(and often times seven). Laukkanen was off loaded to Pittsburgh, and Kravchuk will probably not be resigned. That leaves youngsters Redden, Philips, Salo, and Traverse along with the ageing York. Forget about Grant Ledyard who is referred by teammates to as old yellar. He will most likely retire. Salo and Traverse are now everyday players. This leaves Karel Rachunek as the only prospect left. John Gruden was recalled from Grand Rapids a few times, but injury problems were not kind to the former Bruin. (Rachunek has been a pleasant surprise. The ninth round, 229th ’97 draft pick was not supposed to be in camp that first year and certainly was not supposed to make it as deep into camp as he did the year after that. There is nothing flashy about this player but the most off-putting thing about him is his confidence. Rachunek did not look out of place back there. He was more defensively sound then Philips or Salo. He is progressing at the usual pace, and unless the inevitable Yashin trade brings a solid NHL defenseman, Rachunek will most likely find himself playing 50 games in the frigid capital this winter.)
Finland. Tugnutt although adored throughout the community had drawn the ire of the fans and media for his mediocre play down the stretch. This would indicate that the Senators had a goaltender ready for prime time. Perhaps even Tom Barasso, who was the asset acquired for Tugnutt and Laukkanen, would be this goalie. Yet the Senators have made no indications they are prepared to ink Barasso to a deal this summer. Indeed it doesn’t appear that he himself is overly interested in returning here. Then there is Patrick Lalime. While not stunning, the 6’3″ goaltender was solid and dependable this past year. Since the chimerical rookie run of shutouts a year or two back, Lalime was chased from the league for outlandish contract demands and when rescued by the Senators was licking his wounds in the Anaheim organization. Johnstone has hinted that he feels Lalime deserves increased responsibility.
been tainted slightly. Firstly, his angles are bad. In fact for a big man the angle game should be an integrated aspect of your play, yet Chouinard seems to prefer flopping about in a tribute to a dying fish. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, Chouinard’s work ethic has been in question. When he reported to camp this spring, he announced that he would make the team, yet unfortunately he was returned post haste. It would seem that hubris is perhaps the greatest enemy for our Mr.Chouinard. His play in the QMJHL this season has been less then excitable, and indeed, he has been overtaken in the mind of Senators management by last year’s second pick, Simon Lajeunesse. Another problem, which may be marked against Chouinard, is that he and the club are currently arguing over a contract. As with all rookie contracts in the NHL the bonus clause is the contended issue. The team has until June 1st to sign the netminder, at which time he would re-enter the draft. Don’t expect Mathieu Chouinard to be an Ottawa Senator.