as I’d like to think he’s going to be a minus – 246 over the rest of the season, it’s really not likely. Heatley should continue to put up dominating goal totals, and be the natural goal scorer we already knew he was. Even though we don’t want to believe it anymore.
9. Patrick Eaves
- Patrick Eaves will probably be a player that Ottawa looks at in a couple years, and wonder what they were thinking when they let him walk. And you can’t blame Murray entirely for the deal he made. On paper, it was an oft-injured Eaves for a healthy Cory Stillman, in a year that Ottawa was trying to prove that they had to magic to make it to the Cup Finals again. While Eaves never put up huge numbers in Ottawa, he always reflected the “potential” that Ottawa wanted. It will be interesting to see what he does in Detroit now.
8. Dean McAmmond
- Poor Deaner really got run out of this town with very little fanfare. The problem with that, I find, is that Dean McAmmond was a hugely important player in Ottawa’s run to the Finals. His fourth line, and Peter over at Silver Seven Sens does a fantastic job highlighting this, was the best fourth line in the playoffs that year. Dean was the key component in that lineup, and he even went as far as to drop the gloves in the first round. I still maintain that losing him to that Chris Pronger elbow was a huge blow to the Sens. In fact, if you look at the series, they never really recovered.
7. Pavol Demitra
- Ottawa may have never given Pavol Demitra the chance he deserved. After being drafted by the Senators, Demitra only played a few games with the Senators. And considering the quality of that team, that’s not saying much. The guy only recorded 24 points with the Senators before holding out and moving on. Across the league, he’s now recorded 752 points in about 819 games played. Not sure if he ever would have put up the same points here in Ottawa, but certainly he’s a player that Ottawa could have used to put them over the top.
6. Alexandre Daigle
- I know it seems like a weird thing to be putting here, but I think that Alex always gets the rough treatment because he never lived up to his billing as a 1st overall draft pick. He did bring some conceit, and had very little to follow it up with, but he certainly settled into a positive role in his later years as an NHL player. I think he could have provided the depth that Ottawa would have really appreciated. After those years with the Senators, and some ups and downs with the Philadelphia Flyers, Daigle settled into a very positive role with the Minnesota Wild as a third line, two-way player. With the Wild, he recorded 79 points in 124 games. Not bad, as long as you don’t think of him as that 1st round pick.
5. Ray Emery
- It’s not entirely conclusive that Ray Emery is a player that the Senators might want back, but many people who actually follow hockey, rather than rumours, know that Ray Emery was a good goalie. He was put into two (that’s right, two) awful situations as a Senator. The first was when John Muckler saw fit to sign Martin Gerber, despite Emery showing his ability to carry the team. And the second was when Paddock handed the reigns to Gerber during Emery’s off-season surgery, just to pad the stats of a hot team. Emery had every right to be a bit perturbed about the latter, and it was reflected in his play. He should have a solid season in Philadelphia this year, and give them the best goaltending they’ve had since Ron Hextall.
4. Tom Preissing
- Since he left Ottawa, Preissing really hasn’t had a chance to thrive. But this is a player that Ottawa probably regrets letting walk. Yes his contract was too steep for Ottawa, but Preissing represented a great puck moving defencemen that the Senators could have used last season. He did fold a bit in the Finals in 2007, and was a small guy, but this will probably be the first season since he left that Ottawa will have that mobility on the back end. Preissing, who can’t be faulted for taking that big contract with LA, is a guy that could have thrived in Ottawa under the right monetary situation.
3. Martin Havlat
- It might be hard to believe that Martin Havlat is missed here in Ottawa, but this was the secondary scoring that Ottawa has been talking about ever since he left. He could, even before taking a stupid penalty or suspension, single handidly steal a game for the Sens. Remember that playoff series against the Tamba Bay Lightning when he posted 10 points against Lecavalier, St. Louis, Richards and Co.? Havlat represented the speedy second line forward that Ottawa has continually tried to find since Muckler saw fit to bring in Hennessy and Barinka.
2. Marian Hossa
- You know, this time last year, he probably wouldn’t have made this list. But Marian Hossa, much like Havlat, has represented a player that Ottawa could have tipped the balance in favour of Ottawa. All that said, Ottawa would never had added the scoring depth of Heatley, without getting rid of Hossa, but in his time away from the Senators, he has had a chance to go to the Stanley Cup Finals twice. And while we’ve taken every opportunity to make fun of Hossa on this blog, he still is a player that Ottawa Senators fans would love to still have wearing the SENS on his chest.
1. Zdeno Chara
- What more can you say. Chara, after a lack lustre start in Boston, has become the player that we remember him as, and more. And Muckler let him walk. There’s plenty of speculation as to why Chara left, Chara is one player that Ottawa will always be able to look at and regret losing. He’s still a monster in this league, has a huge shot, is willing to step up for his teammates, and he probably kept Baton Rouge in business because of his love of ribs. All this to say, Chara should remain number one of this list for years to come.
Stay classy, departed Senators.