R. Aaron Houde Aug 20th, 2019
From a Round 3 appearance in 2017 to missing the playoffs two years in a row with less than 70 points (2017-2018 they had 67, 2018-2019 they had 64), the Ottawa Senators have fallen off quickly. A fire sale of players started midway through the season, and a full-on renovation is in play. Let’s take a gander at what has been done, and how they will fare this year, with hopes of avoiding another 60-point season in the Canadian Capital.
Through trades, the Senators managed to acquire Connor Brown and Nikita Zaitsev from the Toronto Maple Leafs in a multi-player move involving Cody Ceci, and they traded Zack Smith to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Artem Anisimov. Off the Free Agent route, the Senators picked up Ron Hainsey.
Brian Gibbons was snagged by Carolina on the Free Agent market, after spending less than a season in Ottawa. As noted above, the Senators lost Smith and Ceci. There are players still to re-sign with the Senators, such as Magnus Paajarvi, but I am not counting them out. With a note, Ryan Callahan is under contract with the Ottawa Senators after being traded from the Tampa Bay Lighting, however, the trade did not occur until after he was diagnosed with a degenerative back disease. He is on injured reserve.
Overview of Changes:
This team has NHL-caliber talent, but they are still not done rebuilding, and they don’t have enough of those stand-out names to make them competitive. The additions made to the team in the offseason are not enough, and I expect more changes to come in the upcoming season. Brady Tkachuk is going to be their superstar, but how they going to structure their lines around him in order to make their team better is going to be interesting. While a lot of people are laughing at the decision to trade for Callahan (who was known to likely never play again due to his injury), the choice to make the move in exchange for Mike Condon frees cap space in the goaltending Ottawa has (while raising a cap to $15.3 million that Ottawa carries in Long-Term Injured Reserve).
How many of their Veterans are going to stay in Ottawa for the upcoming season? I am sure they are going to be a lot of people shopping Ottawa’s roster come the trade deadline to give them the veteran talent to push them deep into the Playoffs. But, can the team make smarter choices towards building a competitive roster.
Craig Anderson is most likely heading into his final season as the Senators’ goaltender, and it would be nice to see him off on a good note. I cannot see Ottawa finishing the regular season in a playoff spot, but I also do not think they are going to be the last-place team in the league. It is going to be interesting to see the young squad play for this team, but don’t get your hopes up, Sens Fans.
Better than last year, but no post-season.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images