Scouting The Atlantic Division: Ottawa Senators


Player personnel wise, the Ottawa Senators had a quiet offseason. Their biggest shakeup came at the head coaching position, where Guy Boucher gets his first shot at being a bench boss since being fired by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Boucher’s Lightning made the Conference Finals his first year in charge, missed the playoffs the next year, and was let go 32 games into his third year.


Key Additions – Derick Brassard (Trade)

Key Departures – Mika Zibanejad (Trade)

Ottawa traded the younger Zibanejad, with potentially more upside, for Brassard, a consistent second line center. Over the last two seasons, the former top three draft pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets has registered 118 points.

He will join a forwards group that includes Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman, who finished second and third on the team in scoring. Just two years ago, Stone was a Calder Trophy finalist and Hoffman signed a four year contract this offseason.

Getting Brassard back in exchange for Zibanejad keeps intact a strong group of centers in Ottawa, especially after the emergence of Zack Smith a year ago. The now 28 year old Smith had scored 39 goals in his first 319 careers games before tallying 25 last year alone.

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He and Jean-Gabriel Pageau were the top two in shorthanded goals scored, with the latter leading the league with seven.

Kyle Turris only played in 57 games last year, but two years ago finally broke out with a 64 point campaign.

After scoring at least 30 goals for four straight seasons with the Anaheim Ducks, Bobby Ryan has yet to refind that touch in Ottawa. The now 29 year old oft-criticized winger’s season high while with the Senators has been 23.


No key additions

Departures – Patrick Wiercioch

The defense will always be led by captain Erik Karlsson. The Swedish defenseman finished the season with a team best 82 points in 82 games and was once again a finalist for the Norris Trophy.

Dion Phaneuf, who came to Ottawa at the trade deadline from the Toronto Maple Leafs, scored eight points (G, 7 A) in 20 games after coming to the Senators. The former captain of the Leafs won’t have to deal with the pressure he did while in Toronto but still has a lofty contract he has to try and live up to. A fresh start could be what he needed.

After a dragged out contract negotiation, the Senators and Cody Ceci finally came to an agreement on a two year deal. The young defenseman registered a career high in points last year (26), ten of which were goals.

Chris Wideman took the long way to making the NHL, spending four years in college before playing the next three in the AHL. Playing in 64 games last year with the Senators, Wideman posted 13 points (6 G, 7 A).

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After being drafted 16th overall in 2015, Thomas Chabot seems to be set to make the opening night roster for the Sens. The 19 year old scored 45 points in 47 games last year with the Saint John Sea Dogs. He put up back-to-back 40 point campaigns with Saint John. With a birthday in January, Chabot must stay on the NHL roster or else go back to junior hockey, which may be redundant at this point.


No additions, No departures

After years of waiting for Robin Lehner to take control of the starting job, the Senators moved on, and traded the young goaltender to the Buffalo Sabres.

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That move also cleared up a crowded goalie picture that got even worse once the team added undrafted college free agent Matt O’Connor to the mix. The former BU goalie stands tall at 6’6” and the hope was that he could challenge for the starting job at some point in the future had an underwhelming rookie season but has no pressure on him to rush his development.

The NHL team will deploy both Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond once again. Anderson led the way with 60 starts last year, posting a 2.78 GAA and .916 SV%. After a historic start to his career that helped push the Senators into the playoffs, Hammond came back to earth last year.

He still posted solid numbers for a backup, and with Anderson a pending free agent, could push for more playing time.

The Panthers won the season series against the Senators last year, three games to two. Of the three wins, one included a 6-2 victory on home ice in which Jaromig Jagr scored a pair of goals and both Vincent Trocheck and Jonathan Huberdeau both registered two points (goal and assist).