The Ottawa Senators Can Make The Playoffs In 2015-16, But Will They?

The Ottawa Senators have had a fairly quiet off-season. The talk around the nation’s capital is whether or not the team will be good enough to make it to the post-season. It has been disappointing to see the lack of movement made by the Senators brass this off-season. Will the Ottawa Senators make the playoffs? What exactly have they done this off-season?

ESPN’s Preseason Rankings has the Senators sitting 16th in the league, 9 out of 16 teams in the Eastern Conference.

To look at opponents in the Senators division, I believe the Senators are in better shape than the Maple Leafs. The Senators are certainly not the worst team in the conference. The ESPN rankings have Ottawa ahead of Boston and Florida, but really all three could make the playoffs. Of course, the recent turnover in Boston isn’t helping their case.

But from Ottawa’s side of things, I think the biggest problem facing the Senators is the lack of upgrading in the past few months.

Ottawa basely snuck into the playoffs last season on the back of Andrew Hammond’s remarkable run. The Senators defied the odds and literally made history. Bryan Murray retained Andrew Hammond which was a step in the right direction. I applaud Murray for also moving David Legwand and his contract to the Buffalo Sabres. Was trading Robin Lehner the right move? Only time will tell. But I still do not believe Murray has done enough in terms of bringing in new talent.

The Senators are currently in an arbitration battle with Mike Hoffman. I know arbitration is all part of the business side of the NHL. I personally wish they would just pay the man. Hoffman was by far the best Senators goal scorer at even-strength, as he led the team in goals with 27. It is unfortunate they have not already come to terms with Hoffman and rewarded him for his stellar performance.

 

Subtractions and Replacements

The Senators lost Erik Condra and Eric Gryba. Condra was an excellent penalty killer. Don Brennan recently wrote an article which displayed his projected lines for the Senators. Brennan predicts Milan Michalek will move down to the third line to replace Condra. Brennan also believes that Chris Phillips will replace Gryba on the third defensive pairing. How will these moves affect the Senators?

I can’t wait for the season to get under way, only time will tell for the Senators

I am hoping Phillip’s can return to form and be useful on the third pairing. I am not sure if that will actually be the case.

Of the two moves listed above, I believe Michalek has a solid chance of being a suitable replacement for Condra. Michalek for Condra has a higher chance of working out than Phillips for Gryba. Will Jared Cowen come into the mix? Do the Senators give up on Cowen this season?

Brennan also believes Matt Puempel will be on the fourth line. Brennan also believes Shane Prince and David Dziurzynski could be in the mix for Puempel’s spot, with Alex Chiasson and Buddy Robinson trying for Chris Neil’s right wing spot on the fourth line. Nick Paul also has a chance of cracking the line up. It is nice to see some competition on the back end of the Senators forward lines.

Are the Senators top line’s good enough? Will Bobby Ryan have an All-Star season or will he be the ire of the Senators fans? This piece has been full of questions and I legitimately do not have answers at this time. Only the upcoming season will give us the answers to these questions.

The Senators rank 16th ESPN’s current pre-season rankings, 9th in the Eastern Conference. I think that is the right place to rank them. The Senators do have a talented team with many of their productive players being very young. It will be interesting to see how Dave Cameron does with his first full season as head coach. With some turnarounds from under performers, stellar goaltending, and a dose of luck; the Senators will return to the playoffs. Poor goaltending, slumps, and bad bounces will see them falling short.

I can’t wait for the season to get under way, only time will tell what will happen to the Ottawa Senators.