Who are the Ottawa Senators best players of all time? The Ottawa Senators entered the NHL in 1992. As the 2014 season begins, the Senators have had: 9 head coaches, 7 general managers, 9 team captains, 4 division championships, and 1 conference championship. The franchise is young compared to teams from the original six. Who represents the cream of the crop of Ottawa Senators over the past twenty one years? The team has never won a Stanley Cup. The closest they came was the Stanley Cup series against the Anaheim Ducks 2006-2007 season. Ottawa has never had a Vezina winning goalie. Ottawa has witnessed players leave and become bonafide stars elsewhere. The following is a list of the “Top 6” forwards in Ottawa Senators history, the “Top 4” Defenseman, and the best goaltender in Ottawa Senator history. This article is not based on how players left the team. Several players on this list had messy breakups with the Senators. The ranking are based off career contribution to the Senators, as well as seasons of exceptional performance. A player is put on this list not for just playing many seasons for the Senators, but for having a positive contribution to the team during their time as a Senator. All stats in this article are accurate as of October 3rd,2014.
Time with Senators:2002-2014
Spezza played 11 seasons with the Ottawa Senators. He is 6th all time in games played as a Senator, 2nd in Points Per Game, 2nd in points with 687, 2nd in goals with 251, and 2nd in assists with 436. Spezza was the 2nd pick of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. His best career points total came in 2007-2008 where he scored 34 goals and tallied 58 assists. He totaled 92 points over 76 games. Spezza was often maligned by the local fans and media. He was either the hero or the scapegoat during his eleven seasons in the nation’s capital. The constant criticism from the fans and media played a part in him asking to be traded out of town. He was a very productive Senator. He played with the Senators during their run to the Stanley Cup final. The two-time All Star is one of the greatest offensive players in Senators history.
Time with Senators:1993-2001
Alexei Yashin was the first pick in Ottawa Senators history. He was the 2nd pick of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. Yashin is best remembered for his contract holdouts and messy exit from the Senators. He may be the most hated man in Ottawa Senators history. Yashin’s personality has been scrutinized but his play was undeniably great. He ranks 3rd in all time Senator goals with 218, 4th in assists with 273, 3rd in points with 491, and 3rd in Points Per Game. His best season was during the 1998-1999 season, the season before a year long hold out. In that season he notched 44 goals, 50 assists, totaling 94 points in 82 games. His trade to the New York Islanders and subsequent contract may have been one of the worst in the NHL. Fortunately the Senators came out on top of the trade.
Time with Senators:1995-2013
Daniel Alfredsson was the 133rd pick in the 1994 NHL entry draft. The sixth rounder ended up greatly exceeding the expectations of a sixth round pick. Alfredsson is the all time leader in Senators Games Played with 1178, goals with 426, assists with 682, and points with 1108. He captained the Senators from 1999 to 2013. He led the Senators during their Stanley Cup finals run. Alfredsson is arguably the best Ottawa Senator of all time. His departure from the Senators featured Alfredsson blaming management, and ownership/management blaming Alfredsson. Any bad blood will one day be quelled; his number 11 will one day hang from the rafters of the Canadian Tire Centre. Alfredsson’s best season was in 2005-2006. He totaled 43 goals, tallied 60 assists, for a total of 103 points over 77 games. Many number 11 jerseys, memories, game winning goals, and feelings of appreciation are still present in Ottawa.
Time with Senators:1997-2004
Marian Hossa is one of the greatest forwards in Senators history. He was the 12th overall pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. His best year as a Senator was 2003-2004. He had 36 goals, 46 assists, and 82 points over 81 games. Hossa was one of the players sent to the Atlanta Thrashers when the Senators acquired Dany Heatley. Who knows how the following seasons would have transpired if the Senators had not made that trade? Maybe Hossa would have had 50 in 07 instead of Dany Heatley. Marian Hossa is fifth all time in Senators Points Per Game, 9th in games played with 467, 4th in goals with 188,7th in assists with 202, and 6th in points with 390. After leaving the Senators Hossa played in three Stanley Cup Finals in three years. After losing bids with the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins, Hossa won the first of what would be two Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Time with Senators:2000-2006
Martin Havlat was the 26th pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Havlat started his career with the Ottawa Senators. After leaving the Senators he continued to have a successful NHL career. His 2003-2004 season illustrates exactly what teams want from a Top 6 forward. He had 31 goals, 37 assists, and 68 points over 68 games. Havlat has some decent rankings in the Senators all time record books. Havlat is 9th in goals with 105, 12th in assists with 130, and 12th in points with 235. He is sixth all time in Point Per Game. Havlat spent six solid years with the Senators. Havlat left in the 2006 offseason. He expressed that he was only interested in a one year deal. Havlat’s did not have interest in a long term deal. His enter free agency following his would be season resulted in his departure. Senators management traded him to avoid losing him for nothing in free agency. Havlat is another Senator who had a great impact on not only the Senators, but the teams he played on when he left.
