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Any Room?

August 30, 2014, 10:21 AM ET [47 Comments]
Travis Yost
Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
It's hard not to look at the signing of David Legwand and assume that the deal will, at least temporarily, adversely affect prospect JG Pageau.

Pageau, who saw 28-games of regular season action last year after an impressive 2012-2013 post-season, has been knocking on the NHL-regular door for quite some time. This is a common theme in Ottawa's system -- NHL-ready or NHL-tweener forwards looking to become staples of the lineup, but often drowned out by a sheer numbers game. The organization's hope is that their lack of proven top-end talent (relative to the rest of the league) can be counter-balanced by depth, especially in the forward ranks.

In my opinion, Pageau ranks in the top-group of prospects who deserve a considerable shot at ice time this season -- the same group holding names like Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman. The difference, of course, is that Stone and Hoffman are breaking in on the wing, where there's a bit more opportunity right now.

For Pageau, the depth chart he's looking up at is as follows: Turris, Zibanejad, Legwand, Smith. Four centers, all of whom are virtual locks to play the full season with the Ottawa Senators. This also says nothing about a guy like Curtis Lazar, who is also trying to make the team out of camp this season. In fact, Pageau really only has one hope -- break in (a la two years ago) as a bottom-six center by virtue of a player shuffle, roster move, or injury.

One interesting option that I've heard being mulled over in recent days is the possibility of Zack Smith seeing some time at wing. This is something Smith himself talked about on the radio just two days ago -- it could, theoretically, create a line with two players capable in the face-off circle, and so long as Smith's game translates decently on the wing, it's something that could intrigue Paul MacLean. I note that Smith, could he make this switch, might be able to see time on the third-line -- away from common anchors in Colin Greening and Chris Neil.

That kind of move would create a vacancy down the middle -- a vacancy that Pageau, again, would have to earn. But it's something.

Tricky times for a kid who I think is ready. He certainly isn't getting much attention this off-season, but I'm interested to see what the organization does with him over the next few months. I anticipate he'll see most of the 2014-2015 season in AHL Binghamton, but he'll likely be one of the first names tabbed in the event that bodies are needed in Ottawa.

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