Up next in our previews are the Ottawa Senators. The Sens have a young core and a bright future. But right now, it’s not looking so good. Not surprising, but they finished at the bottom of the barrel in the makeshift north division, and they were the only team from Canada not to make it to the bubble a year prior. Tough sledding is ahead now that they are back in the atlantic. Can the Ottawa Senators compete with some of the best teams in the division? Can they squeak into the playoffs? Let’s break it all down.
According to Daily Faceoff, here is what the Senators have for right now:
First line – Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris, Drake Batherson
Second line – Tim Stutzle, Shane Pinto, Connor Brown
Third line – Nick Paul, Logan Brown, Colin White
Fourth line – Alex Formenton, Chris Tierney, Austin Watson
If your thinking to yourself who the heck are these guys, trust me you are not alone. The top line actually did pretty well in terms of goals. Stutzle and Brown are good wingers to have on the second line. Brown scored in eight straight games this past season. The fourth lines features experience with Tierney and Watson. Tierney played in the Stanley Cup Final with San Jose against the Penguins. The bottom six forwards have some scoring ability, but they need to help a lot more to take the heat off the very young top line.
The defense is a mix of old and young and a pair of new faces. Once again, Daily Faceoff provided the pairs and goaltenders:
Thomas Chabot and Nikita Zaitsev
Michael Del Zotto and Artem Zub
Nick Holden and Erik Brannstrom
Goalies: Matt Murray and Anton Forsberg
Del Zotto and Holden came over from Columbus and Vegas respectively. They bring good experience. Holden was a part of the Golden Knights deep run. A young D core offers speed and lack of experience. An old core offers experience but not a ton of giddy up. Ottawa has done an okay job here to mix it up. Murray has two Stanley Cup wins with the Penguins but has had a rough go as of late. As of right now, it seems unlikely that there is a younger goalie they could target.
Murray and Forsberg are 27 and 28 respectively, so they still have some decent years left. But Murray continuing to struggle could accelerate Ottawa’s timeline and thought process. Two names to watch are Ilya Sorokin and Ilya Samsonov. They were both signed to one year contracts worth $2 million from the Capitals and Islanders respectively. Both are seen as the secondary options on their current team as of right now. Whoever does the best in their role this season could get a lucrative offer from Ottawa. Signing both probably wouldn’t sense. Stranger things have happened so you can’t completely rule it out. Overall, there is still a lot of work to do. The future is looking good, but the concern is right now.