Time with Senators:2005-2009
Dany Heatley was a member of the greatest line in Ottawa Senators history. Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson. It was very exciting to be an Ottawa Senators fan when Heatley, Spezza, and Alfredsson played together. The goals came often, the power play was great, wins were had. His best season as a Senator came in 2006-2007. He scored 50 goals, had 55 assists, and 105 points over 82 games. Heatley has great rankings in the Senators record books. He is 7th all time in points with 362, he is 8th in assists with 182, 5th in goals with 180, and first in Points Per Game. Heatley achieved these records while only playing 317 games all time as a Senator. Heatley’s departure from Ottawa was extremely messy. Heatley is quite possibly the most hated man in Ottawa Senators history. Yashin and Heatley are super villains in Ottawa Senators history. Heatley was an excellent hockey player while in Ottawa. His 50 in 07 season is a cornerstone of a hilarious Dany Heatley parody Twitter account. His interesting personality has inspired hilarious Youtube videos. Dany Heatley is a polarizing figure in Senators history. Undoubtedly one of the greatest Senators of all time as well as one of the most hated players in Senators history.
Time with Senators:1996-2008
Wade Redden was the 2nd overall pick by the New York Islanders in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He was traded to the Senators for the Senators first pick from that draft, Bryan Berard. Overall the trade proved fortuitous to the Senators. Wade Redden is 4th all time in games played as a Senator. He played 838 games over 11 seasons. Redden was a key piece on the Senators for over a decade. Redden was a talented offensive defenceman. He leads Senators defenceman all time in goals with 101, assists with 309, and points with 410. His 410 points are actually 4th all time for all Senators players. Redden’s best season was in 2005-2006 where he put up 10 goals, 40 assists, and 50 points in 65 games. After the 2007-2008 season the Senators did not re-sign Redden. He ended up signing a six year deal with the New York Rangers worth 39 million dollars. He ended up on waivers, not getting picked up, and becoming the highest paid player in AHL history.
Time with Senators:1997-Present
Chris Phillips was the 1st pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. He has been a staple in Ottawa for nearly two decades. Phillips has been with the Senators through their Stanley Cup run, the emergence of Erik Karlsson, the Heatley saga, you name it he has been with the Senators for it. Phillips has shared the blue line with all of the other top defenceman in Senator history. Phillips is ranked highly for many Senator records. He is 2nd all time in games played with 1143. If he stays healthy throughout the 2014 season he will break Alfredsson’s all time mark of 1178. He is 2nd all time in defensive scoring with 71 goals, 2nd all time in assists for a defenceman, 6th all time total in assists with 241, and 10th all time in points with 285 which puts him 2nd amongst defenceman. Phillips best year offensively was in 2006-2007. He put up 8 goals, 18 assists, putting up 26 points over 82 games. Phillips’ play has diminished over the years. He had some untimely turnovers in the 2013-2014 season. He is still a valuable part of the team even in the twilight of his career. He took a “home town” discount to help the Senators. His current contract is two years at 2.5 million. If you believe in concepts such as veteran leadership, Chris Phillips is an essential part of the Senators.
Time with Senators:2001-2006
Zdeno Chara was the 56th pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. Zdeno Chara is one of the best defenceman to ever grace the nation’s capital. He was acquired in the trade that sent Alexi Yashin to the New York Islanders. The trade ended up being a blessing for Ottawa as they acquired Chara, as well as the 2nd overall draft pick, which resulted in Jason Spezza. Chara is 23rd all time in games played as a Senator with 299. His numbers in the Senators all time record book are impressive. He ranks highly in several all time Senator categories. He is 4th all time in defensive scoring with 51 goals, 6th all time in assists by a defenceman with 95, and 4th all time in defensive scoring with 196. Chara’s best season offensively was the 2005-2006 campaign. He put up 16 goals, 27 assists, and 43 points in 71 games. After the 2006 season the Senators had to choose between Chara and Redden. They chose Redden. Chara went on to win a Norris and a Stanley Cup as a member and captain of the Boston Bruins. Chara is one of the best defenceman the Senators ever had. He is one of the best defenceman of the 2000’s. It is a shame Ottawa was not able to hold on to him for a longer period of time.
Time with Senators:2009-Present
Erik Karlsson was just named captain of the Ottawa Senators. He is the the 9th captain of the Ottawa Senators. Karlsson is one of the most dynamic players in the NHL. He is often criticized for his style of play. He is either getting praised for his goal scoring prowess, or criticized for his lack of defence. Regardless of the criticism, whether or not you feel it is warranted, Karlsson is a player every NHL team wishes they had. In Karlsson’s five years with the Senators he has managed to put up incredible statistics. Karlsson is 3rd all time in defenceman goals with 63, 3rd with assists with 174, and 3rd in points with 237. He is the 7th ranked player in Senators history in points per game, and 1st all time in defenceman Points Per Game. Karlsson has won a Norris Trophy. His best offensive year was 2011-2012 where he put up 19 goals, 59 assists, and 78 points in 81 games. Karlsson is going to be a main stay in Ottawa for many years. He may end up being the best Senator of all time.
Time with Senators:1999-2004It is hard to really declare a best goalie in Ottawa Senators history. The Senators have never held a goalie for more than five years. It is fair to say they have never had a truly elite goalie on their roster (Unless you count Dominik Hasek’s one year stint). Patrick Lalime played with the Senators from 1999-2004. Lalime was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 6th round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. He came to the Senators after a trade with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Lalime originally split his duties with Ron Tugnutt. Lalime has the most wins in Senators history with 146. Lalime is also the all time Senators leader in shutouts with 30 and most games played with 283. The Senators made the playoffs in every season in which Lalime was a member of the team. Lalime’s best season was in 2002-2003 where he posted 39 wins, 20 losses, 8 shuts outs, and a 2.16 GAA.