NOTE: This preview is one that falls in line with the previews I have been doing over the last three weeks. We will have a more in-depth Senators preview as the regular season approaches
Regular Season: The Senators overcame a vast array of long-term injuries that at one point had half the payroll on the shelf at any given time, the Senators still found a way to make it to the playoffs, finishing with the 7th seed.
Playoffs: The Senators dominated the Habs in the first round, creating some bad blood that will fuel the rivalry in the process of the 5 games.. Things caught up to them in the second round and the Penguins had little difficulty in eliminating the Senators in 5 games
Ready To Make The Jump: F Jean-Gabriel Pageau
BIG 3 FACTORS
1. Healthy Returns: If Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson (and Milan Michalek) return to full health that will greatly increase the potency of the offense, which sputtered in their extended absences last year.
2. Remember What They Learned: One of the silver linings to those many injuries was the way the team played defensively to keep the puck out of the net, because that is what they had to do to win. If they can keep those habits in force and combine that with the return of 19 and 65, then they will be very tough to beat.
3. Alfie’s Departure: Obviously the biggest news of the off-season was the departure of the long-time captain of the Senators. While there will be a leadership void, he leaves a legacy with a lot of long-time teammates that learned under Alfredsson. His legacy and leadership style will live on, even though he is no longer in the room.
PROGNOSIS: The addition of Bobby Ryan and the return of Karlsson, Spezza and Michalek could add a full goal per game or more to the lineup. Combine that with the defensive track record and the solid goaltending duo of Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner, and the Senators should continue to surprise.
PREDICTION: 2nd Atlantic Division
We have been and will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th. As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings. Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):
|1||Sept 9||Sept 8||Sept 7||Sept 6|