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Senators Finalize Lineup Written by Gerg - October 18th, 2010

After three games, the Ottawa Senators have finalized their lineup. Most teams usually wait until the final day to make their last cuts, but their new General Manager, Gerg, hopes to get his team clicking before entering the season. 

After three games, the Ottawa Senators have finalized their lineup. Most teams usually wait until the final day to make their last cuts, but their new General Manager, Gerg, hopes to get his team clicking before entering the season. 

In the final lead up to the start of the season, Gerg made a flurry of moves to improve his team while getting in under the salary cap constraints that was left to him by his predecessor. The new year looks to be a big year as the Senators downgraded offensively and defensively to spread the scoring wealth around the lineup. 

Gone from last season's club are several high priced players, headed by Ovechkin and his massive salary, followed by Fredrik Modin, Mark Streit, Sami Salo, Jason Pominville, Mike Ribeiro, Fernando Pisani, Andy Sutton, and Evgeny Artyukhin from the roster last year. Incoming is a much more spread out lineup with Ales Hemsky highlighting the offensive new comers, along with Niklas Bergfors, Derek Roy, Craig Conroy, Drew Stafford, Jason Strudwick, Roman Hamrlik, Chris Butler and the returns of Pekka Rinne and Chris Campoli

Despite losing Ovechkin, coach Ken Hitchcock hopes that newcomer Ales Hemsky's playmaking ability combined with Dany Heatley's scoring touch and Olli Jokinen's deft passing ability will give his team a top line for the rest of the league to fear. Unlike last season, the Senators go into this season with a great setup artist in Derek Roy and is joined with a pair of young, yet inexperienced second liners that, over time, should make an impact. The bottom of the lineup is unpolished, but very reliable in their own end and will be extremely tough for anyone in this league to get chances against. 

Last season's number one defenseman, Anton Volchenkov, is set to have a career year this year. Now that Sami Salo has departed, the reigns will be given to him to take control of this team's back line. Given his expiring contract this summer, Volchenkov hopes to take off and cash in next August. Volchenkov will receive a lot of help from new acquisition Roman Hamrlik who's shone thus far in the pre-season. As the defense goes down the depth chart, it remains strong in its own end and still very versatile for a two way game. 

In net, the Senators were ready to start the year with Tomas Vokoun in goal, but due to salary cap issues brought on by the acquisition of Hemsky, he became available. After getting bumped from team to team throughout the summer and for the tenth time in four years, Pekka Rinne returns to the team that dealt him away in the Ovechkin deal. When spoken to, Rinne is finally relieved to have such a summer come to an end and be with a team that wants him for the long term while he improves his stock.

Despite having to shed many millions of dollars in salary acquired during the off season, the Senators hope to improve their standings from last season's 5th place showing and want to start the playoffs on home ice. Doing so should be a challenge with Toronto sitting a spot ahead of them and a particularly top-heavy Southeast Division. This Senators team is in a position where they want to win now, having a roster full of players entering their primes and are poised to be competitive for years in the future. This is a team that only wants to get better. 

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