Thursday, August 25, 2005

Forgotten #5

While all the hype yesterday was about Dany Heatley coming to Ottawa and Marian Hossa, the $18 million man, leaving, quietly, a pretty good hockey player switched teams in the move. Greg de Vries was gone too.

It goes without saying that de Vries was never all that popular in Ottawa. Maybe he never had a chance.

From the moment he put on a Senators sweater, he struggled. He looked out of place from the start, and never quite seemed to be able to get adjusted. To be fair, Ottawa was both a tight knit locker room and implemented a specific system, which likely made it difficult for anyone, even a veteran with a Stanley Cup ring, to step in and prosper immediately. Despite being well regarded throughout hockey as a very good blueliner, he made error after error in the playoffs against the Leafs.

Whenever Sens fans talked about who to unload, whether to save money to keep the others or to spend elsewhere, his name was always brought up. His days in Ottawa have looked numbered for months.

Financially, it made no sense to dedicate over $2 million of cap space to him. Defence is Ottawa's strongest position, and a case could be made that de Vries was #5 on the depth chart. To put it bluntly, he wasn't needed here.

Atlanta, though, seems to be another story. Greg de Vries is just what they need. A veteran defenceman who's won a Cup, usually plays well on both ends of the ice, can be a leader in the dressing room, and can mentor the younger blueliners. While on Ottawa he was their number four or five defenceman, with the Thrashers, he's much higher up.

Suddenly, that $2 million doesn't make so little sense.

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