The Ottawa Senators had a solid playoff run in the 2016-2017 NHL season. They made it to the Eastern Conference Finals before succumbing to the eventual champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Our Ottawa Senators 2017-2018 Season Preview examines whether the team has what it takes to make another trip to the postseason to try and claim the franchises first ever Stanley Cup.
The Senator’s offense features multiple threats. Sniper Mike Hoffman was the team’s highest scoring forward last season, putting up 26 goals and 35 assists for 61 points. Along with Hoffman, center Kyle Turris can be expected to put the puck in the net. Turris scored 27 goals last season for the Sens to go along with 28 assists. Turris also led Ottawa forwards in time on ice in 2016-2017. Mark Stone will also be counted on to score for the team. Stone finished last year with 22 goals and 54 total points.
While Hoffman, Turris, and Stone will account for the primary offense from forwards, the Senator’s roster also has multiple forwards who are capable of providing significant secondary offensive contributions. Bobby Ryan finished 2016-2017 with 13 goals and 12 assists. The former 30 goal scored has been relegated to a position with less offensive potential, but will still put up solid numbers for the role he is in. Derick Brassard, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Ryan Dzingel will also provide secondary offense.
The Senator’s blue line is led by the runner-up in the 2016-2017 Norris Trophy Race. Last season Erik Karlsson led the Senators in points and time on ice. The Swede put up 71 points while averaging 26:50 minutes nightly. He also finished second in the league in blocked shots with 201 on the season. While Karlsson is projected to start the year on the injured reserve, when he returns he will continue to be a game changer in all three zones.
Ottawa’s backend took a hit this offseason when Marc Methot was taken by Vegas in the expansion draft. Methot was a key player on the penalty kill and a very solid defensive defenseman. The Sens have looked to replace him by acquiring Johnny Oduya. They will also look for increased play from Cody Ceci who finished last year with a minus 11 plus-minus rating while playing 23:12 minutes per game. Also on expected to be key contributors on the blue line are Mark Borowiecki, Dion Phaneuf, and Chris Wideman. While Borowiecki led the league in hits last season with 364 as well as penalty minutes with 154, all three of these defensemen will make it hard for opponents to play against the Sens.
The starter in the Senators crease will be Craig Anderson. Anderson played well last season despite missing a large chunk of the year to spend time to be with his wife who was battling cancer. The Illinois native finished the year with a .926 save percentage and a 2.28 GAA. Look for him to start more games this year now that his wife is cancer free.
Anderson’s backup will be Mike Condon, who played 40 games last year. Condon had a decent season. He posted a .914 save percentage to go along with his 2.50 GAA.
Ottawa Senators 2017-2018 Season Preview: Overall Outlook
The Senators have multiple offensive threats that can score as well as a world class defenseman in Karlsson. Their roster is fairly deep overall and they have solid goaltending in Anderson and Condon. Their one biggest challenge this season will be how they fare with Karlsson out. Hopefully for Ottawa, he will return fairly quickly. Overall expect the Senators to be right up there in playoff contention during the 2017-2018 season.
- Erik Karlsson can and will make amazing things happen when he is on the ice. Ottawa hopes that he recovers quickly and misses only a few games at the beginning of the season
- Craig Anderson and Mike Condon both are capable of providing solid goaltending. Expect Anderson to play more compared to last season
- The team’s offense is very balanced. They do not rely on one or two players to carry their scoring.