As the NHL season quickly approaches, PHR is taking an in-depth look at each team. Today: the Ottawa Senators.
Last Season: 38-35-9 (85 points), 5th place in the Atlantic Division. Did not qualify for the playoffs.
Cap Space Remaining: $5.98MM via CapFriendly.
Player to Watch: Erik Karlsson – the superstar posted an astounding 82 points last season, becoming the first defenseman to crack the NHL’s top-5 scorers since Paul Coffey finished third with 138 points in 1985-86. Karlsson has been the Senators most consistent player for the last few seasons and they can’t afford to waste another season of Karlsson’s prime. Not to mention, one of the final three seasons of Karlsson’s relative bargain contract at $6.5MM. The Senators indicated that they’re going for it this year with the Zibenajad-Brassard trade. Trading a 23-year-old center for a 29-year-old one shows the Senators believe their window to win is opening now.
Key Storylines: Can the club take a big step forward under new head coach Guy Boucher? They’ll need more offence from young Curtis Lazar and the recently-injured Clarke MacArthur, though that may be unlikely after this most recent concussion. Last season’s major acquisition Dion Phaneuf and Cody Ceci will form a solid second pair in front of veteran starter Craig Anderson.
Which version of the Senators will we see? The 2014-15 miraculous stretch-run team or the inconsistent 2015-16 edition?