Remember those Ottawa Senators, they reached the Stanley Cup Finals back in the 2006-07 season, when they eventually lost to the Anaheim Ducks 4 games to 1. They had the big three in Daniel Alfreddsson, Dany Heatley, and Jason Spezza. A nice supportive group in Mike Fischer, Antione Vermette, Mike Comrie, Patrick Eaves, Dean McAmmond, Chris Kelly and Peter Schaefer. And a solid defensive group with Wade Redden, Chris Phillips, Andrej Meszaros, Joe Corvo, Tom Preissing, Anton Volchekov and Chris Shubert. Then, everything fell apart. They lost Redden, Comrie, Eaves, Preissing and McAmmond, traded away Meszaros, Schaefer and Vermette. They just recently traded away Dany Heatley to the San Jose Sharks for Jonathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek and a 2010 2nd round pick.
Now, San Jose has a lot of talent, guys like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Devin Setoguchi, Joel Pavelski, Dany Heatley, Dan Boyle, Rob Blake, Ryan Clowe, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Evgeni Nabokov, but they seem to becoming a top heavy team with a small window of opportunity to win it all. They are now becoming a two line team, a lot like the Senators when they began to fall apart. Gone are guys like Steve Bernier, Matt Carle, deadline pickups like Bill Guerin, Brian Campbell, and Craig Rivet. This team has a sick top six of Thornton, Marleau, Setoguchi, Clowe, Pavelski and Mitchell, but you could argue they were stronger with Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo than Dany Heatley.
Heatley is locked up for five more years at 7.5 million, Thornton has two years at 7.2 million and I doubt San Jose will let him go in two years, Marleau is locked in for just one more year ay 6.3 million, so he could be on his way out. Setoguchi will need a new deal and won’t be cheap (4-5 million per). Boyle is locked in at 6.667 million for the next five years as well. Rob Blake could retire after this season. Nabokov’s deal expires after this year, but San Jose has no replacement for him.
San Jose has four players being paid over 6 million dollars, and had to trade Christian Erhoff and Brad Lukowich to Vancouver to clear room to acquire Heatley. If San Jose fails to win it this year, they could turn into Ottawa. They look like they are bound to be in cap hell soon, if not by this offseason. San Jose did a great job stockpiling talent since the Thornton deal, but there window is running out quick.
Like Ottawa, they had a lot of talent, but could not afford to keep it all, and kept their top three guys, and eventually had to deal them because they became to unbalanced. The same situation is happening in San Jose.