Sunday, September 8, 2019

Ottawa Senators 2019-20 season preview

From Getty Images


          The nightmare for Ottawa Senators fans might not ever end. The team has been the worst in the NHL the past two seasons, and they forfeited their first round pick, 4th overall in this past seasons draft. Losing out on what would eventually become Bowen Byram will be a killer for the Senators, especially as the team is worse than they were last year.

           Additions: Artem Anisimov, Connor Brown, Nikita Zaitsev, Ron Hainsey, Tyler Ennis, Michael Carcone, Ryan Callahan (contract)

           Subtractions: Cody Ceci, Zack Smith, Mike Condon, Ben Harpur, Magnus Paajarvi, Oscar Lindberg, Brian Gibbons, Darren Archibald, Max McCormick, Stefan Elliott

           Forwards
Brady Tkachuk, drafted 4th overall in 2018, had a nice rookie season, with 22 goals and 45 points. Not including Matt Duchene, Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel, who were all traded in February, Tkachuk lead the team in goals. The leader among returning forwards in points was Chris Tierney, who had a career high 48, led by a career high 39 assists. Colin White signed a big extension in the offseason. In his first full year, White scored 14 goals with 41 points, becoming the number one center by the end of the season. Bobby Ryan's 15 goals and 42 points were his most since 2015-16, but his -29 rating was a career worst and his $7.25 million cap hit still looks terrible. Just like everyone who joins the Senators these days, Mikkel Boedker regressed. His seven goals were his worst since 2012-13, and he was a -23. The Senators brought in Artem Anisimov from Chicago in exchange for Zack Smith. Anisimov scored 20 goals in three straight seasons up until 2018-19, when he scored a respectable 15 with 37 points. That is tied with Ryan for second in goals among returning players. Jean-Gabriel Pageau played in just 39 games, and ended up with just 12 points. Drake Batherson, a 2017 4th rounder, is trying to make the team in a top six role. He had nine points in 20 NHL games, and scored 22 goals with 62 points in 59 games in the AHL. Connor Brown scored 20 goals in 2016-17, but fell in the Leafs depth chart since. He comes to Ottawa after an eight goal, 29 point season. Anthony Duclair scored 19 goals, eight of those coming in 21 games with Ottawa, for a 31 goal pace. In a depth role with the Maple Leafs, Tyler Ennis scored 12 goals. He is a three time 20 goal scorer. In his rookie season, Rudolfs Balcers had 14 points in 36 games. He scored 17 goals in 43 AHL games. Logan Brown has played in six NHL games, and is trying to make the 2019-20 Senators. He had 42 points in 56 AHL games.

             Defensemen
Thomas Chabot developed into a legitimate number one defenseman for the Senators, with 14 goals and 55 points. He lead the team in points, not including the traded Duchene and Stone. After Chabot, the defense gets woozy. Dylan DeMelo's four goals and 22 points in his first season in Ottawa were career highs. Nikita Zaitsev is getting paid $4.5 million a season, most among Ottawa defensemen. In Toronto last year, he had 14 points. Another former Leaf, Ron Hainsey, joins the team. The 38 year old had 23 points and a career high +30 rating last year. Christian Wolanin had 31 points in 40 AHL games, and 12 points in 30 NHL games. With Zack Smith gone, Mark Borowiecki is the new longest tenured skater, though he he has only played in 70 games once. In 53 games this past season, he had five points. Christian Jaros had 10 points in a 61 game rookie season.

             Goalies
Craig Anderson returns for possibly his final season. He is a UFA after the season. He had a weak .903 SV% and terrible 3.51 GAA last season. He is now 38. In 24 games for the Senators after a trade from Vancouver, Anders Nilsson had a .914 SV% and 2.90 GAA. He signed a two year extension.

            Deep Depths
Nick Paul played in 20 games for the Senators, and scored two points. He has played in 56 games over the last four seasons. Michael Carcone had 44 points in 62 AHL games for Utica and Toronto last year. Cody Goloubef played in five games, his first NHL games since 2016-17. The defenseman has 23 points over 134 career games.

           Up and Coming
Erik Brannstrom, acquired for star winger Mark Stone, played in two NHL games. He had 32 points in 50 AHL games, and is the Senators' top prospect. He could make the NHL team. Vitali Abramov played in one NHL game after being acquired for Matt Duchene. In 70 AHL games, he scored 16 goals. Alex Formenton scored his first NHL goal after getting a nine game cameo. He had 34 points in 31 OHL games. Josh Norris, acquired for Erik Karlsson, scored 10 goals with 19 points in 17 games at the University of Michigan. After signing from Princeton, Max Veronneau had four points in 12 games.

           2019 draft class
Round 1, 19th overall: Lassi Thomson
Round 2, 32nd overall: Shane Pinto
Round 2, 37th overall: Mads Sogaard
Round 4, 94th overall: Viktor Lodin
Round 5, 125th overall: Mark Kastelic
Round 7, 187th overall: Maxence Guenette

           Management
DJ Smith was hired as the replacement to Guy Boucher. He was an assistant coach with the Maple Leafs, and now he gets his first Head Coaching gig. Pierre Dorion might not be liked by fans, but he has the trust of another person fans hate, owner Eugene Melnyk.

                Projected Lineup
Brady Tkachuk - Colin White - Drake Batherson
Anthony Duclair - Chris Tierney - Connor Brown
Mikkel Boedker - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Bobby Ryan
Tyler Ennis - Artemi Anisimov - Rudolfs Balcers
Extras: Logan Brown, Max Veronneau

                 Thomas Chabot - Dylan DeMelo
                 Erik Brannstrom - Nikita Zaitsev
                 Christian Wolanin - Ron Hainsey
Extras: Christian Jaros, Mark Borowiecki

                           Craig Anderson
                           Anders Nilsson

                 Prediction
If you are an Ottawa Senators fan, you probably aren't predicting them to make the playoffs. If you aren't an Ottawa Senators fan, then you aren't picking them to make the playoffs. I fall under the second category, and I have Ottawa finishing 8th once again.

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