Ottawa Protected List Analysis

By Nathan Estabrooks
The Senators released their expansion draft protection list this past week. The two goalies Lalime and Hurme were protected and therefore, three defensemen and seven forwards where also hidden. Notables that will be available for the Wild and the Blue Jackets to select include Igor Kravchuk, Joe Juneau and Rob Zamuner.

Joe Juneau was brought in as a rent a player when Alexei Yashin went missing this fall. Juneau potted some rubber but forgot about back checking. Although not a grave disappointment Juneau for the most part floated around the Corel Centre ice with his pairs figure skating partner Rob Zamuner. For his part Zamuner’s game has fallen apart since the Nagano Olympics. This is true when referring to talent and physical aspects. More of a concern then the drop in production and play are the injuries that have been a big problem for the affable Zamuner. Johnstone has implicitly admitted mistakes by these moves. Zamuner was the return postage from Tampa after Rick Dudley fled. Juneau was a player Johnstone was very high on and the indication is that he still is; or so he seems by saying the team would use the option on the contract to retain Juneau next year.

Other forwards not protected include Shaun Van Allen, Kevin Dineen and Colin Forbes. Van Allen is a very smart player and a dependable part of this team. The Senators are playing the odds in the hopes his lack of speed and age will keep either expansion team from taking him. In much the same way Kevin Dineen offers a young team veteran leadership, yet his expansion value is limited due to inevitable father time. Colin Forbes was acquired from the Lightning this fall when Bruce Gardiner’s contract squabble with management had him shipped off. Forbes, who has played on three NHL teams in two seasons, arrived and promptly forgot which end of the stick to keep on the ice.

With the Traverse trade earlier this week Igor Kravchuk pulled the shortest straw. Redden, Phillips and York are protected while youngsters Karel Rachunek and Sami Salo are not eligible for selection. If there’s one thing this regime of management seems to do, it’s listen to the fans. In late March Ron Tugnutt found himself in Pittsburgh playing behind an unfamiliar team thanks to the public’s opinion. It was a regular occurrence for the home fans to boo Kravchuk. The talent still resides in his hands; expect Kravchuk to be playing for Minnesota or Columbus despite a moderate contract.