The NHL is less than 31 days away from the beginning of the 2017/18 season. Over this period we’re diving into the 31 NHL teams in alphabetical order, take a look at their previous standings and upcoming season predictions, as well as their key additions and subtractions. Today we head to Canada’s capital and discuss the Ottawa Senators.
2016/17 record: 44-28-10
Key additions: Johnny Oduya
2017/18 prediction: Fourth in the Atlantic (wildcard spot)
Losing in double overtime to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions is not a bad way to end a season, especially a year after Canada was shut out of the playoffs entirely. The Ottawa Senators had a Cinderella type run last season, but when the glass slipper came off it came out that team captain Erik Karlsson was playing on a broken foot (which he has yet to start skating and may miss time this season) and the team may have over achieved. That’s why I have them making the playoffs but with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadians, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, this division will be the most competitive it has been.
With Guy Boucher returning behind the bench for the Senators it will be interesting to see if he has adjusted after his first run in the NHL where the Tampa Bay Lightning made a similar run in Boucher’s first season but couldn’t ever return to that level with the league catching on to his system quickly.
If the Sens are going to be a wildcard team it may come down a potential wildcard on their roster. Thomas Chabot (pictured above) has been highly regarded by the Senators and has been seasoning in the QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs since being drafted in 2015 with the 18th overall selection. If Erik Karlsson misses any major amount of time Chabot may be able to alleviate some of the stress on the defense as a reliable two-way defenseman. This will be a big ask of the 20 year old but with Johnny Oduya brought in the Senators may be able to survive some early season time without their captain.
Can the Senators be the darling of the NHL playoffs in back to back seasons? Let us know in the comment section or join in the conversation on Twitter!