Friday, October 3, 2014

Ottawa Senators Season Preview 2014-15

2014-2015 Ottawa Senators Season Preview

Last season was the first year in 2 decades that Daniel Alfredsson was not in a Senators sweater, after the 2013 season he decided to spurn the only team he has ever known and join with the Detroit Swedish National Team also known as the Red Wings.  Daniel's absence showed and Ottawa was not able to make the playoffs, finishing in a disappointing 11th place after high expectations with the addition of forward Bobby Ryan and captaincy of Jason Spezza.  Spezza voiced his desire to seek employment elsewhere and is now a member of the Dallas Stars with other ex Senator Ales Hemsky. This season shows another changing of the guard as Karlsson gets the C and Bobby Ryan gets a 7 year/7 mill a year contract extension.

New Captain-  Erik Karlsson is the best offensive Defenseman in the NHL, bar none, he was a steal for the Senators in '08 as the 15th overall selection, being picked after guys who haven't been able to stick in the NHL even 6 years later.  Karlsson puts up 70 points for the blue line and in doing so has a great defensive game, the other team can't score if he always has the puck.  Karlsson is also the only franchise player left on the roster unless you want to count Chris Phillips (I won't).  I'm not in the locker room so I don't know what goes on, but Karlsson will definitely be a leader by example with how he is sure to perform on the ice.

Bobby Ryan's Impact-  Bobby Ryan is going to be on this team for the next 7 years barring a trade or buy out, he is also a solid player, a guy who can put up 65+ points for your team on a yearly basis.  The problem with Bobby is that he does not have a very good supporting cast, no more Hemsky and no more Spezza.  In the Spezza trade the Senators got Chiasson and a first round pick, Chiasson can be a very good player in the future, scoring a goal in his first 10 NHL games, his rookie season ended in the 30 point range which is okay for a first year guy so the Senators will hope he does that.   Bobby Ryan will probably play with Kyle Turris and Michalek, Turris will have more responsibility becoming a first line center, I think he will build on a 58 point season and Michalek when healthy, is pretty good at putting the puck in the net.  This first line does not sound as enticing as the former, Michalek, Spezza, and Ryan line did but Bobby should be a great leader and rack up the points if all three can gel together.

How the season should pan out
Well, Ottawa does boast one of the best, a questionable first line, and Craig Anderson who is a good goaltender at times, and injury issues.  If Chiasson progresses off of a relatively successful rookie campaign, the first line gels, and Craig and Erik can stay healthy, those are all key components of Ottawa's success.  The Senators have an awesome coach in Paul Maclean who did some incredible things with the Senators a couple of years ago leading them to a low seed in the playoffs to a second round berth, dominating the Canadiens in the first round, they didn't fare as well against the Penguins in the second round but they still finished the season pretty well for a 7th seed.  I think that these guys are battle tested and will overcome adversity if it is sent their way, As of now I see a bubble, fringe team but unlike other bubble teams, NOTHING would surprise me in Ottawa, they could tank, or they could make the playoffs and make noise, watch these guys closely, I definitely will.


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