Ottawa needs to get defensive

With no solution in the crease, Sens should emphasize defense

Originally Published: June 15, 2010
By Tom Awad and E.J. Hradek | Puck Prospectus and ESPN The Magazine
Anton VolchenkovJay Kopinski/Icon SMIWithout Anton Volchenkov, the Senators will need someone to contain opposing stars.

Plugging Holes - Ottawa Senators

The Hole: Defensive defenseman

The headlines may belong to Jason Spezza, but his situation is hardly the most pressing for the Senators. And while the Sens would deeply love to get a better No. 1 goaltender, given that their goalies last season gave up 15 more goals than the league average, the focus shouldn't fall in the crease. At least not when the Senators are committed to a tandem of Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire for at least one more season.

Instead, they should focus on shoring up their blue line, where the possible departure of Anton Volchenkov will leave a gaping hole. The Senators' defense was pretty good last season; their high goals-against number was mostly a function of goaltending. But on the penalty-kill, they allowed 452 shots against, fourth worst in the league. It also didn't help that they were shorthanded 25 times more often than their opponents.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.