Last season – 11th in the Eastern Conference
GM – Pierre Dorion
One will imagine not much will change with Dorion being promoted to GM, and the philosophy being adhered to by Bryan Murray continuing. Dorion has made some good moves during the off-season, strengthening the team offensively.
Head Coach – Guy Boucher
Coming off years coaching in Europe, Guy Boucher is best known for bringing Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup-final back in 2011. Boucher has been known as a defensively minded coach, and it will be interesting to see how his cautious side will affect the play of Erik Karlsson.
Derick Brassard (C), Chris Kelly (C), Alex Chiasson (RW),
11th overall pick 2016 (Logan Brown, F), 2nd round pick 2018
Mika Zibanejad (C), Patrick Sieloff (D),
12th overall pick 2016 (Michael McLeod, F), 80th overall pick 2016 (Brandon Gignac, F), 7th round pick 2018
The biggest offseason change on the ice for the Senators is the Brassard for Zibanejad trade. This will make the Sens better up-front this coming season. Additionally, the contract extensions for Hoffman and Ceci, and the signing of Chris Kelly were this offseason moves for the Senators. The front-office has also seen changes, with long-time GM Bryan Murray stepping down and Pierre Dorion replacing him. Dave Cameron has been replaced as coach by Guy Boucher.
Goaltending – 7/10
With Craig Anderson you know what you are getting, meaning nothing more than ok goaltending, Hammond had his ridiculous hot streak back in the winter of 2015, but there was no way that was sustainable. He had a difficult follow-up year. This is not the most reliable of duos, but it’s not a bad one either. I was torn between 6 and 7, and just barely fell down on 7.
Defense – 8/10
Nobody can doubt the offensive prowess of Erik Karlsson. He’s a tremendously talented player, and is always a candidate for the Norris Trophy. With Guy Boucher as the coach you either have someone who will stifle his tendencies, or someone who can actually turn Karlsson into a more solid player on the defensive side of the puck. He’s got a good partner, and Phaneuf should rebound after his rather dreadful years in Toronto.
Phaneuf was never a bad player, but he was a bad fit for the first pair in Toronto and his contract is still quite dreadful. In Ottawa, with the focus being on Karlsson, Phaneuf should finally be able to hit his stride again. As such, Ottawa has quite a good defense, albeit with some question-marks regarding the third pairing.
Methot – Karlsson
Phaneuf – Ceci
Borowiecki – C. Wideman
Forwards – 7/10
Ottawa has some forwards who have shown a good trend recently, and others that have not. Bobby Ryan has seemed incapable of reaching the peaks he hit in Anaheim, and has switched back to number 9. Knowing hockey-players and their superstitions, it might be that easy for him to regain his voodoo. IF he does, he is a genuine goalscoaring threat again. That being said, Ryan still produces a lot of points, but not as much as Ottawa hoped for.
Hoffman did not have a sophomore slump, and the Sens will be hopefull he kan keep his form up. MacArthur struggles with concussions, and it did not help that new kid on the block Patrick Sieloff knocked him out in practice with a high elbow. He is slotted for the second line, but recurring concussions are not the easiest things to predict. The fourth line is the quintessential grinder-line with Kelly and Neill taking reigns.
Hoffman – Turris – Stone
MacArthur – Brassard – B. Ryan
Z.Smith – Pageau – Lazar
Puempel – C. Kelly – C. Neil
Team Composition – 6/10
It’s an perfectly ok team. It’s not great, it’s not bad, but it is slightly over average. Still, it’s difficult to be excited about the composition of it.
Leadership presence – 8/10
If nothing else, the team has decent leaders. Karlsson is a leader, Kelly showed in Boston he was a leader and I can’t think of any other reason to keep Chris Neil. It definitely can’t be his play. While it did fall apart eventually, Phaneuf was a captain in Toronto and should be a good influence in the lockerroom. The team will not falter due to a leaderless lockerroom.
Skill Value – 8/10
Erik Karlsson might be the most entertaining and skilled player to watch in the league. Nobody on the Sens come close. However, Hoffman and Ryan possess good skills. The same with Turris and Brassard. If they get going, it can be an entertaining year in Ottawa. They might make it to the first round, but it will be barely.